Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Christmas Party 2020 – Invite a pet with guests Noelle Granger, Victoria Zigler, Teagan Riordain Geneviene, Cathy Cade

Welcome to the Smorgasbord Christmas Party, with the focus on the fur members of the family who also love this time of year, over this weekend and next I will be sharing the photographs of some much loved pets, and of course a little promo for their human companions.

Obviously with all these honoured guests expected, I have been busy in the kitchen preparing some treats that hopefully my guests both two-legged and four-legged will enjoy.. Joining yesterday’s guests are some delightful felines and canines and their humans

My first guest is mystery and historical author Noelle Granger who has shared a photograph that is very festive.

My beloved and missed Elijah Moon, who loved to sit in the middle of the pile of Christmas wreaths

Books by N.A. Granger

Noelle A. Granger grew up in Plymouth, Massachusetts, in a rambling, 125-year-old house with a view of the sea. Summers were spent sailing and swimming. She was also one of the first tour guides at Plimoth Plantation. Granger graduated from Mount Holyoke College with a bachelor’s degree in Zoology and from Case Western Reserve University with a Ph.D. in anatomy. Following a career of research in developmental biology and teaching human anatomy to medical students and residents, the last 28 years of which were spent at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, she decided to try her hand at writing fiction. The Rhe Brewster Mystery Series was born.

In addition to the Rhe Brewster Mystery Series, Granger has had short stories, both fiction and non-fiction, published in Deep South Magazine, Sea Level Magazine, the Bella Online Literary Review, and Coastal Style Magazine, and has been featured in Chapel Hill Magazine, The News & Observer, The Boothbay Register, and other local press. Granger lives with her husband, a cat who blogs, and a hyperactive dog in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. She spends a portion of every summer in Maine.

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK Blog:Sayling Away – Goodreads:Noelle A. Granger – Twitter:@NAGrangerAuthor

I do love a good Christmas dinner so if everyone would like to take a seat at the table…thanks to Gerald B. Saunders  for the table setting.

My next guest is prolific children’s author Victoria Zigler who has brought her delightful West Highland Terrier…Lilie

“Lilie is a very energetic West Highland White Terrier, who thinks almost being four is no  excuse to stop having the enthusiasm of a puppy. She loves making friends of any species, and playing ball. She even loves her Cavapoo brother, Logan – when he’s not chewing her
favourite ball, or stealing her stuff.

A small selection of  books by Victoria Zigler

My name is Victoria Zigler, but most of my friends and family call me Tori. Feel free to do the same.

Born in the shadow of the black mountains in Wales, I now live by the sea in the south-east of England, with my husband, Kelly, a chinchilla named Mollie, a West Highland White Terrier named Lilie, a Cavapoo named Logan, and a Hermann’s Tortoise named Artemis.

Having battled with glaucoma since birth, I now find myself completely blind. But I haven’t let that stop me from chasing the dream I’ve had since I was a young child: the dream of becoming a published author. Though it’s been said many times by many authors, I’ve loved to read and write since I learned how, and always wanted to get my work published. Finally, in 2012, I made that dream come true by self-publishing the first of my books as an eBook via Smashwords. Several more titles have been published since, with paperbacks and audio books also being made available. So now I’m a published author of several poetry collections, as well as a long list of children’s stories.

Read the reviews and buy the books in print and audio: Amazon UK – and : Amazon US – Follow Victoria on: Goodreads – Website: Victoria Zigler – Twitter: @VictoriaZigler

Something to go along with the Mocktails….

Image by Angela Yuriko Smith from Pixabay

My next guest is popular blogger and author Teagan Riordain Geneviene who shares a delightful Christmas photograph of her cat Crystal.

Crystal’s life began as a feral kitten on the south side of Albuquerque, New Mexico. She was rescued at birth. Her rescuers held an event at a pet store. I went inside, pondering whether the time was right for another cat. I spoke my thoughts aloud to a pair of colorful lovebirds. They began chirping excitedly. I took their advice. Now Crystal is 14 years old, and traveled across the country with me — and then back to the southwest again.

A selection of books by Teagan


Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene lives in a “high desert” town in the Southwest of the USA.

Teagan had always devoured fantasy novels of every type. Then one day there was no new book readily at hand for reading — so she decided to write one. And she hasn’t stopped writing since.

Her work is colored by her experiences from living in the southern states and the southwest. Teagan most often writes in the fantasy genre, but she also writes cozy mysteries. Whether it’s a 1920s mystery, a steampunk adventure, or urban fantasy, her stories have a strong element of whimsy. There are no *extremes* in violence, sex, or profanity.

Her blog “Teagan’s Books” contains serial stories written according to “things” from viewers. Teagan’s Books

Major influences include Agatha Christie, Terry Brooks, David Eddings, Robert Jordan, and Charlaine Harris.

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – and : Amazon UK – Blog: Teagan’s BooksGoodreads:Goodreads Twitter: @teagangeneviene

It is so gratifying to see a clean plate but hope room has been left for dessert….

My final guest today is author Cathy Cade and her lovely dogs Smidgeon and Ruff

This will be our first Christmas without Pickle, the Staffie. Pickle would have been sixteen if she’d made it through lockdown, but it wasn’t to be. As Smidgeon was missing her companion, we’ve taken on Ruff (Wanna Play). This festive season will be the first when we don’t have to feel guilty about poppers or Christmas crackers since, unlike Pickle (back in the days when she could hear) neither Smidge nor Ruff are frightened of bangs.

Books by Cathy Cade

Cathy lives with her husband and dogs, mostly in the Cambridgeshire Fens and sometimes across the fence from London’s Epping Forest. Following a career in libraries where creative writing opportunities were limited to annual reports, she now produces a different kind of fiction.

Cathy’s short stories have been published in ‘Scribble’ magazine and Chris Fielden’s ‘To Hull and Back 2018, Short Stories’. Her stories and rhymes also appear in the anthologies ‘Where the Wild Winds Blow’ and ‘A Following Wind’, from the Whittlesey Wordsmiths’ creative writing group (both available from Amazon.)

Her verse owes more to Pam Ayres than G K Chesterton. Examples can be found at Commaful (see Cathy Cade) and on WordPress at

Read the reviews and buy the books : Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Follow Cathy: Goodreads  Website: Cathy CadeFacebook: Cathy Cade Wordsmith.

While all my guests digest their dinner, time for a Christmas story….courtesy of Pets Add Life


Thanks to my guests today for traveling such great distances to be with us.. Please check out their humans’ books so that their houses will be filled with sausages, cheese and other treats this Christmas...Thanks Sally.

Please join us again for more guests next Saturday…

Smorgasbord Blog Sitting Special – Maine is a Happy State by N.A. Granger


I have been to Maine a couple of times, once when we lived in Texas and once on a return trip to visit friends.. I particularly remember the lobster dinner that we enjoyed on evening and that must be memorable as it was 25 years ago!  For an expert opinion on the state, here is Noelle Granger whose popular books are set in this scenic part of America.

About Noelle Granger.


Noelle A. Granger grew up in Plymouth, MA, in a rambling, 125 year old house with a view of the sea. Summers were spent sailing and swimming and she was one of the first tour guides at Plimoth Plantation.

She graduated from Mount Holyoke college with a bachelor’s degree in Zoology and from Case Western Reserve University with a Ph.D. in anatomy. Following a career of research in developmental biology and teaching human anatomy to medical students and residents,the last 28 years of which were spent in the medical school of the University of North Carolina, she decided to try her hand at writing fiction.

Apart from the three Rhe Brewster Mysteries, Noelle has also had short stories, both fiction and non-fiction,published in Deep South Magazine, Sea Level Magazine, the Bella Online Literary Review, and Coastal Style Magazine.

Maine is a Happy State by Noelle Granger.

As most of my followers and readers know, I have set my books in the seaside town of Pequod, Maine, which I created as a chimera of Boothbay Harbor, Camden and Bar Harbor. Maine is a wonderful state, aside from the winter months, with quintessential New England summers – great weather for swimming, sailing, hiking and camping, not to mention the many things to see – and eat! – there!

I’ll tell you about a few things to see, based on my A-Z Challenge from two years ago, but first I want to tell you about why Maine is a happy place. It is ranked fourth after Hawaii, Alaska and South Dakota. According to Maine Biz, that ranking was announced as part of the Gallup-Healthways State of American Well-Being series, and Maine is up nearly 20 spots from last year.

States were compared for five elements of well-being:

  • Liking what you do each day and being motivated to achieve your goals
  • Having supportive relationships and love in your life
  • Managing your economic life to reduce stress and increase security
  • Liking where you live, feeling safe and having pride in your community
  • Having good health and enough energy to get things done daily

Here are a few great places in Maine to visit:

boon-island-lightBoon Island Light is located on the 300-by-700-foot Boon Island, off the southern coast of Maine, nine miles from the beach at York. It is not open to the public, but from land, it can be seen from Cape Neddick. It is the tallest lighthouse in New England at 133 feet, and has a beacon that flashes white every 5 seconds. The idea of building a lighthouse on this tiny bit of land began in 1710, when the ship Nottingham Galley ran aground there, stranding the crew. The crew had to resort to cannibalism before they were found. A station and a day marker were established on the island in 1799, but granite tower with its light were not constructed until 1811, authorized by President James Madison.

harriet-beecher-stowe-houseThe Harriet Beecher Stowe House can be found on Federal Street in Brunswick. Stowe and her husband, Calvin Ellis Stowe, lived in this house for a short while. The house is also remarkable for having been the home of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow when he was a student. Today it is owned by Bowdoin College and is a National Historical Landmark.  The Greek Revival style home was built in 1806 for Franklin and Mary Chamberlin.


Fort Western in Augusta was built in 1754 built by the Kennebec Proprietors, a Boston-based company seeking to settle the lands along the Kennebec River that had been granted to the Pilgrims more than a century earlier. It is America’s oldest surviving wooden fort – a reminder of a clash of cultures that dominated New England life 250 years ago.  This company, along with the Province of Massachusetts, wished to expand their interest in the area as part of the British and colonial effort to take political control of North American and sever the ties between the local Abenaki Indians and the French in Canada. The Fort was named for Thomas Western of Sussex, England, a friend of William Shirley, the longest-serving governor of the Province of Massachusetts (1741–1749 and 1753–1756) – crony capitalism in the 1700s.

plaque-indicated-benedict-arnold-was-at-fort-westernFort Western served as a fortified storehouse to support Fort Halifax, 17 miles to the north. Supplies were shipped from Boston, unloaded there and then taken by a flat-bottomed boat upriver to Fort Halifax. Benedict Arnold stayed at the Fort with his Quebec Expedition in September of 1775. Some of Arnold’s officers, including Daniel Morgan, Aaron Burr, and Henry Dearborn, lodged in the Fort’s main house. The Fort’s military role ended after that, although the Fort itself survived because of the trading post/store.

mount-katahdinMaine has mountains! Maine occupies the northern part of the Appalachian Highlands region of the United States. Its physical features were determined by continental glaciers more than 10,000 years ago, which eroded and smoothed the hills and in places leveled the land. When the glaciers receded, they dammed rivers to created lakes, and left widespread debris in such forms as moraines, eskers, and drumlins.

There is a wide variety of gentle mountains in Maine, which range from the eastern White Mountains to the peaks of the Rangely area to the remote Baxter State Park. Within these regions lie 14 of New England’s 4000 foot peaks.


The Longfellow Mountains contain the terminus of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, a 2,155 mile footpath that runs from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mt. Katahdin in Baxter State Park in Maine. Maine is considered by many to have the most difficult, rugged, and beautiful part of the trail.

So why am I not living in Maine? Probably the winters. I grew up with New England winters and survived four years of Chicago winters. If Hubs and I had not moved to North Carolina for our careers, and put down taproots while our children were growing up, we might have returned to the northeast. But Hubs is from upper New York State, which also has severe winters, and by the time we left Chicago, he’d had enough.

I recommend a summer trip to this state – in addition to lobster, seafood, Maine blueberries, the weather is, for the most part, fantastic for sightseeing, sailing, hiking, and camping. Plus you will be among some of the happiest people in the country!

©N.A. Granger 2017

About Death by Pumpkin


At the annual Pumpkin Festival in the coastal town of Pequod, Maine, Rhe Brewster, an ER nurse and Police Department consultant, responds to screams at the site of the Pumpkin Drop. Racing to the scene, where a one-ton pumpkin was dropped from a crane to crush an old car, Rhe and her brother-in-law, Sam, Pequod’s Chief of Police, discover the car contains the smashed remains of a man’s body.

After the police confirm the death as a homicide, Rhe embarks on a statewide search to identify the victim and find the killer. During the course of the emotional investigation, she survives an attempt on her life at 10,000 feet, endures the trauma of witnessing the murder of an old flame, and escapes an arson attack on her family’s home. There is clearly a sociopath on the loose who is gunning for Rhe and leaving bodies behind.

With Sam unable to offer his usual support due to an election recall and a needy new girlfriend, Rhe realizes that the only way to stop the insanity is to risk it all and play the killer’s game.

Maine’s most tenacious sleuth is back, this time to confront a menace that threatens to destroy her life and those closest to her. The latest installment of the Rhe Brewster Mystery Series, Death by Pumpkin, is a murder mystery and thriller that tests the limits of Rhe’s strength and resolve like never before.

A recent review

on January 27, 2017

Death by Pumpkin is the third novel in the Rhe Brewster Mysteries, set in Pequod, a fictional town located in the coast of Maine. It can be read as a standalone, but the main characters are so engaging you’ll enjoy the series more if you start reading from book one, Death on a Red Canvas Chair, I loved them all!

In book three, Death by Pumpkin, Rhe is recovering emotionally from her husband, Will’s unfaithfulness and murder, while she’s coping with two jobs, as a nurse at the local hospital and as a police department consultant, where her brother-in-law, Sam is the police chief. She also has a son, Jack, with ADHD, who is her priority.

However, Rhe doesn’t wait for life to happen, she is a Rhe is intelligent, resourceful, brave, adventurous, determined, resilient and very loving and generous. In fact, she only has one negative quality is that she’s a terrible cook, although she’s learning!

There’s lots of adventure in this instalment, too. A near plane crash, kidnapping, murder, being stalked by a deranged childhood friend. Rhe will also have to cope with Sam’s unusual emotional coolness due to his new girlfriend, as well as student protests leading to a recall of his job as chief of police, which he’ll have to reapply for, with uncertain results.

The plot is neatly wrapped up at the end, but how will Rhe’s emotional life move forward? And which new crimes will she have to solve? Looking forward to book four, Death in Mudfat.

Anyone who likes crime fiction set in an American town with engaging characters and a great plot will enjoy this novel.

Also by N.A. Granger

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Read all the reviews and buy the books:

Connect to Noelle via her blog:

My thanks to Noelle for her guided tour of Maine and its definite attractions..Please show your appreciation by sharing. thanks Sally