Smorgasbord Blogger Daily 12th April 2017 – Paul Andruss, Anne R. Allen, David Prosser and Carol Taylor


Smorgasbord Blogger Daily

Welcome to the Wednesday edition of Blogger Daily and already this week has produced some stunning blog posts. Feel free to leave your links to your most recent post in the comments section of the blog so we can all share.

Finn Mac Cool

There is a wonderful blog challenge going on this week Music that Means Something and several of us are participating. I nominated Paul Andruss and his first response to the challenge is wonderful. Featuring the talented, quirky and innovative Penquin Cafe Orchestra with some snippets from their performances. Well worth visiting and even if not nominated you could throw your hat in the ring and have five days of music that means something to you. Paul is the guest today for the Book Reading at the Cafe and is taking questions from the audience in the comments section of the post.

Penguin Café Orchestra was founded by classically trained multi-instrumentalist Simon Jeffes. He wanted to produce an avant-garde melange of world rhythms combined with the discipline of classical chamber music (Oscar Tango) and experimental forms such as:

The tape recorded sounds of Musique Concrete (Telephone and Rubber Band)

Erik Satie’s repetitive furniture music (Numbers 1-4)

The abstract soundscapes of Karl Stockhausen (Wildlife)


The minimalism of John Cage, (Cage Dead) whose influence can be heard in the pulsing bass drone of many tracks. A technique successfully used by another of his students John Cale in his work with the early Velvet Underground.

Read more about and listen to the amazing music of the Penquin Cafe Orchestra:

I am afraid that I am not one to sign up for newsletters or emails and will by pass on following a blog if I have to give my email to comment, like or follow.  I work with social media and the blogs I follow and if they have connected their posts to all of them I pick up the news just fine. I also do not have hundreds of emails daily and I always recommend that people do not sign up to receive notifications from me either. That will not work for everyone but Anne R. Allen lays out a very compelling and interesting post on the subject of Newletter vs. Blog… I recommend.

Author Newsletter vs. Author Blog: Five Reasons I Prefer a Blog, and Six Reasons You Might Not

“The one with the biggest email list wins” is the current mantra of pretty much every book marketer on the planet. The author newsletter is supposed to be the most important weapon in your book marketing arsenal.

Marketing experts tell authors their #1 goal should be to collect as many email addresses as possible for the purpose of sending our victims fans weekly or even daily doses of our spam news.

This week Kristine Katherine Rusch wrote a great in-depth post on newsletters. She pointed out there are two types of newsletters that authors are using today: the old school, chatty letter that reads like the newsy Christmas letter you get from Aunt Susie. Those newsletters appeal to your established fans who know your characters, and want to know what’s coming up and what’s going on with you personally.

Then there’s the newer type of newsletter which is like an advertising circular that aims at getting new customers. It’s all about marketing.

Read the rest of this very useful book promoting post:

We seem to feature quite a few canine companions around here such as Sue Vincent’s Ani and Andrew Joyce’s Danny, but apart from Zoe the fabulous feline not many cats.. To make up for that her is Oscar who belongs to the Long Legs Lord David Prosser and who found himself in a bit of trouble down at the local pub.

For once I have to admit what happened was my own fault. I’d been catnapping most of the bright time and only realised I hadn’t been out to take my exercise until the dark time had almost come. I roused myself, stretched and wandered through to see what I’d been given to eat. It was beef, and though I normally enjoy beef it just wasn’t what I wanted today. So I wandered in to say hello to my ‘The Him’ and My ‘The Her’ and perhaps show him a little of my displeasure that the meal I wanted wasn’t there. As it happened they were in the eating room and doing just that. It was chicken and I could smell the aroma as it tickled my nose.

 Read the rest of Oscar’s escapade:

The best recommendations for exotic places to travel to come from those who actually live there all year around. Carol Taylor lives in Thailand and apart from some wonderful recipes she also shares some of the amazing places to visit. So if going to Thailand is on your agenda I would make sure you are following Carol and making notes.

Wat Pa Phu Kon, Issan, Northern Thailand

Standing proud on top of a hill in 400 acres of lush green fields and forests surrounded by other hills is this beautiful little known temple, unless you have a Thai connection or live in Issan many people are not aware that it even exists. It has a stunning aqua blue roof and literally sparkles in the sunlight and the blue of the roof reflect of the blue sky so there this is shimmering bright blue aura around the temple, it is sight to behold.

See the photographs and get the details:

I hope you have enjoyed this small selection of posts I have enjoyed today. Please feel free to leave a link to your latest post in the comments.  thanks Sally

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Book Reading and Interview – Paul Andruss.

Sally's Cafe and BookstoreOver the last few months Paul Andruss has become a most welcome and popular fixture in the Smorgasbord community. His posts, that pick apart myths and legends, and then reassemble them into glorious clarity, are the hightlight of the week for me and those who drop by.

Banana Passion Flower (Andruss)

Every week, when I either post an exclusive post for Smorgasbord, or one I have raided from his archives, I give the usual ‘about’ but today I thought that I would do something a little different.

You might wonder why I have a Banana Passion Flower at the front end of this book reading and interview… and the answer is that Paul is a passionate gardener with a wonderful knowledge of this world of plants and blossoms. In fact when I mentioned that I was going to be starting to bring some colour into the garden, he immediately wrote a two page email with a wonderful guide to what would grow here, what I could plant now and what would be good for later in the year.

In the relatively short time I have known Paul I have discovered that apart from being an exceptional writer he is a warm and very generous friend to many not just myself. I have some wonderful mates that I am delighted to communicate with on a regular basis that I have met online, and don’t let anybody tell you that it is not the same as being face to face. It actually is. So this is Paul on a personal level and here is the official bit about his writing.

Paul Andruss is a writer whose primary focus is to take a subject, research every element thoroughly and then bring the pieces back together in a unique and thought provoking way. His desire to understand the origins of man, history, religion, politics and the minds of legends who rocked the world is inspiring. He does not hesitate to question, refute or make you rethink your own belief system and his work is always interesting and entertaining. Whilst is reluctant to talk about his own achievements he offers a warm and generous support and friendship to those he comes into contact with.

You can find all of Paul’s posts here on Smorgasbord in this directory plus my recent review for Thomas the Rhymer.

Books by Paul Andruss

Thomas the Rhymer Finn Mac Cool

Currently for a limited period Thomas the Rhymer is FREE to download via Paul’s website. It would be a great service if you could download the book and review and put it on Amazon and Goodreads.

Details to buy the books and to download Thomas they Rhymer :

Amazon Links :


Now to hand over to Paul who is looking forward to answering your questions which you can put into the comments section of the post.

Great to have you in the hot seat for a change Paul and perhaps you could tell us about your chosen genre of books that you write and why?

I write coming of age novels or (wait for it…) Bildungsroman.

Bildungsroman forms some of the oldest literature in the world. In Jungian psychology it pervades the collective unconscious as the archetypes of the child and the fool; signifying innocence. The hero as a fool or child (usually the younger son) is common to many myths and folktales.

In Finn Mac Cool, Finn is the fool because he is thrown into an alien world he knows nothing about; modern Ireland re-enacting its ancient myths after a devastating plague.

Thomas the Rhymer is about an 11 year old boy who sees a fairy queen kidnap his older brother. In true Bildungsroman tradition, young Jack grows up by overcoming challenges. It is safe to say, most of us had a rough time growing up and so identify with a courageous struggling youngster. Under all the layers we accumulate with age, that youngster remains in each of us.

Which book in your opinion is the best you have ever read and why?

Gore Vidal’s 1981 novel Creation. I was interested in ancient history at the time but knew little about it. Creation was the springboard to a lifelong passion.

Written in the first person, Creation tells the story of Cyrus Spitama, living during the conflict between the Persian Empire and Democratic Greece: the 300 Spartans at Thermopylae; the Battle of Marathon.

Cyrus gives the Persian side countering Herodotus, ‘the Father of History’, who invented the term with his book ‘The Histories’ meaning ‘inquiries’. In his old age Cyrus becomes the Persian Ambassador to Athens during the golden age of Pericles – when the Parthenon was built.

Cyrus is the grandson of Zoroaster. Zoroasterism was an early monotheistic religion, influencing Judaism, Christianity and Islam. During his life Cyrus travels to India and meets Buddha. He also visits China during the Warring States period when the totalitarian Chin tribe triumphs. Here he meets Confucius and Lao Tsu, the founder of Taoism. The book ends with a postscript by Cyrus’ nephew, a Greek philosopher, who tells us science is now replacing myth to explain the natural world.

Although the book takes some historical liberties, we witness the very birth of our modern world. And of course, Vidal is such a beautiful writer that every page is a master class.

You write about ancient history and also modern icons and legends across the entertainment world. If you could drop into a time and meet just one of those you have written about… who would it be?

Gore Vidal of course, aged 60, after he has written most of his major works. I would like to ask about American history.

Vidal wrote the successful and accomplished novels ‘The Narratives of Empire’ which examine the decline of the proud Republic, founded on equality, to a state as tarnished as any of the Old-World European empires. Vidal was also step brother to Jackie Kennedy and knew the family well.

‘Burr’ starts with the elderly Aaron Burr, demonised for killing Alexander Hamilton, recounting his memories of the American Revolution.

In ‘Lincoln’ Vidal takes an unpopular stance, saying the Civil War was as much about pre-eminence of Federal government as the Abolition of Slavery.

1876 looks at the Republic’s first century after its unprecedented territorial expansion with the Louisiana Purchase and the acquisitions of Florida, California, Texas and Alaska; and the consolidation into a single super-state after the Civil War. Using the Monroe Doctrine as a pretext (which states the American hemisphere must be free of Europe) the now mighty Republic hungers for Empire.

‘Empire’ covers Theodore Roosevelt and begins with the War in the Philippines, America’s first foreign territory. ‘Hollywood’ examines how America became involved in World War 1 and ‘The Golden Age’ in World War 2 and the coming Cold War.

Quite enough hot topics for a single cold supper, I should think.

Having written across the centuries about events and people.. What do you think are the key elements that a writer will showcase in 100 years?

Social media dominates our world. As Marshall McLuhan predicted, we increasingly embrace the medium not the message. It’s the latest app; not what you say.

I have no idea what the next 100 years will bring. Facebook allowed proper messages. With Twitter the message was reduced to a soundbite. The latest is Snapchat: short videos and pictures that self-destruct after a few seconds of being viewed. When we all are using Snapchat what, if anything, will we be saying?

Like those before it, Snapchat is valued at billions, yet losing money. This is because advertisers are champing at the bit to exploit our thirst for novelty. In contrast, their previous favourite Twitter has seen share prices fall.

Social media often seems like a billion people standing on mountaintops screaming ‘Look at me!’ People play with their phones everywhere: in the cinema, falling downstairs, stepping into traffic. I had a friend who would text rather than watch a sunset – I was often tempted to take a photograph of the sunset and send it to her. Although with Snapchat she could now watch it in real time without bothering to look up.

There is hope though. Other fads died out as mysteriously as they came: hula hoops, klackers. Perhaps one day we will get fed up with social media dominating every waking moment, with the spam and the trolls, and close our accounts.

What a great idea.

Should I tweet it?

It might go viral!

Do you have a favourite quote? What does it means to you as an individual?

‘It is not the duty of an author to deliver a message when writing. A writer is not a postman!’

This slight misquote is from the Russian American novelist Vladimir Nabokov who wrote the 1955 novel ‘Lolita’ about a middle aged man who becomes sexually obsessed and then involved with his 12 year old stepdaughter.

Disgusting I know, and it’s a classic… ‘one of our finest American novels, a triumph of style and vision’

I think we write because we have something to tell the world. Yet, with inexperience, passion can swamp technical fluidity. The story we want to tell is lost in what we try to say.
The only way to engage readers is to have them read you. And you catch more flies with honey than vinegar. In actual fact, you catch most flies with sh…

Let’s not go there, eh?

The moral is… don’t beat your point home with a big stick. After all, we are not postmen.
Think instead of what the delightfully irascible Dorothy Parker said when asked to define horticulture… ‘You can lead a whore to culture… but you can’t make her think!

Is anything in any of your books based on real life experiences or is it purely your imagination?

Thomas the Rhymer is about a boy is stolen by a fairy queen. A large part deals with the impact on the family.

My younger brother ran away when he was eight. He made it all the way to Grandma’s and was so embarrassed he spent the night in her shed. It wasn’t until the following day she found him. In those days, a lot of people in the UK (like Grandma) didn’t have phones. My uncle brought him home.

My parents were distraught. Mum was crying all the time. Dad dazed. The police came. I didn’t really understand much. I remember sitting in front of the TV wanting to be invisible, keeping quiet and feeling lost.

From there, it wasn’t such a leap of imagination to wonder what a youngster would do if something inexplicable happened. Like an old woman turning young and beautiful, as fairies do, and then vanishing with your bother before your eyes.

I wanted the boy (I felt more confident writing a boy) to be hitting puberty. Jack is aged 11 – the same age as I was. At that age you begin to doubt your childhood beliefs, but don’t dismiss things like an adult.

He also had to be well-adjusted, but without friends. To keep the plot simple, I made the family move town when he started senior school.

I wanted the plot to start at the beginning and moved seamlessly to the end. Someone suggested starting with Jack coming home dazed and working backwards to the fairy abduction. I felt it was an unnecessary complication of a simple story.

Paul has chosen an extract from Thomas the Rhymer which I can personally recommend.

Thomas the Rhymer took its name and some ideas from the traditional Scottish fairy tale about a young man who meets the beautiful Queen of Elphame and goes to her palace as her prince. After a few days, he thinks he should go home to tell his family where he is. When he does he finds many years have passed.

In my novel, Thomas the Rhymer was a 14 year old boy kidnapped by fairy queen. Some 60 years later (with him looking only slightly older) they get separated. While looking for her Rhymer, the queen kidnaps Jack’s 16 year old brother.

A weird creepy tramp has been stalking Jack and his new friends. Now he is about to catch them.

Read on…

Less than halfway to Jack’s house, Ken announced, “He’s back.”

Jack looked around the deserted street. “I can’t see him.”

“Trust me, he’s here.”

“Let’s run,” Catherine suggested.

“Which way?” Ken whimpered, beginning to panic. “How do we fight what we can’t see?”

“He’s there in front of us!” Jack exclaimed with relief as the tramp shimmered into view.

“Back to the High Street,” advised Catherine. “We can hide in the crowd at the bus station.”

They ran down the road, occasionally passing people who did not even look. Typical, chased by a weirdo and no one bothers Jack thought bitterly. Before remembering no one could see the tramp. Perhaps he’d cast a spell and nobody saw them either.

By now Ken was wheezing and could go no further. Spotting an alley behind some shops, Jack made a split second decision and bundled the breathless Ken into it; thinking they could hide behind skips and bins piled high with rubbish and cardboard boxes.

“What are you doing?” Catherine panted, following.

“We can’t run forever. Hide here, might be a way out!”

Seeing Ken snatch a puff on his inhaler, she realised they had no option. There was a slim chance the tramp might go past.

Squeezing down behind a skip, they peered out.

“Here he is!” Jack whispered.

“What is he doing?” Catherine hissed.

“Looking around! I think he’s going. No, wait, he’s coming. Was there another way out?”

“No, I checked!”

“He knows we’re here!” Ken snatched a hasty puff. He was red in the face and breathing hard. “His mind’s weird,” he wheezed.

Jack shushed him. “It’s all right Ken. Just let me think!” A moment later he turned to Catherine, “Run while I keep him busy.”

“No Jack!” she uttered, horror-struck.

“Jack!” echoed the tramp as if he heard her. “Master Jack, Cracker Jack… Jack be nimble,

Jack be quick, Jack jump over the candlestick.”

“Is he mental?” Catherine gulped.

“No, he’s fairy,” Jack reminded her, as Ken nodded in agreement.

“Here I am,” Jack said, bravely stepping out from behind the skip.

“No!” Catherine wailed.

At the sight of Jack, the tramp started crying.

“Master Jack, Tom’s a lost. Master Jack, Tom’s a cold. Master Jack, don’t be cross! Master Jack, take Tom home! For I did dilly and did dally, dally and did dilly, lost my way and don’t know where to roam. Now you can’t trust a story like old Jack-a-Nory, when you can’t find your way home!”

Jack stared stupidly at the tramp.

“It’s all right, he won’t hurt you,” Ken shouted.

“You’ve changed your tune,” Jack shouted back.

“I was wrong. He’s not trying to scare us. He’s scared. The noise, the people, he’s not used to it. It’s driving him mad.”

Coming from behind the skip, Ken walked to the tramp with hands held in front of him as if feeling the air around the man.

“He’s living rough,” he informed Jack. “I don’t think he’s had a good night’s sleep for weeks, or a proper meal, been eating out of bins! Oh dear, he could do with a bath.”

“I know he pongs!” Jack agreed.

Putting his head to one side, the tramp smiled.

“There’s something else, he might look older than us, but inside he’s about our age.”

The tramp smiled again, saying proudly, “For a year and a day I grew away, and I grew straight and I grew tall, and I was the fairest of them all, and she did love me, love me do, but now I’m lost. It’s sad but true.”

“Hello,” said Catherine, following Ken from behind the skip.

“Good day to you mistress mine, Thomas am I, Thomas of Rhyme.” The tramp gallantly bowed.

“Thomas? That’s what she called Dan! She was looking for you, wasn’t she?” Jack said to the tramp.

“Aye,” wailed Thomas, “that she were! Though she loved me most, kissed my cheek and stoked my hair, a new Sir Thomas does she boast and on him lavish all her care. And I am gone, like those before, belovéd once, beloved no more.”

“Why?” asked Catherine.

“Though I both complain and moan, ‘tis no one’s fault but my own. She warned me true when she did say not to dally on the way. Off went the court with my good queen too. Tom followed on but what did Tom do?” he shrieked, slapping his own face and shaking his head wretchedly.

“Tom did dilly and did dally, did dally and did dilly, lost his way and don’t know where to roam. Now Tom’s afraid and all alone, and can’t find his way home.”

With outburst over Thomas blew his nose noisily on his sleeve and smiled a brave little smile.

Telling the strange man to stay put, Jack called a conference.

“What are we going to do?” he whispered.

“We cannot leave him. It is obvious he cannot take care of himself,” Catherine announced.

“Well, I can’t take him home,” Jack countered. “What would my parents say?”

“I’ll take him home.” Ken spoke quietly. “He can sleep in the spare room. Mum will know what to do with him.”


My thanks to Paul for his wonderful responses and now it is your turn to ask your questions. Please put them in the comments section and Paul will come back to you as soon as possible.. oh and if you have a gardening question he probably won’t mind that as well.

Safari Sunset Protea (Andruss)

Connect to Paul

Facebook Page:

Thanks for dropping in and look forward to hearing from you. Sally

Music That Means Something Challenge – Day 2 – Brown Sugar – The Rolling Stones

Sue Vincent kindly nominated me for this challenge.  Music that Means Something to You which entails posting a song a day with the reasons behind your choice… this might include the lyrics or the style of music or perhaps an event that this piece reminds you of.

To read how it should be done here is Sue’s Day 1 – with the music and profound lyrics of Leonard Cohen.

The rules of the challenge are simple:
Post a song a day for five consecutive days.
Post what the lyrics mean to you. (Optional)
Post the name of the song and a video.
Nominate 1 or 2 bloggers each day of the challenge.

Finn Mac Cool

Today I nominate Paul Andruss who writes fabulous posts on some of the iconic music legends such as David Bowie.. I am hoping that he can handle five posts along with his massive work load but if not one or two will be more than sufficient!

Paul is my guest tomorrow in the book reading at the cafe and will be looking forward to all your questions..

The twist in the challenge is that the lyrics should mean something….

I was looking for an excuse to recycle some of my Music Memories from 2015.. so the following may be familiar to some of you.

Last week I paid tribute to my first full time boss Roland Phillips who instilled in me a very robust work ethic.

1972 had been a challenging year at work as we were without electricity frequently during the miner’s strike. However, I worked hard I also played hard and dancing was very high on the agenda and I was blessed with amazing friends and social life.

Having gone through a tough breakup of my first serious romance by mid-year I was not interested in having a boyfriend. Luckily for me, the crowd that I socialised with included quite a few really charming young naval officers who were good friends. They were happy to have a date for functions and head out to meals and dances as a group.

Apart from Tuesday and Thursday nights at the Nuffield Club, which is now part of Portsmouth University, there were opportunities to don evening dresses and attend mess functions and Summer Balls. I remember that summer as being very therapeutic.

Music of 1972 was a strange mix. In the UK, one of the top tracks of the year was Amazing Grace by The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards followed by Mouldy Old Dough by Lieutenant Pigeon, Without You by Nilsson, I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing by the New Seekers and Mother of Mine by Neil Reid.

Great songs but I was into dance in a big way and loved nothing better than flinging myself around the dance floor with abandon. This led to a rather unfortunate incident whilst I was dancing to my all-time favourite track Brown Sugar by the Rolling Stones.

One of the new hair fashion trends at the time  was the forerunner of today’s extensions. A long half wig was attached to a wide black velvet band and turned you into a blonde siren in about five minutes… I saved up and bought one of these early fascinators and proudly walked in to the Nuffield Club one evening.

Part way through the night and Brown Sugar begins to belt out and a tall good looking young man saunters over and invites me to dance. I was delighted to accept and prepared to do justice to the music.

At this point I need to describe the dance floor. Not overly large but the ceiling was supported by a number of posts that were positioned at the edges of the space, which by now is heaving with Rolling Stones fans.

I was giving it all I had, flinging my new, long blonde locks around as I twirled and shimmied. Suddenly, I noticed that my dance partner was looking rather strangely at me. This gave me pause for thought and I looked around to see what might be the cause of his consternation. Out of the corner of my eye I caught sight of something attached to one of the aforementioned posts.

Caught halfway up the pillar was my hairpiece hanging limply from a nail protruding from the wood. The fact that my long blonde hair was no longer on my head had ramifications. It meant that I was standing on a crowded dance floor with my own hair enclosed in a rolled up stocking held on with hair clips.

There was a hasty dash across the dance floor to the dying notes of the Rolling Stones, a quick grab of the hair and off to the ladies for a good cry and a regroup. Needless to say I flogged the hairpiece the next day to an unsuspecting girlfriend for £1.

I still have Brown Sugar on my playlist and is on my treadmill programme. I cannot help but burst out laughing whenever it comes up.

You can buy Rolling Stone Music from Amazon:

Previous posts in this challenge.

Thank you for dropping in and hopefully see you tomorrow with another of the songs that mean something to me. Sally


Writer in Residence Extra – Sea Sick Mary and What Men Want by Paul Andruss

Paul Andruss has unleashed is archive of his posts on the world… thankfully allowing me to share them here between his original posts for the blog. This week two posts that go together very nicely… much like toast, butter and marmalade!

Sea Sick Mary by Paul Andruss

Padding Bear eating a marmalade sandwich – (From BBC Kid’s show: Adapted by Andruss)

There are some weird theories about the word ‘marmalade’. Personally I was never got beyond what made marmalade different from jam.

Jam, jelly and marmalade are all made from fruit and sugar, set by naturally occurring pectin.

Jam uses the whole fruit; cherries, berries and apricots. Marmalade uses only the juice of citrus fruit with shredded boiled peel for a bit of tang.

Like marmalade, jellies such as quince jelly, apple and grape jelly only use the juice.
Except for grape jelly, which is hard to find in England, they are traditionally used with savouries: meat and cheese.

The USA calls Dessert Jelly: Jello. It is set using gelatine.

The word jelly comes from the Italian gelido – meaning chilled.

Just to go off-piste for a moment… Why orange?

Oranges come from China where they were grown for more than two millennia. The name comes from the ancient Sanskrit word ‘naranja’. The word reached Europe through the Arabic word ‘naranj’.

In the 1400s Spanish and Portuguese traders to India introduced oranges to Europe. The Greek and Turkish words for orange are ‘portakili’ and ‘portakal’, which comes from their version of the word ‘Portugal’. Turkish has a different word for the colour orange – ‘turuncu’ – because they had the colour before the fruit. (Guess where I lived for 5 years!)

Lemons are related to oranges, but tropical; from South Asia and North India. Although known to ancient Rome, lemons were not widespread until the 1500s when they came to Europe via the Ottoman Empire.

Limes are hybrids – not just one type of fruit but a whole group. The word ‘limu’ is Arabic for lemon. Limes are used unripe. They turn yellow when ripe and have an unpleasant flowery taste.

Back to marmalade…

When I was a kid I was told marmalade got its name because Henry VIII’s daughter Bloody Mary (Blood Oranges are not named after her) used it as medicine… Marie Malade (French for Mary sick).

Or it was originally a cure for sea sickness… Mer Malade (French again).

Needless to say whoever imparted these nuggets was barking up the wrong (citrus) tree – if not barking mad. (Barking mad is another post entirely).

The word appeared in English around 1480 from the Portuguese word marmelada; which in turn comes from the Portuguese word marmelo – a quince ‘cheese’ – a thick sweet jelly made from the pulp of quinces. It tastes a bit rose-flavoured but not sickly. Quinces are related to apples, which, believe it or not, are related to roses!

Quince was one of the first cultivated fruits and was sacred to Aphrodite the goddess of love. They were used on a wedding day to perfume the happy couple’s breath.

When you read about golden apples in Greek myth, such as the golden apples of immortality on the isle of the Hesperides, they are probably quinces. It might also explain why in the Judgement of Paris, he chose to give the golden apple to Aphrodite… it belonged to her anyway (What Men Want).

Some think Eve tempted Adam in the Garden of Eden not with an apple but a quince; representing burgeoning sexuality.

But why Paddington Bear?

Well, Paddington Bear likes marmalade.

And, while not everyone likes marmalade, who can resist Paddington Bear?

And on the subject of quinces and temptation…..

What Men Want by Paul Andruss

Eleanor Antin’s genius work -2007- Judgement of Paris (after Rubens) shows Helen sulky at being offered as a bribe for the Golden apple by Hermes with a pondering Paris in attendance.

The Trojan prince Paris had to award a golden apple inscribed with the words ‘to the fairest’ to the most beautiful of the three Olympian goddesses parading before him.

As a bribe Hera, mother of the gods and queen of heaven, offered him power over the whole world; the virgin warrior Athena offered wisdom and military success. Aphrodite, the goddess of love, offered another man’s wife, the most beautiful woman in the world, Helen of Sparta.

Paris chose Helen and caused the Trojan War.

The original for comparison with Eleanor Antin’s wonderful mischievous piece.

Check out her glorious work at the Feldman Gallery:

About Paul Andruss.

Paul Andruss is a writer whose primary focus is to take a subject, research every element thoroughly and then bring the pieces back together in a unique and thought provoking way. His desire to understand the origins of man, history, religion, politics and the minds of legends who rocked the world is inspiring. He does not hesitate to question, refute or make you rethink your own belief system and his work is always interesting and entertaining. Whilst is reluctant to talk about his own achievements he offers a warm and generous support and friendship to those he comes into contact with.

Finn Mac Cool

Paul has written four novels, Finn Mac Cool, and the (Harry-Potteresque) Jack Hughes Trilogy. ‘Finn Mac Cool’ and ‘Thomas the Rhymer’ are available for free download

Connect to Paul on social media.

Facebook Page:

You can find all of Paul’s posts in this directory:

Thank you for dropping by today and please feel free to share the post on your own blog and networks.

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – 31st March 2017 – D.G. Kaye, Paul Andruss, Hugh Roberts and Jessica Norrie

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily

Debby Gies – D.G. Kaye with her post to celebrate We Are The World Blogfest spreading a different message to the media who believe that bad news sells papers.  She explores the simple things in life that we should be grateful for… Things we take for granted such as running water and food on the table.

I am honored to be part of this group, #WATWB – We are the World Blogfest, and today’s post is my contribution to share kindness and positive messages instead of dwelling on some the negativity and woes of the world and to remind us about how to feel inspired and grateful.

Gratitude comes in many forms and is observed by many in different manners. Most often, gratitude finds its way into our daily lives by some of the little things we may not have taken notice of until such a situation presents itself.

Read the rest of this inspiring post:

Thomas the Rhymer

Author Paul Andruss is not just a talented writer but a great book reviewer. Having been on the receiving end and loved every word, I am delighted to share an excerpt from his review of The Initiate by Sue Vincent and Stuart France.

I have only read spiritual writing as a tourist, never a seeker. Yet I am often captivated by the images the words conjure in my imagination. Sometimes it feels like a thousand lights are turned on inside, while I peer greedily through a chink in the curtains. Standing open-mouthed, gawking in wonder at glimpsed fragments, without ever knowing the whole.

Is this not our world? The infinite casually swapped for the instant; meaning for sensation. We insatiably wade through today in search of tomorrow, relegating each experience to yet another tick on the bucket list. Tick… tick… tick… tick… tick… like the second hand of a clock, punctuating infinity. Cherry picking a soundbite here, a photograph there; souvenirs to prove we dared brave unknown realms.

It is not possible to review Sue Vincent and Stuart France’s ‘The Initiate’ as a novel, for it is not plot or character driven, instead it is a revelation – in the true sense of the word. It is to be experienced not dissected.

Read the full review:

Hugh Roberts has many very helpful posts for those just beginning their blogging journey and those of us who have been around for a while. We all have different reasons for blogging but feeling guilty about not having time to read everyone else’s post should not be one of them…

I’ve recently been reading some posts and messages on Facebook where people are asking for advice because blogging has got to the stage of stressing them out and/or making them feel guilty. I’ve written about this subject before, and know exactly how these bloggers are feeling, having been through the whole blogging ‘feeling guilty’ trip, myself.

Read this thoughtful and useful post from Hugh:

Jessica Norrie

Jessica Norrie has had a busy week but has still managed to provide us with her usual interesting and entertaining Friday post.  She has managed to fit in some reading over the last few days and also shares her thoughts on the work of bestselling author Nicci French. All this following an exciting start to the week top sopping (soprano) for the Hackney Singers at the Festival Hall.  Fantastic stuff Jessica.

It’s Friday again. Unusually, I haven’t made any notes for today’s blog post during the week. I’ve done no writing or editing either in the past seven days. But if I don’t post, it’s the start of a slippery slope, a particular shame as I approach next week’s Blogiversary. So what can I say?

One good reason for not writing was reading. I finished On Golden Hill, which I thought one of best books I’ve read in the past couple of years. It’s a spoof on early English novelists like Sterne and Smollett (at least, I think it is. I’ve never read them, just accumulated enough literary bric a brac over the years to think I would know what to expect if I did. And now along comes a 21st century author with an easier to penetrate, shorter pastiche so I’ll never have to.)

Find out more about Jessica’s week and her views on the Monday to Saturday series by Nicci French:

Thank you for dropping in today and please feel free to add the links to your most recent post in the comments section.

Smorgasbord Air your Reviews – Paul Andruss – Lori R. Lopez and Lucinda Blanchard

Welcome to the first of the Air your Reviews this week. This series is open to any author or book reviewer who would like to share their latest review. I am going to kick this off with a review of my own.

I have had Thomas the Rhymer by Paul Andruss on my TBR since before Christmas and my only New Year’s resolution for 2017 was to read through my TBR before buying any more books or offering to review any others.  Reviews are so important to us as authors and I hope that this new series will offer authors the opportunity to showcase their work and to give book reviewers an opportunity to boost their views too.

Thomas the Rhymer Paul Andruss

About Thomas the Rhymer (Jack Hughes Trilogy Book 1)

When Fairy Queen Sylvie snatches his brother, schoolboy Jack is plunged into a sinister fantasy world of illusion and deception – the realm of telepathic fairies ruled by spoilt, arrogant fairy queens.

Haunted by nightmares about his brother and pursued by a mysterious tramp (only seen by Jack and his friends) Jack fears he too will be stolen away.

The tramp is Thomas the Rhymer, who only speaks in rhyme. Lost and frightened Thomas needs Jack’s help to find his way home.

The race is on for Jack and his friends to save Thomas from the wicked Agnes Day (who wants to treat Thomas like a lab rat). And save Jack’s brother from Sylvie.
To do this they need the help of Bess – the most ancient powerful fairy queen in the land.

But there is a problem…
No one knows where Bess is… or even if she is still lives.
And even if they find her… will she let them go?

My review for Thomas the Rhymer March 2017

Challenge your senses with a rival to Harry Potter.

After 60 odd years of reading it is easy to get into bad habits. By this I mean sticking to the tried and tested with regard to genres and authors. This is not healthy when you are a writer yourself, as I have discovered when reading Thomas the Rhymer by Paul Andruss.

I read Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K Rowling when it was released. Whilst I enjoyed it as a children’s story, I really did not find myself engaged or inspired to read the other seven books or watch the movies. I felt excluded from the millions who did and usually keep my silence in the face of fans.

However, Thomas the Rhymer had me hooked from page one and continued to keep me engaged the entire 319 pages.

This is an ensemble piece with a cast of characters that would be happy in starring roles in Alice in Wonderland or any Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale. Jack Hughes, Ken, Catherine and the delightful Rosie, along with Thomas with his foot in this world and that of the Fairies; draw you into their inner circle and hold you fast.

Each of these wonderfully drawn characters face challenges in their past or present that make them feel isolated until they join forces to protect the most vulnerable amongst them and bring a brother home.

The story will challenge your beliefs in spectacular fashion. Is there another world or worlds running parallel with ours, are fairies sweet and delicate creatures or demons; is that tramp outside the Post Office real or an illusion? As you travel with Jack, Ken and Catherine on their quest, hurtling along ley lines and battling fantastic monsters and evil temptresses, you will find your heart beating a little bit faster. And probably checking under your bed at night!

The scenes set in London that criss cross centuries are filled with historical facts distorted with fairy dust. Next time you are in the city and walking the streets you will be looking into dark doorways and wondering if behind that old oak door with chipped paint lies a nest of elfin waiting to rob you of your senses.

The writing is superb with wit, humour and an edge that turns this from a children’s fairy story into a multi-generational adventurous fantasy that I believe knocks Harry Potter into a cocked hat!

I recommend reading Thomas the Rhymer and at £1.22 it is a steal worthy of the elfin themselves with a value of very much more in my opinion. There are more books to come in the Jack Hughes series and I would love to see the movies.

Challenge you senses and pick up a copy today.

Buy Thomas the Rhymer:

Also by Paul Andruss

Finn Mac Cool

Find out more about Paul Andruss and his books:

The next review is for the collection of dark stories, Odds and Ends by Lori R. Lopez author of Speculative Fiction, Horror, Fantasy and more…

About Odds and Ends: A Dark Collection

What terrors lurk in the blackest regions of a cellar, amidst dusty cobwebbed shelves, in the glass jars and metal cans of a hopelessly abnormal mind? These odds and ends are both odd and contain endings. As in the real world, not everything ends well. Sometimes it is all about finding a glimmer of light in the shadows, or being forewarned. Sometimes, the candle’s flame blows out!

An assortment of the weird and wonderfully grim are displayed for your fear and amusement. Whether you like quiet horror, humorous horror, stark horror, monstrous in-your-face horror, you’ll find what scares you here. Twenty-six diverse tales and clusters of flash stories or drabbles fit together between dark poems and brief witfully pithy essays on women writing Horror like pieces of a macabre jigsaw puzzle devised by a single madwoman, Lori R. Lopez.

Among the “Odds And Ends” . . . a devilish jack-in-the-box helps a young woman get even. Two little girls face-off in “Nemeses”. A very old baby is released from its jar at a museum in “Jar Baby”. Spaghetti comes to life in “Bloodwyrm”. A trainride takes one fellow on a harrowing journey toward “Fate”. A man and woman are reunited by the same curse that tore them apart in “The Fruit Of Thy Womb”. A weakling finds a dreadful “Cereal Box Surprise” at the bottom of the package. Ladies play a lethal hand of cards in “Mindless”. A couple wakes up to discover an enormous cobweb filling the house in “Spider Soup”. Falling asleep could end the world in “Awake”, while painting portraits takes a nightmarish turn for an artist in “Deathbed”. A girl watches her friends disappear on a darkly sinister beach at “The Vanishing Point”, and much much more. The print edition features peculiar illustrations by the author.

The latest review for the collection.

NOT YOUR NORMAL! on March 12, 2017

This book is a collection of short stories, poems and some other writings of Lori Lopez. If you’re looking for stories with ‘happily ever after’ this isn’t for you. All stories don’t have happy endings. Ms. Lopez gives us characters that are of the strange lot, just a little on the odd side but isn’t life sometimes? Just a little on the odd side? The author gives you a variety of horror mixed with humor, just plain horror and then the horror that has a sassy side to it. Some of the stories are towards the realistic side. Did you ever think how mean and difficult we can be towards others and how they can be to us? Sometimes Ms. Lopez mixes in a little jab at society and our government. Sometimes that can easily be understood. This is when the humor shows through. You may find yourself smiling a little at how real it is.

Some of the stories have a dark, evil side to them, which makes you think of the dark alleys, the damp, dim cellars, the evil thoughts that we all think at times. Ms. Lopez has written stories that are far from your usual horror stories. Many are so alike but Ms. Lopez doesn’t do that. She give you the outer most, the unusual and yet, they are sometimes stories you can picture as real. If you’re looking for a different kind of horror world, then enter Ms. Lopez’s world and it will become yours. But, this isn’t for the faint of heart nor the squeemish. So BEWARE!

Read the reviews for the collection and buy the book:

A selection of books by Lori R. Lopez

Read all the reviews and buy the books:

The third and final review today is by author Jena C. Henry who recommends Swaying the debut novel by Lucinda Blanchard.

About the book

Charlotte has one desire in life – she wants a daughter. But you can’t choose what you have… can you? Desire soon turns to obsession as Charlotte embarks on a difficult and controversial journey to sway the odds to have a girl. How far is she prepared to go, and at what cost?

The review by Jena C. Henry March 2017

Swaying is the debut novel for the author, Lucinda Blanchard. Well-written, captivating, well-plotted and paced, with full and rich characters- it’s everything readers want in a book. Whether readers are interested in the topic is a different matter.

To some, “swaying” may be controversial. Other people may see “swaying” as a natural option. “Swaying” may also be viewed as a farce, or a rip-off. Some readers may see the heroine, Charlotte as plucky, brave and determine. Once again, other readers may find Charlotte and her new friend Bella to be obsessed and even crazy.

If you don’t know, “swaying” is the idea that a woman and man can “sway” the gender of their child before it is conceived by modifying their diet and by using ovulation times, and even more advance medical procedures.

The protagonist Charlotte has always dreamed of having a girl. She wants to have the same relationship with her child, as she did with her mother. When we meet Charlotte, she has given birth to her first child, a son. She learns to love him, but her desire for a baby girl grows. Thanks to the internet, she learns about swaying and meets a local woman on one of the chat rooms who is swaying, too. At first, Charlotte’s husband Ian goes along with the swaying procedures, but he gets tired of the odd diet, and the microscope and lab equipment needed to monitor sperm. Charlotte becomes more and more engrossed with the project. Bella, her friend, will stop at nothing.

Readers- even if you are conflicted about swaying, this is a fascinating story about “gender disappointment” and how a choice or desire can change many lives. The author has written an intriguing story with characters that will remain in your head. The locale is the Isle of Wight and the many descriptive scenes made for a pleasurable read. This would be a great book for a book club to choose and discuss.

Find out more about Lucinda Blanchard and read all the many excellent reviews for Swaying at Amazon:

Thank you for dropping in today and please consider sharing these reviews on your own networks it would be appreciated.

If you have just received a great review and would like to share or are a book reviewer who would like to promote a review you have written, then please talk to me at thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – 20th March 2017 – Paul Andruss, Staci Troilo, Robert Marston Fanney, Annette Clark and Ed. A. Murray

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily

Doesn’t Monday come around quickly and here is the first of the Blogger Daily posts which is intended to promote bloggers. I tend to spend about an hour each day reading other bloggers posts and it is not nearly enough considering the great posts out there. However, here are just a handful which I think you will find interesting and if you would like to share your most recent post then please leave a link in the comments.

Thomas the Rhymer Paul Andruss

Writer in residence Paul Andruss has a very active and informative blog of his own and posts tales, legends and challenges our understanding of  everyday people, items around our homes and what other people tell us is true!

Unlike Otto Titzling, or even Herr Bustenhalter, the mythical inventors of the modern bra, Thomas Crapper was a real person; a plumber who opened a London bathroom fittings factory and warehouse in 1861. The quality of his porcelain ware gained him recognition in a rapidly modernising society. But it was the future Edward VI who cemented his reputation by asking him to fit the bathrooms in the newly purchased Sandringham House.

The Victorians were nothing if not social climbers and crashing snobs. What was good enough for the future king was good enough for them. Although having recently learned about the copious amounts of red meat in the upper class Edwardian diet, I think the certified robustness of Mr Crapper’s facilities must have also played a part in the choice.

Thomas Crapper is often credited with inventing the toilet.

Not true.

Read the rest of this toiletry revelation:

Staci Troilo with a post on various aspects of the review system on Amazon including the platform’s oversight on reviewers. Well worth reading.

I recently got a book review that I didn’t care for. It was a five-star review, but one of the comments was, in my opinion, way off the mark. Which got me thinking…

Why would the reviewer give the book five stars if it was lacking in some way?
Why are there not better criteria for reviews?
We need reviews as a mark of credibility, but how credible are the reviewers?

I’m not going to say which book of mine I mean or who reviewed it or what comment I didn’t like. I’m bringing all this up because I think we need to have a frank discussion about reviews. I knew I was taking that particular comment personally, so I decided to look at reviews of books I had no stake in. I looked at reviews of bestsellers. You know, books by household names that have hundreds of reviews.

Read the rest of the post:

As we welcome signs of spring there are certain parts of the United States who have experienced unprecedented summer temperatures in the last week or so which are having a critical effect on some states. Robert Marston Fanney takes a look at some of the outcomes of this unusual weather.

March Climate Madness — Wildfires, Scorching Summer Heat Strike Central and Southwestern U.S. By Winter’s End

In Colorado today the news was one of fire. There, a wildfire just south of Boulder had forced emergency officials to evacuate 1,000 residents as more than 2,000 others were put on alert Sunday. Smoke poured into neighborhoods as dead trees killed by invasive beetles or a developing drought, exploded into flames. Depleted snowpacks along the front range of the Rockies combined with temperatures in the 80s and 90s on Sunday to increase the fire risk. Thankfully, so far, there have been no reports of injuries or property loss. A relieving contrast to the massive fires recently striking Kansas, Texas and Oklahoma — where farmers and communities are still recovering.

Read the rest of the post:

As writers we treat commas dreadfully at times. We put the responsibility of making sense of our sentence and determining  the tone of our writing all upon this speck of print. The Story Reading Ape recommended this post today by Annette ClarkA Comma’s job security!

The comma stood on the corner, bleating, “Please, can someone help me? I know I belong somewhere, but I can’t quite remember where.”

Devon Taylor, copy editor, sat at the counter of the diner counter across the street and watched as passers-by skittered around the pitiful punctuation mark. They looked away determined to not notice it.

Devon (destined to become The Nib) couldn’t really blame them. Commas were notoriously slippery creatures. But there was something about this comma that made Devon think it was truly in trouble.

The editor set down the empty coffee cup and wandered across the street.

“What brings you to Conjunctionville?” Devon asked the punctuation mark.

Read the rest of the Comma’s tribulations:

For the final post this evening I have selected The quest to write the Great American Novel by author Ed A. Murray – I found it interesting as I was looking at the same question in relation to books written about the UK. All the epics that I read are set far back in history or follow families up to and during the second world war. But what do we classify as the Great British Novel now that we are so diverse in culture?  Answers on a postcard please!!  I do recommend you read this as you will also be introduced to Philipp Meyer and his two books American Rust and The Sun.

The elusive Great American Novel. You’ve heard the term. What does it mean to you? A masterful book by an American author? A story that tells a relatable tale to any American?

A few months ago I read an article in the New York Times called “Why There’s No ‘Millennial’ Novel.” The main argument, it seemed, was that America has become such a progressive and diverse country that there is no single voice that can speak for an entire generation. The author, Tony Tulathimutte, first argues that “the ‘voice of a generation’ novel never existed to begin with,” and then asks the question, “why did we ever pretend novels by straight white guys about straight white guys spoke for entire generations?”

This is a gross oversimplification. The Great American Novel exists.

Read the rest of this thought provoking post:

Don’t forget to let me know if you would like to share a recent post by putting the link in the comments section. Thanks Sally

Writer in Residence – Paul Andruss – Dorothy – My Gift from God


Dorothy – My Gift from God by Paul Andruss

Stevie Smith had her Lion Aunt. I had a work’s mum. Her name was Dorothy, which is Greek for ‘Gift of God’. Although at those times she was absolutely driving me up the wall, I could have sworn she was from a different place entirely.

Like many significant people, I cannot remember meeting her. Presumably it was day one at my new job. The first memory is Dorothy announcing I should treat her like a work’s mum. So it must have been after she’d found out she was the same age as my mother. Like mum she had her son, Paul, at the age of 23. He was a month younger than me.

At 5 foot 2, Dorothy was the same height as mum. Hard to believe as she always wore 6 inch stiletto heels. She once took her shoes off and for a horrible moment I thought the earth had opened up and swallowed her. ‘Even my slippers have heels,’ she confessed in that coy way of hers. ‘I can’t even walk in flats, they cripple me calves.’

And very shapely calves they were too Dorothy.

In fact all of Dorothy was shapely; and glamourous. Imagine if you can a mature Sophia Loren, beneath a huge pair of Nana Mouskouri glasses and a swept up lion’s mane gathered into a chignon at the neck. Lacquered to within an inch of its life, her hair added at least another 2 inches of height.

Her poitrine, as the French so delicately put it, was classic 60’s lift and separate; more suited to movies such as Gentlemen Prefer Blondes than a place of work. What an addition she would have made to those two little girls from Little Rock; the complementary red head to Russell’s brunette and Munroe’s blonde.

No man could resist Dorothy’s cheeky grin and winning ways. God knows I couldn’t, even when I could have cheerfully choked her. Like during the days she chattered all afternoon while I was desperate to get some work finished. Happily those days were few and far between – the days I would rather work than listen to her outrageous tales I mean.

My favourite was the Shirley Bassey concert when an admirer threw her a diamond bracelet. Best remembered for two James Bond themes ‘Goldfinger’ and ‘Diamonds are Forever’, Shirley Bassey didn’t just sing her songs; she lived them. Even down to crying on stage.

Dorothy skilfully pantomimed Bassey stopping; looking down in surprise; hand clutching trembling heart; picking up the token; holding the glittering bauble to a spotlight in admiration; her vehement protests and finally the reluctant acceptance. It was all probably staged but Dorothy bought the act hook, line and sinker. In much the same way I bought Dorothy’s performance. Tell you what, if Bassey had one tenth of Dorothy’s ability, I can see why she was so popular.

If men liked Dorothy, Dorothy liked men. She only tolerated other women; except for her sister and the mother she worshipped. Dorothy’s mum had been a small large woman; a homebody. Dorothy’s dad was a womaniser. Dorothy’s sister never forgave him for what he put her mum through, whereas Dorothy admired her old man.

She visited his sheltered accommodation twice a week, picking up shopping, doing his laundry, making sure he was eating and slipping him a few quid for a couple of pints and a flutter down the bookies on a Saturday afternoon. In many ways, she was the son he never had. She was certainly a chip off the old block.

Dorothy married quite young. Her husband had a serious accident when they were courting and I think it bought out her maternal side. Some years later, she met the second love of her life; Tom, a big strapping man’s man. It was love at first sight on both sides. He wanted them to run away together. But Dorothy was sensible. They both had families; kids. How could they ruin so many lives? In the end, she convinced him to do the right thing – a 25 year long affair.

I know what you are thinking, but actually I’m with Dorothy on this one. What the eye don’t see, the heart won’t grieve over. Dorothy prevented more heartache than she ever caused. And when she finally did break someone’s heart, it was not the one you think.

Dorothy and Tom’s magnificent obsession was worthy of F. Scott Fitzgerald; a love story to put Erich Segal in the shade. If love never means never having to say you’re sorry; then keep your gob shut. The only soul confession is good for, is a selfish soul. Leaving someone worse to make yourself feel better is not love. It is not even decency. Your guilt is your burden. Deal with it. If you can’t bear what you do then perhaps you shouldn’t do it.
On a lighter note, here is another remarkable coincidence. Just as I had the same name and was the same age as her son and she the same age as my mother, Tom’s wife was called Dorothy. Make of this, what you will.

Dot made me roar laughing with tales of Tom, who she ran as thoroughly as the rest of us poor dumb men. When they first started going out, she said to him. ‘If you think I’m carrying on in the back of your car you can think again!’ and made him book hotel rooms. When she realised how much it was costing him, she told him rent a small furnished flat as it was much cheaper, and it also saved the expense of nights out.

‘In the early days,’ she once confided, grinning, ‘I saw Tom three days a week, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Then it was my husband Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. I couldn’t wait for Sundays, I was bloody knackered. It was my only night off!’

When I knew Dorothy, they were down to Friday night in the flat and every lunch time. No, nothing so strenuous I’m afraid. Every day she brought sandwiches and a flask of coffee, which they would eat in his car with her chattering or, more often than not, arguing. There were no long comfortable silences with Dorothy. If it was his wife’s birthday, Christmas or an anniversary coming up, she’d take Tom up to town to pick out a card and present for his Dorothy – as she coyly referred to his wife.

After we’d worked together some dozen or so years, Dorothy contracted lymphoma and took early retirement due to ill health. On the day she finished work she came back from lunch and told me she’d broken up with Tom. She left this tough giant of a man crying in the car.

‘But Dorothy,’ I protested, ‘why…?’

‘I’m not sneaking out of the house behind my husband’s back!’

‘But …’

But nothing! Dorothy was implacable. She never saw Tom again.

I fared better. But then, I was her son. We kept in touch for all the years it took the cancer to finally kill her. The chemo hit her hard. It left her heart so weak, they couldn’t give her anymore. During that time I had moved away, so it was only phone calls, birthday and Christmas cards, and thank God for Interflora!

One day her husband phoned to say Dorothy had died. ‘She was a little old woman in the end,’ he told me. ‘You wouldn’t have recognised her.’

Stupid isn’t it. After all these years I’m still filling up. But you know what, I’m glad I never saw her. Dorothy was no little old woman. Dorothy was a glamazon, a monster, a fiend, a friend and a thoroughly guilty pleasure. She was also the woman who met me in the corridor one day as I was coming back from a meeting, took me in the office, sat me down, and said…

‘There’s just been a phone call love. It was your brother. Your mama’s dead.’

She offered me a cigarette (I’d just spent 6 months giving up) and a cup of tea; then held my hand waiting for whatever came next.

A few months later a colleague said Dorothy went into the general office as soon as I left and gave them a grisly blow by blow account, freely inventing those details she felt I had overlooked in my grief – such as wailing like a banshee. Maybe they wanted to get her into trouble, but I howled with laughter. How can you resent someone for being so totally and unashamedly themselves? Bloody Dot eh? What a liberty. I felt better than I had in weeks.

As a writer I realise that you can’t make up a character with as many contradictions as Dorothy. If she was in a novel there would be no room for anything else. And in the end I think that’s what this is all about. This remembrance is not just for my Dorothy, but all our Dorothys. For like it or lump it, one way or another, we are all friends of Dorothy.

I don’t know if there is an afterlife. But I do believe nobody really dies until they are forgotten. Though Dorothy was as seductive as Cleopatra and as frightening as Attila the Hun, history won’t remember her because history never knew her. In the great scheme of things she did nothing of note. And that goes for all our Dorothys. So if that’s the case, why are we now thinking of all the remarkable things they ever said or did?
©Paul Andruss 2017

Have you had a Dorothy in your life ?. I had one but she was called Betty and like Dorothy was actually quite tiny when she too off her six inch heels.. But she taught me a lot about life from the age of 14 when I started working in a souvenier kiosk along Southsea seafront until I was 18.   Once met never forgotten.. tell us your story in the comments.


Finn Mac Cool

About Paul Andruss

If I were a musician I would be Kate Bush or the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson; but without the mental issues or dependency on prescription drugs. For Brian not Kate! I can talk about anything except myself, so let’s talk about my work.

I’ve written 4 novels, Finn Mac Cool, and the (Harry-Potteresque) Jack Hughes Trilogy. ‘Finn Mac Cool’ and ‘Thomas the Rhymer’ are available for free download. Hint! Hint!

Thomas the RhymerAbout Thomas the Rhymer.

11 year old British schoolboy, Jack Hughes, sees a fairy queen kidnap his brother. With friends Catherine & Ken, Jack embarks on a whirlwind adventure to return Thomas the Rhymer to fairyland & rescue his brother

What’s been said about … Thomas the Rhymer

‘Fans of Harry Potter & Narnia will love Thomas the Rhymer’

‘Thomas the Rhymer leaves you feeling like a child curled up in a comfy armchair on a wet & windy afternoon, lost in a good book’

‘Spellbinding! An ideal Christmas read for young & old alike!’

Download Free from Paul’s website:

Connect to Paul

Facebook Page:

Please find the previous posts from Paul in this directory.. you won’t be disappointed.

My thanks to Paul for this wonderful story of a woman who knew how to make an impression and who once met would not be forgotten.

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – 6th March 2017 – Skin cancer, Bullies, Local History, Book Marketing, Book Reviewing

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily

Welcome to a selection of blog posts that I read over the weekend. To begin with a very important message from author Taylor Evan Fulks about skin cancer. Some of the photos are very graphic but that just intensifies this very important message.


Here is an extract from the post and I do urge you to head over and read it all.

I guess you could say I’m going for the shock factor…In my writing and in life, I believe that’s all this society understands. We’ve become so desensitized about everything, so, unless it’s in your face (no pun intended) people don’t get it.

Anyway, this post encompasses valuable information that may in fact, save your life or the life of someone you love. So I urge you to take a moment to read this, look at the pictures, then go and inspect your own body and/or the body of someone you care about.

Read the rest of this important message:

Thomas the Rhymer

If you are regular reader of the blog you will have seen that Paul Andruss is contributing exclusive articles that are proving very popular. In his spare time!!!  He also has a terrific blog of his own and today he shares another extract from his book Thomas the Rhymer that I am currently reading. This is a chapter that is also graced by one of Donata Zawadzka’s stunning illustrations.

Extract from Thomas the Rhymer – Chapter 6: Yesterday upon the Stair

Reaching the park Jack began to feel nervous in case the beautiful lady appeared, or worse, the tramp. Sensing his discomfort, Catherine was sympathetic, “Jack, we do not have to go this way.”

“What do you mean?” he asked defensively.

“Nobody would go all the way to Smithdown Road unless there was good reason. Sometimes they call me names. Once or twice they chased me. I know where they hang around now and avoid them.”

“It’s nothing like that!” he protested.

When she looked unconvinced, Jack kept his mouth shut. Not feeling up to persuading her otherwise, he let her take him through the park. It was not long before he heard some shouting, and wondering what it was all about looked back before she could stop him. Recognising a gang of older lads from school, he realised they were probably the very ones Catherine meant.

Read the rest of the extract and links to Download Thomas the Rhymer for FREE:


Read the reviews and buy the book:

Marsha Ingrao was approached to write a non-fiction book about her hometown Woodlake in California. Sceptical at first, little did she realise that it would turn into such a wonderful community project and successful publishing venture. Definitely worth reading if you are planning on writing a local history book. Recommended to me by Tina Frisco –

What Would You Do with an Email about a Possible Nonfiction Book Contract?

Who knows why I didn’t delete Ginny’s email on Wednesday, May 28, 2014. She asked me if I wanted a nonfiction book contract to write a book about Woodlake, CA. It sounded like a spam email. Did I want to write a nonfiction book? Did I want a successful blog? Did I want 1,000 more readers each month? Did I want to make $100,000 a year with my blog the first year?  Come on! Really?

Read the rest of this very interesting post:


Lucinda E. Clarke with a request for your opinion about book marketing. As she notes in this post today, we are inundated by expert opinion on how to market our books and also improve our blogging experience. But are we flogging a dead horse!

I have come to the following conclusion.

Not all books that hit the charts are good.

A lot of excellent books never sell.

You can become a NYT bestseller by targeting carefully and working the system.

What is the difference?

Marketing – which equals getting your book/s out there and VISIBLE, really VISIBLE.

Now before you read any further don’t think for a moment that I am whining. I applaud and admire those people who have the marketing skill. I may or may not write good books, depending on your point of view (you can see them below!) but I ain’t got the marketing skill, nor do I have the money to pay some person or organisation to do it for me. I cannot even railroad DH into doing any of it either. (you may say aaaah here)

I receive dozens of blogs each week telling me how only Facebook ads work, no, wait, it’s Amazon adds that do the trick.

Read the rest of this thought provoking post and add your views:


My TBR is leaning agains my bookshelves currently. Entirely my own fault as a bookshop both real and virtual is like a sweet shop to a chocoholic.. (I am one of those as well but for another day).. I have had to turn down several requests to review books recently. I hate to offend but I have chosen to promote authors in a different way by showcasing them and their books in my various blog series. I have made a commitment to read those books currently on my TBR albeit a little slowly and they will appear from time to time.

Rosie Amber tackles the issue of requests for book reviews in her post. Much of what Rosie highlights also applies to those requesting book promotions.

Do you keep submitting your books to bloggers, but are yet to have them reply with a ‘yes, I’d be happy to review it?’. Book bloggers do get snowed under, and sometimes state on their blogs that they’re currently closed for submissions. What if this is not the case, though, but you still keep getting a ‘thanks, but no thanks’, or no reply at all?

Find out what those ten reasons might be:

I hope that you have enjoyed the first Blogger Daily of the week and please feel free to include the link to your latest post in the comments section. Thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – 3rd March 2017 – Gratitude, Ziggy Stardust, Spam emails, Tailorbirds and World Book Day

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily

Welcome to today’s selection of blog posts that I would like to share with you.


The first post is one that made me realise that I am very lucky to have never faced leaving a young family behind because of illness. Only adding to the horrendous stress of facing a life-threatening disease, not once but three times.. This was posted by Patricia Salamone yesterday and I think will make us all give thanks.


I lay in the hospital bed at Columbia Presbyterian in New York. It is ten thirty pm., and the nurses continue to give me enemas to clean out my colon. I can barely walk at this point and tell the nurse this is the last one. I feel like my legs won’t last another trip to the bathroom. The enemas stop and I am left with my thoughts about tomorrow morning. Will it be the last morning for me, will I never see my children again or my family for that matter. I left instructions with my husband and my sisters, they were trying to encourage me but with tears in their eyes. My children were four, nine and eleven. They needed me.

Read the rest of this thought provoking post:

Thomas the Rhymer

For those of you who enjoyed the blog sitting posts by Paul Andruss, here is a post from his own blog that fans of 1960s music and David Bowie with enjoy. An intimate, behind the scenes, story of the rise and fall of Ziggy Stardust. Here is the link to part one that I suggest you read first.

America was not going well for Ziggy and the Spiders. The major cities took them to heart. They performed sell out concerts at New York’s Radio City Music Hall and Santa Monica (broadcast by a local radio station, it became one of the era’s most desired bootlegs). Yet Middle-America proved harder to break. Concerts were poorly attended.

Shows at Dallas, Houston and Oklahoma City were cancelled because of poor ticket sales. At St Louis there were 180 people in an 11,000 capacity hall – calling them down to the front David delighted fans with an intimate chatty performance. Seattle saw only 400 and Phoenix 200. In Phoenix David played ‘Drive in Saturday’ for the first time. This was his follow-up single for Mott the Hoople. He had already presented them with ‘All the Young Dudes’, giving them a huge hit.

Read the rest of the post:


Next a problem that many bloggers face when someone feels that they can take advantage of your work and branding to aid their own. Debby Gies tackles the unsolicited emails from strangers implying a love for your blog and a desire to be a part of it.  I get particularly irritated when people email without using my name which is clearly prominent on my blog and posts. A giveaway that they have never been near it. Thankfully 99% of those who do contact me are bonafide and not a problem but recently I had a very persistent approach from a guy who would not take no for an answer.  Here are some elements to look out for courtesy of Debby.

I’ve noticed in these part 6 months as I began my author guest post series and after being invited to other writer’s blogs to guest appear that my website had garnered a lot more attention. This has been great, but like everything else in this world of technology, when more people become aware of our blogs, we also tend to attract more attention from spammers and/or people requesting to be on our blogs. 

Read the rest of this useful post:

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily

I am drawn to photography blogs especially when they feature images of nature. With our worldwide Internet we have access to the wonders of nature across the globe and here is a new blog to me. Aditya Singh has some amazing bird posts.

About the Tailorbird

It has a rosy crown, red eyes, its beak is long and curved, the body is greenish from above with greyish brown wings and the underbody is whitish. The tail is long and it grows longer in the breeding season.

Behavior: It eats tiny insects that dwell under leaves and in the bushes. I have even seen one clinging on to a stone wall / concrete wall and picking insects from the tiny crevices with millimeter precision.

Find out more about this beautiful little bird:

Jessica Norrie

And now a Friday regular contributor.. Jessica Norrie with her thoughts on World Book Day this week.  We had something similar at school 50 years ago which involved swapping our favourite book with a classmate and keeping for a week and writing an essay.. No costumes but some interesting reads.

I support everything World Book Day stands for. Who wouldn’t want to support reading, advance literacy, encourage authors and readers, swell the book borrowing and buying audience of all ages and races? Do you sense a BUT coming? It’s only a small one.

 The schools I taught in and the ones where my children went celebrated World Book Day. One way to do this was by inviting the children and staff to dress up. (Fortunately for you, ex colleagues, I’ve lost the photos.) For me as a parent it was, mostly, fun deciding with the children who they would dress up as, how to put together the costumes, working out the inevitable challenges (Babar’s ears, Pirate Pete’s parrot). Some of that time I was working from home as a translator; at others I had access to my own school library and stationery cupboard which clearly did make my challenge easier. Even so, making a costume at home, if the school gives you enough notice, is not usually difficult.

 Find out more and share you thoughts on World Book Day:

Thanks for stopping by and I am sure you will enjoy reading the full posts of these talented bloggers. Please remember to leave the link for your most recent post in the comments. Thanks Sally