Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – 8th March 2017 – Olga Nunez Miret, Geoff Le Pard, D.G. Kaye, Christy Birmingham and Norah Colvin

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily

Welcome to today’s selection of five blog posts that I have enjoyed today out of many more. Please do not forget to leave the link to your most recent post in the comments section so that I can share.

Time for some romance and this is provided by Olga Nunez Miret who is sharing Marie Lavender’s book Upon Your Love (Series Heiresses in Love, Book Three).

Those of you who’ve followed my book for a while will remember Marie Lavender, author extraordinaire who’s written and published many books, and who also is a strong supporter of other writers. She got in touch with me and I knew you’d be interested in her new book, part of the series Heiresses in Love. With Valentine’s Day so close, I was sure you’d still be in the mood for great romance.

Marie has also been kind enough to talk about her inspiration for the series and how it developed, something that, as both a reader and a writer, always fascinates me. But, first things first. Let’s read a bit about the novel:

Read an excerpt from the book the rest of the post:

My next pick is from Geoff Le Pard who has recently slimmed down an impressive 12kilos (26lbs for the uninitiated).  He looks wonderful but he has a few comments on the downside to this event (miracle to some of us).. My heart goes out to him.. except for the retail therapy bit as that is normal!

I’ve lost weight recently. Since July some 12 kilos have just evaporated. I needed to, to fit the ‘not obese’ criteria our medical faci professionals bombard us with. And losing those bags of sugar (which is the best way I have of visualising this loss – that’s 10 to 12 bags) has been a boon. Exercise is easier; I don’t sweat as much or get out of breath going up hill as much, my ribs don’t get sore bending over. My family have had nice things to say about how I look (okay, they’re biased but I’m not about to look the proverbial gift horse in the mouth, okay?).

But there some unexpected consequences (you may say I’m naive but really I didn’t think about this) to weight loss. And while no one denies being healthy is a good thing, there ought to be a section on side effects, like on a medicine bottle. In no particular order I have noted the following;

Read the 10 downsides to losing weight! :

D.G. Kaye, Debby Gies and her husband have departed on their break from the Canadian winter to Arizona. In this post Debby shares the difficulties that now are placed in our way when flying with bags and increasing automation. It takes all the glamour out of the adventure.

We arrived in beautiful, sunny Scottsdale, Arizona last Wednesday. The lack of sleep the night before we left with trying to get to sleep much earlier than we were used to wound up being a fitful 3 hours sleep, knowing that alarm clock was ready to go off at 4am.

Dragging ourselves and baggage through the airport begins our early day. I have become the schlepper of the luggage now for me and my husband. Despite his age, he’d always been strong and took care of the heavy lifting, but with all the illness he’s suffered in past years, his age has caught up with him; muscles diminished, his pace once many steps ahead of mine now lag behind me.

Read the rest of Debby’s post:

International Women’ Day has come around again and as I look at the newspaper reports and also articles on some of the sites that I follow it would appear that we have taken two steps forward and one step back in a number of critical world issues. Women’s equality is not always about obtaining the same pay and conditions. It is also about the right to vote, wear clothes we wish to, not be mutilated horrendously by tradition and to love and to be with those we choose. This is not to say that there are some amazing men who support those freedom.. but there are far too many who still believe that only they have the right to dictate how we live.  Christy Birmingham celebrates the efforts of some pretty remarkable women who battle not just injustice but sometimes violent and life threatening pressure. Please read and celebrate what you have and is denied to so many.

The day is almost here! March 8th is International Women’s Day (IWD) 2017. I hope this special day will be full of actions that help move the world toward being gender equal. On IWD, which dates back to 1908, let’s celebrate the accomplishments of women around the globe. Here are five of the many women championing for equal rights for women:
Manal al-Sharif

As a women’s rights activist from Saudi Arabia, Manal al-Sharif inspired a campaign for women’s right to drive. She went against the ban on women driving in Saudi Arabia and was imprisoned for nine days after filming herself driving a vehicle and then posting it to YouTube.

Her 2011 Women2Drive campaign put pressure on the government to change the law, particularly when social media picked up the story of this woman who questioned why women did not have the same rights as men. She continues to speak out about female oppression in her country.

Read about the rest of these extraordinary women:

And to finish today’s dip into the world of blogging a post from Norah Colvin. Migration of people is a hot topic. But dig back far enough into your family history and you will find that most of us have had a migration from one country to another in the last 100 years. There is a reason approximately 56 million Americans claim Irish ancestory and celebrations of St. Patrick’s Day around the world are a testament to the survival instinct of those who left the Emerald Isles..Then there are the animal and insect migrations.. it would seem we are all on the move. Norah posted in response to a challenge.. do head over and if you would like to add your 99 words or less then I am sure they will be welcome.

This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills raised the subject of migration and challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less) write a migration story.

Although Charli always provides suggestions, she also permits writers to go where the prompt leads, allowing their thoughts to migrate in whichever direction they choose. This is good for me as my thoughts always bring me back to early childhood education and, if I can somehow squeeze it in, butterflies.

Migration is a part of human history. We are told that humans originated in Africa, and that migration out of Africa began about 60 000 years ago (well, that’s one of the stories). That we are now spread across the world is no mean feat, particularly when we acknowledge that most of the migration occurred before the industrial age, long before steam ships and ocean liners, before motor cars and air travel.

Read the rest of the post:

I hope you have enjoyed today’s selection and please do add your most recent link in the comments section so that I can share.

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update – Amy M. Reade, Olga Núñez Miret and Gigi Sedlemayer.


Welcome to Friday’s Cafe and Bookstore update and today three authors who are either celebrating a new release or terrific reviews. Amy M. Reade, Olga Núñez Miret  and Gigi Sedlemayer.


USA Today bestselling author of contemporary and gothic women’s fiction Amy Reade has just released The House on Candlewick Lane, the first book in the Malice series, which currently consists of three books. Each book has a different main character, but you’ll find some characters that drop in throughout the series (some more than others). The second book in the series is called Highland Peril and will be out in the fall. The third book, with a working title of Death Comes to Thistlecross, will be out next year.

About The House on Candlewick Lane

It is every parent’s worst nightmare. Greer Dobbins’ daughter has been kidnapped—and spirited across the Atlantic to a hiding place in Scotland. Greer will do anything to find her, but the streets of Edinburgh hide a thousand secrets—including some she’d rather not face. Art historian Dr. Greer Dobbins thought her ex-husband, Neill, had his gambling addiction under control. But in fact he was spiraling deeper and deeper into debt.

When a group of shady lenders threatens to harm the divorced couple’s five-year-old daughter if he doesn’t pay up, a desperate Neill abducts the girl and flees to his native Scotland. Though the trail seems cold, Greer refuses to give up and embarks on a frantic search through the medieval alleys of Edinburgh—a city as beguiling as it is dangerous. But as the nightmare thickens with cryptic messages and a mysterious attack, Greer herself will become a target, along with everyone she holds dear.

Two of the early reviews

Incredible book that captures you from the start! By Kathleen Charon on February 7, 2017

I am a huge fan of Ms. Reade’s books! I enjoy her narrative style and her descriptions pull me into the world that her characters inhabit. This book is every parent’s nightmare and chronicles Greer’s search for her missing daughter. I was so caught up in the story that I couldn’t put it down. Although I read an advanced copy, I had to purchase it because I enjoyed it so much. Don’t start until you have the time to read straight through! It will captivate you. I cannot wait for her next book!

A great read! By New York Army Mom on February 7, 2017

The House On Candlewick Lane by Amy M Reade. Set in Scotland, Amy gives her reader a great look at the language and food of Scotland. One of my favorite things about Amy’s writing is the way she describes everything; From the characters, to the setting, to the plot! The reader gets to go along for the ride with the characters, in the streets and even in the kitchen! In addition, every chapter ends with a comment that pushes you on to the next chapter! This is an author you will want to get to know! And you will definitely get to do so in this story! She weaves herself through the pages beautifully.

Don’t stop at the end, there’s a glossary defining the many Scottish terms and teasers for her other books! And if you want to get to know Amy better click the link to the latest news about Amy M. Reade. Very Interesting! I don’t want to give anything away, I will just say that I would like to see this house on Candlewick Lane! And the cover… beautiful!

Read all the reviews and buy the book

Also by Amy M. Reade

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Read all the reviews and buy the books:


Connect to Amy via her website:


Olga Nunez Miret has received a wonderful review from Christoph Fischer for her latest book Escaping Psychiatry 2. The Case of the Swapped Bodies.

51-yoxohzql-_uy250_About Escaping Psychiatry 2. The Case of the Swapped Bodies

A woman shot dead. No enemies, no motive, only a story about how she swapped bodies with another woman found on her computer. The other woman in the story, the owner of the swapped body, goes into labour and won’t talk.

When FBI Agent Dave Dean asks psychiatrist/writer Mary Miller for her assistance, she doesn’t know that The Case of the Swapped Bodies is not the only mystery in Port Haven. A hit and run, an armed robbery gone wrong and questions about family traditions, priorities and legacies come into play and complicate matters. The line between fact and fiction is more tenuous than anybody realised and suspense is on the menu.

This is the third book in the Escaping Psychiatry series and it poses new challenges for Mary Miller. And not all the challenges are professional ones. How do you carry on when you’ve survived the unthinkable?

The review from Christoph Fischer for the book

“Escaping Psychiatry 2. The Case of the Swapped Bodies” by Olga Núñez Miret was a real treat and almost a surprise. I like Olga’s sharp and psychologically charged writing the best and knew this would be good.I was not prepared, however, for the extremely clever plot.

At first there is the confusion of a woman waking up in a different body and in a different life. Then she establishes contact with the woman currently in her own body. That in itself is a great premise and the conversation between the trapped women would have been more than enough for one successful book.

Olga doesn’t stop there but now introduces more complexity as the case is being handled by both, the police, and our series heroine, psychiatrist Mary.Despite a heavy workload I couldn’t resist the book and kept reading at every opportunity to get to the bottom of this psychological thriller. My curiosity got the better of me and all I can say is that the denouement doesn’t let you down.

A clever idea, perfectly executed with sharp writing, excellent characters and a lot going for it.  Maybe the author’s best so far. Highly recommended.

Buy the book:

A selection of books by Olga Núñez Miret 

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Discover all the books,read the reviews and buy:úñez-Miret/e/B009UC58G0

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

Connect to Olga via her website:


Gigi Sedlmayer has received a new review for Come Fly with Me the first book in the Talon Series from Akrum Menacker.

51jo3ypdlbl-_uy250_About Come Fly with Me.

Talon, come fly with me is a delightful middle grade story set in Peru with a family of condors and missionary Australians.

Is it possible for condors to understand humans?

Suspend your beliefs and watch how an under-size girl, Matica, finds friends with a family of condors, after being rejected by the Indians because of her size.

There are beautiful descriptions of the flight of the condors, and more so when Talon is cared for by Matica. The language suits this age group and does not talk down to the reader.

This is a great inspirational story for everyone. It will lift you up and make you believe in adventures, friendships, acceptance in a whole new light.

Come and take the journey that is called Matica’s life. It is filled with rejections, heartbreaks, growth and loneliness, but through it all, it will make you feel stronger.
Talon, Come Fly With Me is the first book in this series and you will be blown away!!!
In a world full of pain this story gives ones hope

Akrum Menacker’s review

Have you ever felt like you would never fit in? Of course you have, we all have at one point or another. But for some this is not simply being awkward socially, but much more. For 10 year old Matica, the problem is a physical one. She is not growing. Despite her age and having a younger brother, Matica has the body of a much younger child which has made her life a real challenge as far as making any friends in the little village in Peru where her parents are missionaries trying to help the local tribe. The tribe finds Matica’s situation strange and tend not to associate with her, making her more lonely than ever.

However, Matica does have knack for making friends. In this case its a pair of condors, which seems to fascinate the local villagers. But they are even more surprised when the bond between the undersized girl and the huge birds becomes so strong that when their egg is threatened by poachers they allow her to watch over and care for it. Soon the egg hatches and Talon is born. The villagers are more impressed than ever by the young girl as she helps raise the young condor, becoming an expert on the birds and soon Matica finds herself no longer the source of curious glances but a bit of a celebrity. But her true love for family and her condors never takes a backseat to this new status. Her dedication to both her families is unwavering and continues to grow just as quickly as Talon who is soon big enough and strong enough to take flight. But is he powerful enough to grant Matica’s most secret wish?

Aimed at preteens, this is a story that can be enjoyed by any age. As I said at the beginning of this review, we’ve all felt out of place and thought we’d never find where we truly belong. Matica’s journey is a tale that everyone can relate to. Sometimes its not finding where YOU fit in, but making a place for yourself in the world and watch it start swarming towards you.

This is such a wonderful tale, I have not problem giving it the 5-Star rating it deserves. I’m even more delighted to know that this is only the first installment. As of the writing of this review, there are four more books in the series. Needless to say, I’ll be adding them to my library and more reviews will come with time.

And now I will take my hat off to the author Gigi Sedlmayer, may she, Talon, Matica and the rest of this fine cast soar high and far for many years to come.

Read all the reviews and buy the book:

Also by Gigi Sedlmayer

51o8trgp4il-_uy250_ 510kmdvrffl-_uy250_ 51nirhb47l-_uy250_ 515tsm3dql-_uy250_Read all the reviews and buy the books:


Connect to Gigi via her website:

If you are in my virtual Cafe and Bookstore you can enjoy regular updates on your new books and reviews.

If you are not yet in the bookstore.. Why not?

Full details and the authors on the shelves is here:

Thank you for dropping in and it would be great if you could spread the word about these outstanding authors.. thanks Sally

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

Sally's cafe and bookstore

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

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

51apmeaewhl-_uy250_About the book

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

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

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

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

One of the latest reviews for the book.

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

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

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

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

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

Read  Escaping Psychiatry. Beginnings.  FREE

A selection of books by Olga Núñez Miret.

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Read the reviews and BUY all of Olga’s Books:úñez-Miret/e/B009UC58G0


Available on Pre-Order for December 29th 2016:

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

Connect to Olga via her blog:

Sally's cafe and bookstore

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


About the book

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

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

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

Two of the many reviews for the book

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

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

No More Mulberries on September 8, 2016

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

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

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

Read all the reviews and BUY the book:

Also by Mary Smith

51arfsi2ffl-_uy250_51pqvltyial-_uy250_51ujjsusehl-_uy250_51yks9fxhfl-_uy250_Read all the reviews and BUY the books:

Mary Smith - web ready

Connect to Mary via her website:

Sally's cafe and bookstore

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

Mention in Dispatches – Netherlands waterways, Facebook Woes and some verse

mention in dispatches

Welcome to this week’s Mention in Dispatches and my selection of blog posts that I have read this week that I would like to recommend to you.

Also last week I mentioned that I would be delighted to feature any recommended blog posts that you have found during the week and today I am sharing the selection of Bill Hayes and Skilbey.

First let’s meet Valerie Poore of River Girl Blog who was recommended by Bill Hayes.


Val was born in England but then lived in South Africa for almost 20 years before moving to the Netherlands. She lives on an historic river barge and as well as spending time on the water, she also teaches English for business and academic purposes. Val has written six books and working on her 7th.

Here is the blog post that Bill Hayes has recommended :

Here are Valerie’s books


You can buy them all here:

Bill Hayes has a very succinct bio on his blog which I thought was very good.

I have a very large sea shell collection; it’s too big to keep at home, so I have left the collection scattered on various beaches around the world. Perhaps you’ve seen some it.

You will find that Bill posts his observations on life and events. Here is a wonderful tribute to the late Mohammad Ali:

Meet Akriti Mattu who say this about her new series.


The following interview has been taken by me of Ms. Ishita Sood – Successful Blogger, Two time international Solo Traveler and an old friend from school. This is the 1st interview in the new series on ‘Cerebration’ entitled MAVERICKS. The series will feature 10 people from my life who took the plunge, did things differently and landed up not just being successful but truly happy. I call them Mavericks in every sense of the term and applaud them for ‘being themselves.’

I also enjoyed this post on travel to some wonderful destinations in Himachal Pradesh a small state in the northern region of India.

My second guest today Skilbey offered a number of blogs for her selection and I have chosen Anne E. Thompson who shares a number of ‘How to ‘ posts including How to Train a dog with Opinions and several on publishing.

Meet Anne E. Thompson

I have enjoyed writing my entire life and I still have my diaries from when at Infant school. They are mainly about food and the most interesting aspect is the spelling. I do not know when I learnt to read. On my first day at school I do remember being given a book and being able to read it. I think my sister must have taught me.

Our house always had books. Money was scarce but we lived near a little library and every week we struggled home with carrier bags of stories. Jumble sales were another good source. Most Saturdays we would find a sale and if you arrived late, you could buy dozens of paperbacks for just a few pennies. We built up an eclectic collection and I became a compulsive reader. Read more…..

Skilbey suggested two articles and I think you will enjoy this post:

Books by Anne E. Thompson.


Buy the books from links on Anne’s blog:

Meet Skilbey
I’m Skilbey. I moved to beautiful Pembrokeshire in 2001, where I have recently finished writing my first novel which I am now editing.

I don’t drink tea or coffee or hot water with a slice of lemon or some shaved bark from the ‘whatever’ tree that has been eaten and digested through the four chambers of a tri-colour beetle.

I do worship chocolate and I will devour any cake. See one of my poems to just that, in Other Writerly Things  Eating ice cream makes me feel irritable, as does hard toffee. In fact, it makes me cross. But I simply fall into a relaxing stupor at the sound of someone delicately unwrapping a sweetie in say, a library or a cinema. Have I just raised your bird-like winged eyebrow?  Read more….

Here is a post on the subject of Facebook… I have been getting a little irritated myself with FB this last couple of weeks.. One of their latest upgrades is the ‘use by date’ for a post which means if you try to comment a few hours later it tells you the content is not available try again.. it goes through the second time but why! Also I notice that in the evenings when everyone is on FB it crawls.. So here is Skilbey’s post on Facebook:

Meet Patricia K Salamone
As I explore verse with a view to developing my skills, it is wonderful to have so many poetry blogs to learn from.. Here is one of Patricia Salamone’s blog this week:

You will also find short stories, memoirs and humour on Patricia’s blog.

Patricia has also written a book The Italian Thing.


“The Italian Thing” is a hilarious recount of how I explore my heritage during our more than memorable trip to Sicily.I detail our adventures and misadventures as we visited our relatives in Sicily. I share how we got to know the locals, their customs, and lifestyle, and how everyone seemed to think that “everything will be fine” no matter what troubles they were in. During those weeks we went through “culture shock” despite the fact that we are both Italian.

In the end, it is also THE ITALIAN THING in us that made us enjoy the trip.

Buy the book

For those of you who have not yet met Olga Nunez Miret


My name is Olga Núñez Miret and I’m a writer. I also do translations of other author’s work. What else? I was born in Barcelona, Spain, but have lived in the UK for a long time. Over the years I’ve done many things and had other lives but however far I wander I keep coming back to books and stories, my two earliest loves. When reading was no longer enough, I started writing. My first book was published in 2012 and my publications span different genres, from literary fiction to romance, Young Adult and psychological thrillers.

Here is a small selection of her books


Discover and buy all of Olga’s books.úñez-Miret/e/B009UC58G0

Olga has found a fascinating book for us to read and her review certainly piqued my curiosity. The book is about a woman whose genetic mutations led to a life of exploitation. I do recommend that you read the review of Orphans of the Carnival, and I shall be buying the book to read on my next Amazon run:

I hope that you will head over and meet these bloggers in person… Enjoy the rest of your weekend.. thanks Sally



Smorgasbord Women’s Health revisited – The Importance of Friends by author Olga Núñez Miret

smorgasbord health

For those just joining this series, we are revisiting posts from last year from the Women’s Health Week. Since then all of our communities have grown and to be honest health messages are well worth repeating regularly. I asked Olga if she would write a piece about the importance of a support system when going through a traumatic experience, particularly when it is health related.. She produced this amazing article that I am sure you will find both interesting and inspiring. Even if we are not going through difficult times, there are those that we are close to who are. Being there for them, in person or virtually can make a huge difference as I have found out in the past myself.


The Importance of Friends by author Olga Núñez Miret

Thanks so much to Sally for asking me to participate in her series of posts to celebrate national girlfriends’ day with a week of posts on women’s health. It’s a very important topic and one close to my heart.

I’m a doctor, a psychiatrist, a writer and translator, and evidently, I’m a woman. Although I’m not working in psychiatry at the moment, I worked for nearly ten years in male psychiatric units (because I worked in Forensic Psychiatry and secure units, like prisons, are segregated by gender. There was a move to do the same with general psychiatric units and in some places it took place, not everywhere, but that’s another topic) and I got used to talking to men about their specific health topics. But, I was also part of the Mental Health Trust group dealing with Physical Health issues (they tend to be forgotten and much more problematic to treat in patients with chronic mental health problems) and we had some great presentations and discussions looking at topics that affected women’s health.

We talked about staff, we talked about relatives or carers, but we didn’t talk about friends that much, although they are very important.

I was checking some articles about the benefits of having friends for your health, and all seem to conclude pretty much the same, having friends is good for your health, for your heart, and people with a good group of friends live longer. People respond better to treatments, suffer less pain… Of course the point is also made that some friends can be stressful and of course, we’ll worry more about the people we care more about. Older people who are lonely have higher blood pressure and sleep worse. Women’s friendships tend to be more geared towards empathy, sharing and listening, that is what we most need when we’re worried and concerned about our health. (Men’s friendships tend to be about companionship and helping each other with practical things, or that’s at least what the articles suggested).

There was a meta-study in 2010 at Brigham Young University (a study looking at the result of 148 previous studies) with a total of more than 300,000 participants where they concluded that people with high or adequate social relationships were 50% more likely to survive in the next five yearsthan those who didn’t. They summarised the negative effects of low social interaction as follows:

–As bad for your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

–As dangerous as being an alcoholic.

–As harmful as never exercising.

–Twice as dangerous as obesity.

(Check the whole article here:

You might also find these articles interesting:

And this blog post, with Infographic incorporated:

You might be wondering the reason why having friends is healthy (and I’m sure you have your own theories and you’re likely right). Nobody knows for sure although there are suggestions that the support reduces stress that has a negative impact on many aspects of our health (both physically and mentally). It is also quite likely that if we surround ourselves with friends who look after themselves, have healthy habits, exercise and lead an active life, we will adjust our living style to match theirs. That’s one of the reasons why so many gyms and initiatives encourage people to buddy up and go to the gym with a friend as it’s likely that you’ll spur each other and keep going, motivation becoming less of an issue.

Being a doctor people regularly tell me about their medical concerns even if they are not my patients and that includes relatives, friends, neighbours, and people I work with… But in my heart of hearts I hope that many might ask me not only because I am a doctor but because I am a friend.

I’ve been with female friends at difficult times. I went with a friend to hospital when she was pregnant and worried because she was bleeding (unfortunately she has a miscarriage a few days later), and I spent time with her when that happened, I’ve accompanied friends when they‘ve had tests, I’ve visited sick friends and colleagues post-operation. Sometimes one feels a bit weird about these things, especially if perhaps you’ve only known the person in a certain role (as a work colleague, for example) and you don’t know their personal history that well. But I ask and take advice. I recall when I hadn’t been in the UK very long and was doing my first job as a junior doctor training in psychiatry; the daughter of one of the male nurses who worked in the same ward I was working had a terrible car accident and was left in a coma. I also knew the mother of the girl, who was also a psychiatric nurse and worked in the day hospital. Although things have changed now, at the time we lived in accommodation within the grounds of the hospital (again, another story), so I went to visit the girl most days after work, if I wasn’t on-duty. Luckily the girl recovered (and became a psychiatric nurse like her parents) although it took a few weeks. I wasn’t sure I did much other than be there, but I became very friendly with the family and they were very thankful. As I was saying, it’s difficult to know what might help, but don’t hesitate to offer your support if you can.

Living alone and not having relatives close by, I’ve also relied on friends when I’ve had minor interventions that meant I couldn’t drive or should not be left by myself (not that easy when your friends don’t live nearby and the hospital is elsewhere). And of course I’ve talked about health concerns with friends too. When I had a health scare a few years back, and I had booked to visit my friend Iman, an A&E nurse, in Paris, she insisted I get tests there. It wasn’t much of a holiday, but I’m very grateful to her and her family for their support.

In these modern days, sometimes we might have a lot of connections (the jury is still out with regards to how much virtual connections help. All the studies refer to actual people you know and you can depend upon, and that’s more difficult when somebody might be thousands of miles away) but a non-virtual girlfriend is quite a handy thing to have. And the more, the merrier.

Here I leave you a few links to sites talking about Women’s Health.

The NHS link: (It includes a part for professionals, blogs, community…)

US government site:

Thanks again and please follow the whole series and don’t forget to check on your friends!

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

Olga Núñez Miret was born in Barcelona and moved to the UK to study in the 1990’s. She is a doctor and also a Forensic Psychiatrist until recently when she gave this up to pursue her dream of writing full time. Her fiction covers a number of genres including crime thriller, family saga, para-normal and romance. Olga is also a translator and works with other authors to introduce their books to a new and wider audience.

Olga’s books can be found in a number of formats including audio and are available in Spanish.


Olga has used her experience and insights in three works of fiction that follow Mary, a psychiatrist and writer, and her adventures in the series Escaping Psychiatry: She has recently released the prequel  Escaping Psychiatry – Beginnings.

The first of her books to be published as e-book (October 2012) is The Man Who Never Was also available in Spanish version: El hombre que nunca existió. In February 2013 she published a Young Adult novella in English Twin Evils? and Spanish Gemela Maldad.


In June 2013 she published her first foray in romantic fiction: Click Me Happy! A novella where readers can choose between three endings, an unhappy, a neutral and a happy one. Now also available in paperback.

In May 2014 she published Family, Lust and Cameras a novella in the psychological thriller style. And in June 2014 her book ‘Escaping Psychiatry’ became available in audiobook, narrated by Emmy Award winner actor and writer Alan Cooke (a.k.a Wild Irish Poet). A light hearted romance for those of us who are addicted cookery shows followed with I Love Your Cupcakes.


Olga’s latest release is a trilogy – Angelic Business and all three books in the trilogy have been released in English and Spanish.


To buy her books and to reach Olga through social media here are her links

Amazon –
Goodreads –

Audio books

Social Media

Website –
Facebook –

Thanks so much for dropping in and would love your feedback.. If you read last year you might still consider sharing to your new and wider audience to help spread the message.. Sally


Smorgasbord Open House – Author and Translator – Olga Nunez Miret

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Today I am delighted to welcome my guest Olga Nunez Miret, a prolific author of a number of books across several genres.

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Olga was born in Barcelona and moved to the UK to study in the 1990’s. She is a doctor and also a Forensic Psychiatrist until recently, when she gave this up to pursue her dream of writing full time. Her fiction covers a number of genres including crime thriller, family saga, para-normal and romance. Olga is also a translator and works with other authors to introduce their books to a new and wider audience.

Olga is not just a supportive friend to all of us here in blog world but also to any Indie author that needs a boost. Her blog posts are informative, entertaining and her reviews are honest and show a great critical eye. If Olga says read this book.. Then you should.

She is a prolific author and here is a brief overview of her books to date most of which are in both English and Spanish.

41v+ZeNQzgL._UY250_Her first book Escaping Psychiatry is a collection of three stories in the psychological thriller genre with the same protagonist, Mary, a psychiatrist and writer. She is trying to develop her literary career but circumstances and friends conspire to keep dragging her back to psychiatry.


This was followed by The Man Who Never Was and Twin Evils?


Then came Click Me Happy! : Do you believe in love at first sight or first click? Do you think your life should be a romantic novel? Would you like to be able to choose the ending? If you’ve answered YES to any of these questions or feel intrigued by them, this novel offers you a unique opportunity. You can choose what kind of ending you want: unhappy, happy or neutral.


This was followed by Family, Lust and Cameras which is now available in audio as well as in text formats. Here are the links to audible but it will also be available on Amazon and i-Tunes shortly.
Sample in soundcloud:

For those who love cookery shows and romance; here is the perfect book –  I Love Your Cupcakes.


Her latest book is the Novella Escaping Psychiatry. Beginnings.

VD1IAbout the Book
How far would a writer go for a killer story? This is the question psychiatrist Mary Miller must answer to solve the first mystery/thriller of her career. You can get to know the main characters of this psychological thriller series for FREE and test your own acumen and intuition in this novella about the price of ambition.

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

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

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

One of the reviews for the book

Recommended Psychological Mystery  By Diogenes on 28 Mar. 2016 Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

Having read, and enjoyed, the author’s trilogy of stories featuring psychiatrist Mary Miller, I was very happy to see this prequel novella pop up on Amazon – and even more enthused to see it as free! (Who says there is no such thing as a free lunch?)

Anyway, Olga Nunez Miret is bang on form with this tale of the death of a ‘stalker’, where all is not as it seems. This is a great introduction to an empathetic protagonist. Grab a copy quickly before the author changes her mind about its pricing.

Recommended for those who like a good psychological mystery with some human foibles thrown in to keep things real.

Read for Free Escaping Psychiatry. Beginnings.
Page Foundry:

Now it is time to hand over to Olga to find out which of the questions she chose to answer including who she would like to have a conversation with from the past.

Welcome back to the blog Olga and who would you like to meet from the past who you would like to have a conversation with. What would you tell them about their behaviour that you admired or disapproved of?

There are quite a few people from the past I’d like to talk to. Definitely quite a few writers I’d like to ask questions to, or simply hang around with (I’m fascinated by Herman Melville, I love Louisa May Alcott…), but I finally decided I’d love to talk to Michelangelo.

When I was a child I lived with my parents and my grandparents in a street of Barcelona that has his name and I’ve always been a great admirer of his art. I recently visited Florence, and I’ve also been to Rome and it’s even better when you see it close up and personal. I’ve always been curious about the publicised bad relationship he had with Leonardo Da Vinci, but more than anything I’d like to tell him how much I admire his work and to ask him about his art and how he felt when he was creating it.

I understand that at the time he worked under patronage and had to work on the projects commissioned, but which ones were his favourites? Was there something he would have liked to work on but didn’t have time to or the opportunity to? I wonder what he would have done with the means we have today. From reading some of his letters I get the sense he would be an interesting and amusing person to meet.

What is your favourite all time television series?

This is a difficult question as I’ve loved many at different times in my life, and it might depend on what mood you catch me when you ask me, but Brideshead Revisited  comes to mind.


I loved the Granada Television series when I saw it in Spain (I think I was 16 or 17), and I remember talking to all my friends about it. I read the Evelyn Waugh’s novel later on, and it’s a beautiful and compelling story, complex, with characters who struggle with their identities, their feelings and their place in society.

The series has a cast to die for (Jeremy Irons in the first big role I ever saw him in, but also Sir Laurence Olivier, Sir John Gielgud, Claire Bloom, Anthony Andrews…), the settings are gorgeous too. Oxford looks so beautiful, they visit Venice early on in the story, and Castle Howard, the Brideshead of the title, is such a wonderful place.

I remember at the time I recorded the episodes in a VHS video and went through the titles to find out where it was (no Google then) and decided I would visit it. And I have done so quite a few times. It’s a great place – – I’ve since watched a more recent movie version that I thought wasn’t bad, but can’t really compare to the original. I’ve recommended it to a few people who’d never watched it at the time and everybody has enjoyed it. So if anybody hasn’t watched it yet, go for it.

In your lifetime what event or invention has most impacted your own life or work?

I guess I had to say computers. I know they were invented before I was born (yes, I’m old but not quite that old) but the personal computer and its expansion has definitely made a big difference to all of our lives. I remember my mother wanted to buy me an electrical typewriter for one of my birthdays when I was 16 or 17 and I told her to hold on because I had the feeling that it would be better to wait and see what computers could do as typewriters might be on the out.

I remember going to a course on how to use computers in the office many years back and being told about ‘Windows’ that was going to revolutionise everything. Were they right or what? Of course it hasn’t only changed the experience of writing, but I remember the process of typing something, making a mistake and having to go through the whole piece or page again, correcting was a very slow process, checking facts or doubts meant having to find books on the subject, visiting libraries or finding people prepared to talk to you about it. And locations, places…

What is the one big adventure that you would like to experience?

I’ve talked about wanting to visit Alaska, but I guess I’d like to experience living doing something completely different for a while. Recently I found a site – – where you offer to help in exchange for food and accommodation, and you work in hostels, farms, help with animals… Some of the stays are short, some can be quite long, and they have offerings for very different parts of the world.

I suspect I might be a bit too old for it, but I think it could be a great experience and offer plenty of new material for quite a few books. I also read a book about a woman who goes to a Buddhist convent in China that made me wonder how that would be like.

With regards to new projects, I’ve just published the prequel to my series Escaping Psychiatry which you will find links to in the introduction. This is available free to offer people a taster of the main characters and see if they’d be interested in reading the rest of the series. I finished writing the draft of the next instalment in the same series (that for the moment is going by the title of Escaping Psychiatry. The case of the swapped bodies) but I’m letting it rest for a while and I suspect the process of editing and translating will take me a while.

I’m also wondering about writing a non-fiction book about my experience as a woman living on my own (I’ve started putting a few ideas together, but it’s only the bud of an idea). I’m refreshing my blog and I’m planning on promoting my translation services by offering a lucky author a major discount (in exchange for signing up to my new translation matters newsletter). If everything goes according to plan that will be next month.

Oh, and I almost forgot a reminder about the audio book Family, Lust and Cameras  which has been released on audio. Only 1:30 hours, so if anybody fancies listening to a pretty dark suspenseful revenge story…

Thanks so much for inviting me to blah, blah, about myself, and thanks to your readers for their patience.

My thanks to Olga for an interesting choice of questions and I think that if she does head off to Alaska we can expect some great posts about the adventure.

Here are links to buy all of Olga’s books and she has a number of selling sites to suit your requirements.. Also the various social media platforms that you can connect on.

Links and contact

Subscribe to my newsletter: English:
Amazon author page:úñez-Miret/e/B009UC58G0
Facebook author page:
Pinterest :
You Tube Channel:

Thanks for dropping in today and we would both appreciate your sharing the Open House on your own blog and social media. Enjoy the rest of the day.. Sally


Mention in Dispatches – Outstanding blog posts this week.

mention in dispatches

Welcome to this week’s stroll through blogland and the bloggers that I follow. Obviously I cannot share all of the posts from the week but here is a small selection that I recommend you head over and read yourself.

To my mind a great blogger is a writer who draws you in, informs and entertains. All of these that follow do just that.


Lance Greenfield with a delightful post spanning five generations from his feisty father on a trip to London to the first meeting with a treasured great-grandson. What an amazing family event.


Francis Guenette with a report on her marketing activity and the knock on effect. The end of April marked one-month past the promotion. Things are still going amazingly well for the Crater Lake books. When you have written a series of books, give the first away for free and realize a bump in sales for subsequent books in the series, this is what is called the halo effect

One-Month Past a BookBub Promotion

D.G. Kaye Author

Debby Gies author D.G. Kaye with a very important message about scammers and con artists and also the dangers of using images on your sites however firmly you believe they are free to use.


Bridget Whelan with a story competition with a very generous wordage allowance and has the potential to launch a writer’s career.

International short story competition

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Olga Nunez Miret has talked about this anthology of books in the last couple of months but is showcasing today as it is Mother’s Day in the US this weekend and the anthology is for a very good cause.

‘Mother’s Day in the US is this weekend, and one of my author friends, Tamara Ferguson, told me about an initiative she was taking part in. A wonderful collection of books to commemorate mother’s everywhere, and for a very good cause, to support the research of Multiple Sclerosis. She also gave me the opportunity of getting to know some of the writers. Today is the last interview I bring you of another British writer whom you will love to meet. A true character. Allyson R. Abbott.

#Mother’sDayMagic. A book anthology for a very good cause. An interview with Allyson R. Abbott (@AllysonRAbbott)


Here is a post for the poets amongst you and those who enjoy a story that rhymes. From Alistair Lane – who also entertains with short stories and is a Star Wars aficionado.

tessAlthough I did reblog this post by Teresa Karlinski on her continued trip to Newfoundland I wanted to add in here too. Tess’s travels are so detailed that you almost feel you are there with her. Do head over and enjoy the life cycle of the Salmon in its natural habitat.


Annette Rochelle Aben interviews author Don Massenzio on The Magic Happens radio and you can catch up with both these talented writers online. Get Caught Reading Month is a very important initiative as the impact of illiteracy in our modern world is huge.
I am honoured to be in the hot seat next Friday.. Really looking forward to it.

12274434_1586310975028718_2441632175930677806_nHere is some verse from Robert Wertzler – most of us have a nightmare scenario that takes our heart rate into overdrive and Bob manages to convey that impressively with these words.

1549322_1386313508289377_846188016_nAnother review site for you to visit especially if you are a science fiction, horror and mystery fan. Kurt Springs and here is the review of The Clock Winked by Ariele Sieling

Okay that is the selection for this week and I hope that if you are not already following these bloggers that you will head over and do so.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend.. Sally

Mention in Dispatches

mention in dispatches

As usual it has been a terrific week on WordPress and here is just a small selection of blogs I have visited and enjoyed this week. I am now off to wave my magic wand as we have a house viewing today. Dust bunnies come out wherever you are.

I hope you will head over to these hard-working bloggers and share and follow.  Thanks and have a great weekend.

Don Massenzio interviews Susan M. Toy author of Island in the Clouds and also the supporter of Indie authors on Reading Recommendations as well as on social media. I have read and reviewed Island in the Clouds and it was excellent.

Hugh Roberts with a great piece of flash fiction… Sheep… I am already turning Vegan with all the fluffy videos on Facebook of little lambs, piggies and calves snuggling up for cuddles and helping with the housework.. This story sealed the deal!!

It was International Women’s Day on the 8th and here is one post that every mother with daughters will find both heartwarming and comforting. Thank you Nicole.

Natacha Guyot posted some wonderful interviews with Sci-fi women writers and she has made all of them available as a FREE download on Smashwords… they include Jo Robinson, Patty Hammond, Yolanda I. Washington and Tricia Barr. Treat yourself…

Always wonderful to welcome an old friend back from a long absence… Jo Robinson is enjoying her new flat along with her feathered muses… We have missed her and delighted to be back to being able to pop in to read her great posts and have a chat. Please head over to the post and add your own welcome.

I use images all the time and this is a method I did not know about but will be definitely using in future for multiple book covers from authors who guest. Courtesy of Lion Around Writing

The debate about print vs. Ebooks is an ongoing topic on social media. The old guard publishers will not give ground on the issue neither will those readers who still call print books, proper books. As a guest with Seumas Gallacher this week; Susan Toy puts the print vs. Ebooks firmly in its place and I agree wholeheartedly with her.

Tess Karlinski continues her trip through Newfoundland and today the return trip from Labrador on a choppy sea. I must say that Newfoundland does look a bit bleak but it also had some very atmospheric scenery. I suggest that after reading this you stay over on Tess’s blog because I am sure the coach will be leaving for the next trip this morning.

Olga Nunez Miret with the book review of Short & Tall Tales in Goose Pimple Junction by Amy Metz. Looks like a wonderfully funny read and Olga also introduces us to the other books in this series.

Catch you later for Medicine Woman’s Treasure Chest – the herb Thyme and later The Saturday Round Up.

Belated Saturday Round Up- Irish Reels, Tony Bennett, Pirates and Princesses

A belated Saturday round up due to being offline most of yesterday. We have had a great month celebrating birthdays here with friends. Out of five couples we spend time with, there are six of us celebrating within a four week period. With my two sisters as well, February is a busy month. Apart from our birthdays in common we also share a love of dogs which is how most of us met as we walked around our community.

Although my Spanish is not great it is not important as there are some things that go beyond language. Mutual appreciation of good food, wine and music and love of the finer things in life… Such as dogs. More than the near constant sunshine for most of the year, we will miss the warmth of the friends we have made here.

I think that this time of the year can be the darkest for many. For some, there are glimpses of spring. but others face another month at least of dark days and the cold. From a health perspective the lack of Vitamin D from exposure to sunlight has created both physical and mental stress effecting children and adults.No wonder it is peak sales time for over the counter cold remedies and tonics.

Thankfully the sun has returned to us and hopefully if there is no cold breeze; I can begin to sit out again for an hour and catch up on my reading. I love the changing seasons, but I am sure in a past life I must have been an Aztec; that would explain my love of the sun and chocolate.

The past week here on Smorgasbord.

As usual I have had some visitors to the blog this week that have brought their own sunshine with them in the form of words or music. A huge thanks to these contributors and I know from the comments that you have enjoyed their visits.

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First a thank you to author Claire Fullerton who was the Open House guest last Sunday. Author of Dancing to an Irish Reel and A Portal in Time.


William Price King began a new series this week and we discovered more about the early life and career of the incredible performer, Tony Bennett who turns 90 later this year.

Over the last two years I have had the opportunity to get to know some bloggers on and offline and also the work of others that impressed me. I have put together the start of an author service and promotion directory and hope you will pop in and make a note of their details should you need their assistance with your books.

chris_the_story_reading_ape.jpgJo Robinson Author

Wendy JanesDavid relaxing with Elizabeth and DennisOlga_Núñez_Miret_author.jpg

mention in dispatches

This week I have enjoyed many blog posts and although I have already shared on social media and in some cases reblogged; here are a small selection that you might like to explore yourself. There are two week’s worth, as I posted on the Sunday rather than Saturday last weekend.

Blogging etiquette.

Blogging is something that I consider to be a very important part of my life. Writing is key to my happiness along with other essentials such as a great husband and chocolate. I love having an open house but there are times when I am glad that I moderate all comments, even from those who have previously commented. I have no problem with comments that are aimed at me but when aimed at guests to the blog I am not as accepting.

Hugh Roberts set his weekly photo challenge and this week it was to share a photograph that demonstrated ‘Love’.

Sam as a puppy & Sally - Beabeg 200x

It is 1992 in the series on music in my life from age 9 in 1962 to the present day.


Weekly images and quotes.

This week’s photograph is from a 2000 trip David and I made along the northern coast of Spain and apart from the wonders of places such as Santander and the Camino Way there are some delightful medieval towns with narrow streets and gates in their massive walls.

Khan 2


Susan Toy of Reading Recommendations and author of Island in the Clouds, kindly had me over for an update and if you have not already been promoted on the site then do head over and find out more.

Book Promotions.

If you would like to submit your work there are a number of options for Discounted or Free, new book in series, Children’s book, New Book Fanfare and Five Start Treatment.. details here: Book Promotion

Two book promotions this week for Ronovan Hester, P.S. Bartlett and Regina Puckett

Amber Wake-Gabriel Falling by PS Bartlett and Ronovan Hester


Turning Back the Clock is a book on anti-aging that began as a radio series. I decided to serialise here on the blog and in chapter three it is all about the hormones.


Continuing the Vitamin and Mineral series of the week it is the turn of Vitamin B3 or Niacin which is vital for a healthy nervous system, balanced cholesterol levels and our hearts.

The week would not be complete without some humour and here are some funnies from the week before on Facebook – more to come later today and rodent agility training!

Nicholas Rossis with Labrador Hub

Rat clicker training.. who would have thought!!

Thanks again for popping in over the last week. Coming up later this morning is the Open House with guest Charles Yallowitz and I hope you will join us.

Take care.. Sally


#Girllove Blog Challenge – Thanks Marjorie Mallon and D. G. Kaye

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#Girllove Blog Challenge

I was very honoured this week to be nominated for the #Girllove Blog challenge by two exceptional fellow bloggers. Marjorie Mallon and D.G. Kaye also known to us as Debby Gies.

I realise that some of those that I nominate may not accept awards or may be too busy as this time but I would like you to accept instead my gratitude for your support and that this is recognition for your great blog. I will leave some flowers for you at the end of the post.

#Girllove challenge, launched by Lilly Singh, a.k.a. Superwoman, on her YouTube Channel. Lilly Singh is a Canadian vlogger, actress, comedian, and rapper, age 27. She is tired of ‘girl-on-girl hate’ in schools, workplaces, and social media, so she decided to reverse trends by promoting #GirlLove. In her empowering video young women speak out about their respect and gratitude for other women in their lives. Proceeds from video views will go to the Malala Fund to help educate girls around the world. The goal of the fund is to “enable girls to complete 12 years of safe, quality education so that they can achieve their potential and be positive change-makers in their families and communities”.

Lilly’s challenge was to compliment other women in social media using the hashtag #GirlLove.

Firstly I would like to thank Marjorie Mallon or Marje at whose blog is all about the magic of writing, her love of books and the intriguing elements of crystals. Marje has completed one YA fantasy novel and is in the process of writing her second and if that was not sufficiently busy, she also is very active and supportive here on WordPress. She enjoys a cross section of genres including YA, Contemporary, Romance, LBGTQ, Fantasy and Science Fiction.

She loves travel and visits her relatives across the globe as far flung as Australia and Singapore which is her birth place. She is married to a Black Sheep (read more about that in her post she seems very happy with this arrangement and has two lovely daughters. You will be entertained and also value Marje as a good friend her in our online community.

The second empowered and empowering lady that I would like to thank is Debby Gies, author D.G. Kaye who combines her commonsense writing on relationships and life’s adventures with a terrific sense of humour. She is a sun-loving traveller through the world and life and shares those experiences with us on her blog and in her books. This includes her latest Have Bags, Will Travel.. A must read for all packers, shoppers and lovers of airport protocol! Buy all of Debby’s books from her author’s page on Amazon.

Debby must have jet fuel instead of blood in her veins as she manages to zip in and out of our blogs with supportive comments and shares across social media. Her sense of humour is definitely evident in her Facebook posts and you will find her here: I am particularly grateful for her motivational comments that make blogging even more of a pleasure.

If you do choose to pass this award on then please take a look at these guidelines and please mention the outstanding work of Lilly Singh.

Here’s what you do for the #GirlLove Challenge:

1 Tell your followers who inspires you, a famous woman who may be dealing with negativity on a daily basis.

2 Tell your followers who inspires you in real life, a woman you always interact with.

3 Tag five women bloggers who you love. Compliment them and tell them why you love them, and comment under their latest post with the link to your #GirlLove post!

 If you get tagged, do the post on your own blog. If you want to do it anyway, do it anyway! Add the tag ‘Girl Love’ to your post, so we can see them all! Let’s start 2016 with LOVE for each other!

My thoughts……..

My favourite #Girllove celebrity who inspires so many other young women to achieve despite physical disabilities is Amy Purdy. Amy is an actress and as snowboarder (would not even attempt with two good legs) and won a bronze medal at the 2014 Paralympics.

When only 19 Amy contracted bacterial meningitis which resulted in the devastating loss of both legs below the knee, both kidneys and her spleen. Sepsis shock causes a shut down of all organs and at one point Amy was only given a 2% chance of survival. She showed how strong she was by surviving that and the following challenges. Two years later she received a kidney from her father.

Apart from her incredible physicality on snowboards, she also proved that she could dance beautifully when she competed in Dancing with the Stars. Very brave young woman and she motivates others with her professional speaking dates and in her writing. Learn more about her at

Here she is in the Freestyle part of the competition with her partner Derek Hough.

My real life #Girllove person is not one person but every single one of the women who welcomed me on my arrival here in blogworld, took the time to teach me the ropes, commented, shared and reblogged. They gave me awards at times when I wondered if anyone was reading my posts or enjoying them, and they did not fall by the wayside but are still with me today. I will mention them in the list of bloggers that I am nominating today and of course one was of course the delightful Debby Gies.

Here are my #Girllove nominees and I could not stop at five or with the names that I have chosen as I have so much gratitude for so many of the wonderful ‘girls’ in the community. As I mentioned earlier there is no need to go further than accepting the bouquet of flowers at the end of the post. This might be the case if you have already been mentioned in another of the #Girllove awards.

Here is a small selection of those that I have reason to be grateful to.

Jo Robinson of has become a dear friend and for those who are regular visitors to her blog will have seen that her husband tragically died on Boxing Day. Although she is not currently online there is no way that I would leave her off this list of wonderful women that are part of my blogging life. Jo has not only written some wonderful articles, posts and books but also freely given her knowledge of formatting and publishing on Kindle and Createspace in a step by step series. This is now a book available on Amazon. The Absolute Indie is a wonderful ‘How To’ for anyone who wishes to self-publish using Kindle. We all hope that she will be back with us soon.

Another blogger who has been by my side for much of the time is Olga Nunez Miret and this talented author has a great deal of offer on her blogs. I say blogs as she has recently moved to a new address so for those of you who have not bookmarked it then here it is. Olga translates all her own books into Spanish and her blog is bi-lingual too. She writes amazing reviews that are in such detail there is no doubt in your mind when you have finished as to whether you will buy or not… Her books can be found on her author page on Amazon and you will find a wonderful eclectic mix.úñez-Miret/e/B009UC58G0

Teagan Riordain Geneviene has been spreading mega hugs around blog world for some time and I was very lucky when she dropped into mine one day a couple of year’s ago. Since then I have been enjoying her weekly serials that take fantasy, ordinary kitchen ingredients and our imaginations to the next level. Here is an example to get you started. you will be hooked. She is a hugely supportive friend to have as a blogger and out of the virtual world. Her debut novel Atonement Tennessee is being followed up with Atonement in Bloom and whilst we wait for the sequel, we are kept entertained with some behind the scenes posts on characters and locations in the town that she has built from scratch. You can buy Atonement Tennessee at her authors page

Judith Barrow is one of my favourite authors and I read her three books that begin during the Second World War through to the 60s in the last few months. I was delighted to review and if you enjoy stories that follow through with their characters over their lifetimes then here is the link start with Pattern of Shadows, followed by Changing Patterns and then Living in the Shadows. Judith can be found on her blog and usually dropping in and sharing those she follows. Please follow and find out for yourself how delightful she is.

Ali Isaac : Ali has brought the wonderful and ancient legends of Ireland to life with her books, articles and blog posts. An ambassador for the home of myths who brings a great deal of knowledge and colour to her tales. I hope to meet her in person this year at the Annual Bloggers Bash on June 11th in London. You can buy Ali’s Conor Kelly books at her author’s page..

Last but not least – Annette Rochelle Aben – who is a more recent acquaintance but very special all the same. Like one or two of the others that are in this list, Annette and I seem to have crossed in a previous life and picked up where we left off. Annetter is an author, broadcaster and has mastered the tricky art of Haiku.. Today I reviewed her latest book released yesterday. PhoKu which marries beautiful photographs with Haiku.

If you enjoy a sense of humour combined with an infinity with the spiritual side of life both in writing and the airwaves you had better head over and follow Annette.


There are so many more women that I could mention and to be fair a list of men who are equally important to me both on and offline. Hugh Roberts recently responded to the #Girllove award with one for the guys which is here.

As promised a bouquet of flowers for all nominees rather than a statue (Oscars coming soon) and if you are not in a position to respond to the award then please accept the blooms with my thanks and recognition of your wonderful support and blogs.