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


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

About Bubba’s Tails

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

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

One of the reviews for Bubba’s Tails

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

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

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

Also by Patty Fletcher

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

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

Patty has also contribute to two anthologies

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

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

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

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

About  Songs of Heartstrings

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

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

A recent review for the collection

Songs of Heartstrings: Poems of Gratitude and Beatitude,” is a journey into the mind of a woman who has found her voice in this world through her poetry. Hurdle splits the book into poetic songs categorized by Nature, Dissonance, Physical Healing, Marriage, Parenthood, Tribute, Reflection, Challenge, and Inspiration. These categories lead the reader on a path to understanding her life through times of joy and sorrow. Her photos and artwork are stunning and compliment her poetry. For me, reading poetry is like walking beside the poet and stepping into their footsteps, connecting with their experiences in a deeper realm of being. Reading poetry is subjective, so I judge most poetry by how it invokes emotions within me and how it makes me reflect on my own human condition. The poem, “Healing,” touched a deep chord within me. Yet, there were so many more connections I experienced. I received this book as a gift from a dear friend. That’s the kind of book this is, one to be shared with others, and to be reread many times. MY RATING: Character Believability: 5 Flow and Pace: 5 Reader Engagement: 5 Reader Enrichment: 5 Reader Enjoyment: 5 Overall Rate: 5 out of 5 Stars 

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

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

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

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

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

About Promised Soul

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

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

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

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

One of the recent reviews for Promised Soul

Romance ficton on October 23, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

Will she figure it out before she loses her mind?

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

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

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

Also by Sandra J. Jackson

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

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

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

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

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

About The Prince’s Man

Think ‘James Bond meets Lord of the Rings’

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

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

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

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

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

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

One of the recent reviews for the book

Oct 05, 2018 Erth rated it really liked it  · 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Smorgasbord Poetry – Guest Poet – Celtic Roots by Joy Lennick


Delighted to welcome author and poet Joy Lennick as a guest again with a poem celebrating her Celtic heritage.

Celtic Roots by Joy Lennick

Little, then…did I know, when quietly –
on tippy-toe –
hardly breathing les’ I missed
call of cuckoo –
sight through mist…
of shy rabbit, other nature-kissed…
wonders of ‘my’ wood –
that Druids many years ago,armed with golden sickles,
harvested the mistletoe
from nearby sacred woods.

Little, then…did I know, when noisily –
with jug in hand –
picked fruit, ripe and fat,
juicy, luscious, almost black;
carefree, happy, sun on back,
mesmerized with my task –
that, long ago, warrior bands
fought and bloodied, raped this pleasant land:
Land of my mother

©Joy Lennick

About Joy Lennick

Having worn several hats in my life: wife, mum, secretary, shop-keeper, hotelier; my favourite is the multi-coloured author’s creation. I am an eclectic writer: diary, articles, poetry, short stories and five books. Two books were factual, the third as biographer: HURRICANE HALSEY (a true sea adventure), fourth my Memoir MY GENTLE WAR and my current faction novel is THE CATALYST. Plenty more simmering…

A selection of books by Joy Lennick

One of the reviews for My Gentle War

May 23, 2014 Pat Mcdonald rated it really liked it

Aptly titled, this is a delightful little book, that tells the story of one child’s experience of war and evacuation. It brought back so many memories for me, not of that time period, but of my childhood. So many wonderful similarities around the characters – e.g my grandmother cut and buttered bread in the same fashion. I found myself enchanted by this period in history and descriptions of the blitz and how people survived it in a compelling an human way. Loved it!  

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Joy-Lennick/e/B00J05CJLY/

And on Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Joy-Lennick/e/B00J05CJLY

Find all the books, read other reviews and follow Joy on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3124773.Joy_Lennick

Connect to Joy

Blog: https://joylennick.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/joy.lennick

Thank you for dropping in today and I am sure that Joy would love to receive your feedback. Thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Sunday Interview – Getting to Know You with Dorinda Duclos


It is my pleasure to welcome Dorinda Duclos to the blog, and I look forward to getting to know her a little better. Apart from enjoying her published collections, you can find wonderful poetry on her blog. Here is one of her recent posts: Evening Delight

First here is the official biography…….

About Dorinda Duclos

Dorinda Duclos is a writer of poetry, sharing her life experiences in verse. She is also the author of the blog, Night Owl Poetry, and has amassed a following of fellow poets, writers and artists, and is highly recognized in social media. She is a member of the Poetry Society of America and the Academy of American Poets, as well as a guest writer on PoetsCornerBlog.wordpress.com

She was also involved in “Poets for Peace”, a collaboration of poems from poets around the world. This collaboration is now archived in the ‘Stanford University Archive’ of the ‘100,000 Poets for Change’ collection!

A wife and mother of two, Dorinda makes her home in northern New Jersey, surrounded by wildlife, and nature’s beauty, all inspiration for her poetry.

Her books include: #Seasons – Autumn Haiku Book One”, “Dark is the night – A Poetry Chapbook”, “Passages and Paths – A Journey of Life through Poetry” – “How Shall I Dream – A Collection of Poetic Musings” – “A Flight of Imagination” (Realm of Fantasy) – “A Flight of Imagination (Illusion of Fantasy) -“A Flight of Imagination” (Spirit of Fantasy) – “Pieces of Life – A Poetry Collection” – “Marrow of the Soul” and “Night Owl Poetry”.

I will share more about Dorinda’s books after the interview but now to find out which questions she has selected to answer.

Sally, thank you so much for giving me this opportunity to tell you a little about myself and my likes and dislikes. I do hope you enjoy what you read.

You are very welcome Dorinda, and perhaps you can tell us what is the one ambition that you still have not achieved?

Finishing my WIP. It has been well over a year, and as some may tell you, I’m a procrastinator. It stems from a lack of self-confidence. I always question myself as to why I’m actually doing something. For those who “suffer” like this, it’s hard to accept a compliment from others without wondering if they’re just being nice. We never seem to realize, or I should say I, that they are very sincere in what they say. But, I am working on that aspect of my life. It’s a slow go at 57, but I keep reminding myself, the turtle won the race. As for my WIP, titled “Devil’s Pond”, I am hoping to finish it up over the summer/early autumn. Then it’s editing time, getting feedback, and hoping for the best outcome any author dreams of. Hearing someone say, “Wow, this is really good!” (Hopefully, I’ll believe them!)

Here is a synopsis of the book:

They were inseparable. Five young friends whose sense of adventure usually got them into trouble. This time was no different. Venturing out into what would turn out to be a stormy night, they headed for an area they were told was off limits. The sand lot was a forbidden place, a place no one spoke of, where no one dared step foot on, until now. Intrigue ruled out over warnings and a game of hide and seek commenced. Until one remained hidden.

As the storm bears down on them, they run, frightened for themselves and their missing friend. Not caring about the consequences that would await them, they quickly gather their parents to explain. But something is wrong. Baffled, the children wonder why Father Tom is the one to arrive first. Why isn’t anyone calling the police? How will their friend ever be found? And what price will they pay for getting too close to Devil’s Pond?

What is your favourite TV show and why?

This is an easy one for me. “Blue Bloods”. I believe the draw is the whole family life. While they are policemen, or prosecutors, or just the children and Pop, they are human. They experience things the same way any other family might. The icing on the cake, the Reagan family dinner!! How I would love to be a guest at that table. The words of wisdom imparted on everyone is inspiring. Yes, I know it’s a scripted show, but someone has these thoughts, right? Plus, I’ve always loved Tom Selleck, from his Magnum PI days, through Las Vegas and now Blue Bloods. I guess you could say I’m a fan! The fact that the show takes place in NYC makes it that much better. Growing up in Brooklyn, then later in NJ, I can relate to the places where the show is filmed.

Sally Here: It just so happens that I am a huge Tom Selleck fan and have watched all the Magnum P.I. series and Blue Bloods… so for both of us here is Tom in action in a film that I enjoyed too… courtesy of Movieclips

Do you prefer the big city or country life?

This is a tricky one. I love the city, the lights, the people, the atmosphere, but only sometimes. I’m not one to go into New York every weekend, jumping from hot spot to hot spot. If I go in, it’s a concert, or the zoo. There is always a plan or specific reason. On the other hand, the country can be quite serene and calming, depending upon where you are.

My ultimate place to be is the mountains, preferably the Poconos. I can’t get enough of the beautiful lakes and mountains throughout. Breathing in the clean air, communing with nature, that’s my kind of life. We, hubby and I, usually spend vacations there, but haven’t been in a couple of years. This just may trigger a desire, or more of a need, to make vacation plans.

Are you a morning person or a night person?

I never was and never shall be a morning person! I love the night. It’s how my blog got its name, Night Owl Poetry. I write in the wee hours. I find I have more inspiration in the night. Shadows grow, and I can always see something in them. It fascinates me to no end. My poetry leans towards the darker sides of life. As a child, I was victim to domestic violence (not physically, but it left emotional scars), and my daughter is a domestic violence survivor. I will draw from that, and become the voice of the so many who cannot speak for themselves. And while I try to find the light in other writings, the dark will always be my best friend. As sad as that may sound, it is also comforting, as it is a way for me to release the demons I’ve kept inside for so many years.

I am also a sky watcher. I look for the planets, the constellations, and mostly the moon. My second love, after writing, is photography. I adore taking pictures of the moon, being able to see the craters and wondering what it might be like to live there. I’d love to visit the footsteps of the first astronauts, and snap a photo of the American flag. Can you imagine being able to look down on Earth, with the swirls of clouds and the blues of the oceans? I envy the astronauts on the ISS. I never gave a thought to becoming an astronaut, for two reasons. I am claustrophobic and I have a fear of heights. So I will remain on Earth, feet planted on the ground, and watch the dazzling night show above me, every chance I get.

Sally here: I found this lovely video which shows a starry night in the skies above Malaysia courtesy of gradient lok

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

Yes! To both. I played the clarinet for 4 years, in elementary school. It could account for being long winded at times. My parent bought me a guitar, so I taught myself, with Kenny Rogers’ “Quick pickin’, fun strummin’” lessons. It was a great feeling of accomplishment, that I was able to do something on my own. However, I can no longer play due to the after effects of Transverse Myelitis. It left me with minimal use of my left hand and part of my right. I can still type, so I can write, but I sometimes lose the feeling, so pressing a chord, as well as letters on the keyboard, is impossible. My only musical regret is that I wish I had learned the piano. My mom and my husband played, and now there are two pianos collecting dust. It’s kind of sad to look at.

In 4th grade, I had a duet in the spring concert with my friend Mary Jane. It was a wonderful experience. I again had a duet part in 5th grade, not as memorable. I was a member in a rock band that never got off the ground due to conflicting personalities.

Now my only singing engagements are in the shower, or in my car, listening to the radio, which recently has died. I’m hoping it’s just a fuse. Otherwise, I’ll really be singing to compensate for the silence. I’m pretty sure my family will be wearing ear plugs! I have tried karaoke, once, but never had the desire to do it again. Now I go to listen to my friends. I enjoy that more. If I had the opportunity to sing again, I would most likely turn it down. This is due to a hearing loss in both ears, but worse in the left. I can’t always hear when I hit a sour note! But you can bet I’m told 😆

My thanks to Dorinda for sharind so much about her life and experiences and I am only sorry that I couldn’t find a video on YouTube of her singing for you……..But, we do have Dorinda’s extensive collection of books to enjoy…

A selection of books by Dorinda Duclos

About Night Owl Poetry

Poet and author Dorinda Duclos shares her life experiences and thoughts, with you, through her poetry. In this book, you’ll find love, life, fantasy, fiction, sorrow and happiness. A vast view of one woman’s vision of the world surrounding us.

One of the reviews for the collection.

I purchased a copy of the Night Owl Poetry for myself to read in the morning time when I am reading on the sofa while also enjoying drinking my vanilla latte. I find that all of the poems inside this book were wonderfully written and the poems focus towards the young adults to adult readers. She has a variety of poetry in her book, but my favorites are “Believe,” “Daddy’s Little Girl,” and “The Cherry Tree Haiku.” Those poems stood out the most to me and were the most meaningful to me in my life right now. Thank you for writing such a lovely poetry book and I will be sure to share this with others.

All the books including signed copies can be purchased through Dorinda’s website: Book Page

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Dorinda-Duclos/e/B00LE97O5K

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dorinda-Duclos/e/B00LE97O5K

Read more reviews and follow Dorinda on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8405193.Dorinda_Duclos

Connect to Dorinda

Blog: https://dorindaduclos.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dorindaduclosauthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/dorindaduclos
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thenightowlpoet/

Thank you very much for dropping in today and I am sure that Dorinda would love to receive your comments and your questions… thanks Sally

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New on the Shelves – Timeless Echoes – #Poetry by Balroop Singh


Delighted to share the news of the latest release by Balroop SinghTimeless Echoes, Poetry for young adults and teens, released on June 30th.

About Timeless Echoes

Certain desires and thoughts remain within our heart, we can’t express them, we wait for the right time, which never comes till they make inroads out of our most guarded fortresses to spill on to the pages of our choice. This collection is an echo of that love, which remained obscure, those yearnings that were suppressed, the regrets that we refuse to acknowledge. Many poems seem personal because they are written in first person but they have been inspired from the people around me – friends and acquaintances who shared their stories with me.

Some secrets have to remain buried because they are ours
We do share them but only with the stars
The tears that guarded them were as precious as flowers
Soothing like balm on festering scars.

While there are no boxes for grief and joy, some persons in our life are more closely associated with these emotions. Their separation shatters us, their memories echo, we grieve but life does not stagnate for anyone…it is more like a river that flows despite the boulders. When imagination and inspiration try to offer solace, poetry that you are about to read springs forth.

Head over and buy the collection: https://www.amazon.com/Timeless-Echoes-Balroop-Singh-ebook/dp/B07F1VVJK7/

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Timeless-Echoes-Balroop-Singh-ebook/dp/B07F1VVJK7/

Also by Balroop Singh

A review for Emerging from the Shadows

In a topsy-turvy world where people grapple to make sense of the events around them, they look to literature for a moment of reflection. Poetry by Balroop Singh helps clear the chaos by making life easier to navigate, find, and feel cheerful about.

In The Secret of Being Alive, she writes, “sharp shards of shattered emotions, pierce as I try to gather those sensations, wilderness walks with me; yet a dim, discrete light beckons” – has such spunk, that last shred commanding us to hang on to hope, not rope, as the first step. And, no matter how glossy the outside world looks, there’s always a struggle “beneath that beauty lie broken dreams, beneath that smile recline unspoken words,” which she pens in When Darkness Deepens. What she does in How Can I Thank You? “The dazzling rays of sun, had to pierce through you, to reach me, while the moonlight was all mine,” is pure enchantment.

So many pearls of unalloyed magic glisten in Emerging from Shadows, worth visiting and revisiting. Anyone can externalize, but if one wishes to internalize in a world where emotions are fast dying, grab a copy of this book. Now.

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Balroop-Singh/e/B00N5QLW8U

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Balroop-Singh/e/B00N5QLW8U

Read more reviews and follow Balroop on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7340810.Balroop_Singh

About Balroop Singh

Balroop Singh, a former teacher, an educationalist, a blogger, a poet and an author always had a passion for writing. The world of her imagination has a queer connection with realism. She could envision the images of her own poetry while teaching the poems. Her dreams saw the light of the day when she published her first book: ‘Sublime Shadows Of Life.’ She has always lived through her heart.

She is a great nature lover; she loves to watch birds flying home. The sunsets allure her with their varied hues that they lend to the sky. She can spend endless hours listening to the rustling leaves and the sound of waterfalls. She lives in Danville, California.

Connect to Balroop Singh.

Blog: http://balroop2013.wordpress.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/BalroopShado
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Emotional-Shadows/151387075057971
Google: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+BalroopSinghsrao/posts
Pinteresthttps://www.pinterest.com/balroops/

 

 

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Getting to Know You…Author, poet and book reviewer Balroop Singh


Welcome to this week’s Getting to Know you interview and this week my special guest is author, poet, book reviewer and blogger Balroop Singh.  Balroop is a wonderful supporter of other writers and I have been delighted to share her insightful and constructive reviews for authors in the Cafe and Bookstore. Balroop has also shared some of her wonderful poetry here over the last two years.

Before we discover which five questions Balroop has opted to answer, here is a little more about her… and I will share details of her books at the end of the post.

About Balroop Singh

Balroop Singh, a former teacher, an educationalist, a blogger, a poet and an author always had a passion for writing. The world of her imagination has a queer connection with realism. She could envision the images of her own poetry while teaching the poems. Her dreams saw the light of the day when she published her first book: ‘Sublime Shadows Of Life.’ She has always lived through her heart.

She is a great nature lover; she loves to watch birds flying home. The sunsets allure her with their varied hues that they lend to the sky. She can spend endless hours listening to the rustling leaves and the sound of waterfalls. She lives in Danville, California.

Welcome to Getting to Know You Balroop and perhap you could let us know if you prefer the big city or country life?

I have lived in a big city all my life and therefore seem to be tired of it. I chose a big city due to good schools, competitive class spirit and better learning opportunities for my children and have no regrets for having spent more than half of my life in a big city. Once again, when choices were thrown open to me I chose a big city, this time again for my own selfish reasons – to stay in the same vicinity, to remain in touch with my children and grandchildren. I love country life as it has its own charm but it wears off after a few days just like the grandeur of staying near a ski spot wanes.

What does it take to make you angry?

Anger has been my closest companion; I have seen it unfold before my eyes… sometimes admiring it silently when I saw how much power it could unleash! I don’t believe in suppressing anger as my culture advocates, especially for women because nobody could ever explain to me why men have all the freedom to be angry and why women are expected to be calm.

Each ounce of my blood revolts against injustice, gender bias, discrimination, diktats of tradition, human apathy towards intolerance and I had impulsively learnt to vent my anger…giving it back instantly. I have mellowed down with time and age.

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

One of my friends gave me this recipe and I am proud of this dish because each time I had to host a party or contribute a dish to pot luck, everybody expected me to cook this dish till it became ‘Aunt’s special chicken,’ as children nicknamed it and devoured it fondly.

Nobody knew how easy it was! I have never used any measuring cups or spoons. So I am sharing it without professional details.

  • Cut 1 pound of chicken into small pieces.
  • Make a puree of 5 tomatoes, one green chillie, some garlic and ginger according to your taste and dip the chicken in it.
  • Sprinkle cumin, black pepper and salt.
  • Cover the pan with a lid and let it cook in its own juices for half an hour on medium heat.
  • If you want a little curry, switch the gas off when tender or let it simmer till it is dry.
  • You can add some yoghurt to make a rich curry and cook it for five more minutes.

No oil or water required! No frying! Most healthy!

Where is your favourite holiday destination and why?

One of the finest heritage hotels in Himachal Pradesh, (India) The Palace Hotel in Chail, surrounded by the forests of chir pine and gigantic deodars has been our holiday destination for almost 30 years.

This palace was built as a summer retreat by the Maharaja of Patiala but is now is a dream resort, where one can relax in the elegant lawns and just look at the majestic peaks of mountains, listen to the whisper of pines, go for romantic walks, sit at the ‘lover’s hill,’ enjoy a glass of wine at the royal bar and eat at their finest dining room.

The splendour of the royal rooms has been maintained quite well. We have been missing our destination holdays since we came here.

Sally here:  I have found a video on Chail and its amazing surroundings and I can understand why Balroop enjoyed her visits so much.

Describe the strangest dream you’ve ever had.

I am sharing a poem that I had written about my strangest dream:

THE DELUGE

The stage was set…in the house of my dreams
All of us dressed in our finery
Around the stage…some celebrations…
Happy faced gleamed
Echoing excitement of meeting each other

Suddenly, water gushed towards me
And I was alone… safe though
I knew I could escape this deluge
Taking a new route
Cycling my way out

The path seemed endless…
Waiting for the water to recede
I found some new friends
Making merry at a strange place
Some faces seemed familiar

Old secrets were shared
But I couldn’t understand a word
Am I in an alien land?
Is it my imagination?
Or my soul wandering to new places?

Why am I here?
Water drowned us all
Oh no! I was marooned
All alone but awake and comforted
By the thought – what a weird dream!
© Balroop Singh.

Books by Balroop Singh

A review for Emerging from the Shadows

In a topsy-turvy world where people grapple to make sense of the events around them, they look to literature for a moment of reflection. Poetry by Balroop Singh helps clear the chaos by making life easier to navigate, find, and feel cheerful about.

In The Secret of Being Alive, she writes, “sharp shards of shattered emotions, pierce as I try to gather those sensations, wilderness walks with me; yet a dim, discrete light beckons” – has such spunk, that last shred commanding us to hang on to hope, not rope, as the first step. And, no matter how glossy the outside world looks, there’s always a struggle “beneath that beauty lie broken dreams, beneath that smile recline unspoken words,” which she pens in When Darkness Deepens. What she does in How Can I Thank You? “The dazzling rays of sun, had to pierce through you, to reach me, while the moonlight was all mine,” is pure enchantment.

So many pearls of unalloyed magic glisten in Emerging from Shadows, worth visiting and revisiting. Anyone can externalize, but if one wishes to internalize in a world where emotions are fast dying, grab a copy of this book. Now.

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Balroop-Singh/e/B00N5QLW8U

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Balroop-Singh/e/B00N5QLW8U

Read more reviews and follow Balroop on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7340810.Balroop_Singh

Connect to Balroop Singh.

Blog: http://balroop2013.wordpress.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/BalroopShado
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Emotional-Shadows/151387075057971
Google: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+BalroopSinghsrao/posts
Pinteresthttps://www.pinterest.com/balroops/

My thanks to Balroop for sharing her poetry, favourite holiday destination, love of the city, delicious recipe.. and what makes her angry. It has been fascinating to find out more about this lovely supportive writer. I am sure she would love to answer your questions..

If you would like to participate in this series of the Sunday shows.. here are the details and also my efforts at answering five questions. https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/04/22/the-new-series-of-the-smorgasbord-sunday-interview-geting-to-know-you-and-i-will-go-first/

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Get Caught Reading Month – Writers who have inspired me – Dorothy Parker


Welcome to the third in my Get Caught Reading Month posts…this week a woman with an acerbic wit and who could write the most beautiful poetry. Whilst appearing to be this witty and sophisticated woman of her times, there is an element of poignancy and vulnerability present in her work, that makes it all the more appealing.

If I was able to invite guests who are no longer with us to a dinner party, Dorothy Parker would definitely be one of them.

I was given a copy of The Penquin Dorothy Parker nearly 40 years ago as a parting gift from a very good friend. I still have it on the shelves next to my desk and will often reach out and browse for half an hour or so to get my writing mojo back.

The book contains stories and poems published in 1944… in the blurb it says ” Beneath her carapace of electrifying wit which reflected so brilliantly the age she lived in, was a woman for whom happiness was, at best, precarious”.

There are some wonderful quotes

“The first thing I do in the morning is brush my teeth and sharpen my tongue.”
Dorothy Parker

“I don’t know much about being a millionaire, but I’ll bet I’d be darling at it.”
Dorothy Parker

That would be a good thing for them to cut on my tombstone: Wherever she went, including here, it was against her better judgment.
Dorothy Parker

“A hangover is the wrath of grapes.”
Dorothy Parker

Although her essays and short stories are a joy to read, It is her poetry that I have enjoyed the most. Including these two.

The Little Old Lady In Lavender Silk

I was seventy-seven, come August,
I shall shortly be losing my bloom;
I’ve experienced zephyr and raw gust
And (symbolical) flood and simoom.

When you come to this time of abatement,
To this passing from Summer to Fall,
It is manners to issue a statement
As to what you got out of it all.

So I’ll say, though reflection unnerves me
And pronouncements I dodge as I can,
That I think (if my memory serves me)
There was nothing more fun than a man!

In my youth, when the crescent was too wan
To embarrass with beams from above,
By the aid of some local Don Juan
I fell into the habit of love.

And I learned how to kiss and be merry- an
Education left better unsung.
My neglect of the waters Pierian
Was a scandal, when Grandma was young.

Though the shabby unbalanced the splendid,
And the bitter outmeasured the sweet,
I should certainly do as I then did,
Were I given the chance to repeat.

For contrition is hollow and wraithful,
And regret is no part of my plan,
And I think (if my memory’s faithful)
There was nothing more fun than a man!

and another that is one of my favourites

War Song – 1944

Soldier, in a curious land,
All across a swaying sea,
Take her smile and lift her hand –
Have no guilt of me.

Soldier, when were soldiers true?
If she’s kind and sweet and gay,
Use the wish I send to you –
Lie not lone till day!

Only, for the nights that were,
Soldier, and the dawns that came,
When in sleep you turn to her
Call her by my name.

You can buy this book in paperback: https://www.amazon.com/Penguin-Dorothy-Parker/dp/0140044515

Some other books by Dorothy Parker most of which are second hand.

You can buy them here: https://www.amazon.com/Dorothy-Parker/e/B000APXYO4

Find out more about her books and quotes: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/24956.Dorothy_Parker

About Dorothy Parker

Dorothy Parker (née Rothschild; August 22, 1893 – June 7, 1967) was an American poet, writer, critic, and satirist, best known for her wit, wisecracks, and eye for 20th-century urban foibles.

From a conflicted and unhappy childhood, Parker rose to acclaim, both for her literary output in publications such as The New Yorker and as a founding member of the Algonquin Round Table. Following the breakup of the circle, Parker traveled to Hollywood to pursue screenwriting. Her successes there, including two Academy Award nominations, were curtailed when her involvement in left-wing politics led to a place on the Hollywood blacklist.

Discover more about her life story: Dorothy Parker – Wikipedia

I hope you have enjoyed learning more about the writers who have inspired me and would love to hear who your literary heroes are. Thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Poetry – Dorothy Cronin (1949 – 2006) – Her poem ‘Immortality’


It is 12 years since our family lost a dear and much loved mother, daughter, sister, aunt and friend. She is still missed. I originally shared this at Easter 2014….

‘Immortality’ by Dorothy Cronin

Immortality

Those I have loved
Flow gently around me
In the scent of flowers:
Here a compassionate rose,
Here woodbine,
Here the sweet scent of clove carnations.
Temper them with the sound
Of crickets in hot grass,
Of a lark above crumbling cliffs,
Of the whisper and crash of the sea
And I am part
Of the Maker’s heartbeat.

 

©Dorothy Cronin Rainbows in Amber 2007

About Dorothy Cronin by David Cronin

Dorothy was always a prolific writer, and in the introduction to an earlier collection she wrote … “As long as I can remember, words and the rhythms of speech have fascinated me. I was drawn early into reading poetry, but did not begin to write poetry until I was 13. I was instantly hooked, and, through dry and fertile periods, have remained so…” She has produced some wonderful work since then, and this collection holds just a few of these jewels.

In the year before her untimely death, in April 2006, Dorothy and I had discussed the publication of a collection of her poetry, and she was in the process of selecting poems and creating a number of short, themed groups for publication. Unfortunately, that process was cut short and we shall never know her final choices. However, this collection comes mainly from her own personal favourites.

I believe that anyone who reads these poems cannot fail to be moved: be it to tears, laughter or just a wry smile. They show a keen observation of the world she lived in; a profound insight into the people about her; the perception to find beauty in the simplest of things; and above all, the ability to encapsulate a moment of feeling in a package of words.

My one regret is that she is not here to see the impact that her words will have.

I will be sharing a number of Dorothy’s poems during April in tribute to a remarkable woman and friend.

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – Things you should know about your characters by The Story Reading Ape


Chris the Story Reading Ape shares a very useful checklist on things you should know about the character your have created.

Things you should know about your characters by The Story Reading Ape

These are what I would consider to be the most basic, bare-bones questions of character creation.

  • What would completely break your character?
  • What was the best thing in your character’s life?
  • What was the worst thing in your character’s life?
  • What seemingly insignificant memories stuck with your character?
  • Does your character work so that they can support their hobbies or use their hobbies as a way of filling up the time they aren’t working?
  • What is your character reluctant to tell people?
  • How does your character feel about sex?
  • How many friends does your character have?
  • How many friends does your character want?
  • What would your character make a scene in public about?
  • What would your character give their life for?
  • What are your character’s major flaws?
  • What does your character pretend or try to care about?
  • How does the image your character tries to project differ from the image they actually project?
  • What is your character afraid of?
  • What is something most people in your setting do that your character things is dumb?
  • Where would your character fall on a politeness/rudeness scale?

From The Right Writing on Tumblr

©Story Reading Ape 2014.

About The Story Reading Ape

It does not matter if you blog once a week, once a day or several times a day but it does matter that it is consistent. We all love the fact that people who have dropped in on the off chance keep coming back for more. In my opinion it is down to the quality of the posts and also the expectation that readers will find something of interest.

The Story Reading Ape has this down to a fine art and the list of subjects that adorn his enclosure is lengthy. He is certainly a huge supporter of Indie authors across all genres and stages of their career and offers articles and information that is invaluable.

Chris has also published a volume of his mother’s poetry

One of the recent reviews for the collection

I have always loved to read poetry and I do favour well written rhyming poetry as I enjoy the way it flows and how the words roll off your tongue when they are spoken. In my opinion, poetry is meant to be read aloud with passion and expression.

My vibrating vertebrae and other poems is a collection of delightful, rhyming poems that fall into this category. The collection features poems about people discovering inner strength, courage and overcoming adversity as well as delighting in the small pleasures and joys of everyday life in Ireland, before and after the Troubles. Each poem is packaged with sharp wit and an all encompassing humour which highlight the poets uncanny ability to pierce right to the heart of the matter.

I enjoyed each and every poem in this collection with my personal favourites being Ulster’s Shame and The Terror and Tears.

This verse form Ulster’s Shame gave me goosebumps:

“The empty streets, the broken glass,

the vacant car-parks, the crumbling halls.

The smoke spirals on the skyline,

the blood stained footpaths and bullet spattered walls.”

This extract from The Terror and Tears gave me the shivers:

“You, who are on the evildoer’s side,

remember, our God both sees and hears.

The horrors you do, the deaths you cause,

you shall one day know the terror, and shed tears.”

I have always retained five star ratings for poetry for the very famous and great poets like Shakespeare and Chaucer. Rightly or wrongly if feels to me that a collection of poetry would have to attain very heady heights to compete with these amazing works.

Certain of the poems in My Vibrating Vertebrae, however, made a big impression on me and wormed right into my mind and so I am giving this book of poetry a five star rating.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/My-Vibrating-Vertebrae-other-poems-ebook/dp/B01HA8Q116

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/My-Vibrating-Vertebrae-other-poems-ebook/dp/B01HA8Q116

Part of Chris’s immense enclosure is given over to The Great Hall of Fame… This is where Indies can exhibit their work by penning an article talking about themselves and their work. (Talk about a writers dream!) Once posted the author is then elevated to the Hall of Fame to reside with hundreds of other authors from around the world, who have taken that exciting but challenging step of being a published author. http://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/halls-of-fame/tsras-hall-of-fame/

Connect to Chris

Blog: http://thestoryreadingapeblog.com
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/15359652-chris-the-story-reading-ape
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PromotionOfNewAuthorsAndBooks?ref=hl
https://twitter.com/Storyreadingape
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Storyreadingape

Thanks for popping in today and I it would be great to get your feedback. Thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – Winter Wonderland Finally by Aurora Jean Alexander


It is actually nearly four weeks since Christmas but this poem from Aurora Jean Alexander from this time last year is very topical for many of you.

Picture courtesy of: http://www.christmas-wallpapers.co.uk/winter-wonderland/fantasy-winter-wonderland

Picture courtesy of: http://www.christmas-wallpapers.co.uk/winter-wonderland/fantasy-winter-wonderland

Winter Wonderland Finally by Aurora Jean Alexander

It was Christmas, three weeks ago,
the grass was green, there was no snow.
The skies were blue, it was too warm
Green Christmas? Here? This needs alarm.
**
New Year came -no flakes in sight
The sun had fun, the sky was bright.
But unexpected, it took us off guard
we woke up to a white yard.
**
Even though it’s freezing cold
I still will say – and I am bold
Sometimes I like the soft white mass
It can be fun – and it’s got class.
**
Snowy bushes and white trees
are surrounding the lake that will go freeze.
In such a time I love a forest walk
watch the squirrel, the deer, the owl and hawk.
**
Each snowflake is unique in art
a piece of glass and a piece of heart.
A fleeting existence and still so real
a wonder of nature, that’s how I feel.
**
On rare days I see romance be built
by the tiniest crystals, and still, there’s no guilt,
knowing that the picture is soon to be gone
We know it’ll be back, will soon be re-drawn.
**
Enjoy the little miracle that’s natures gift
when everything changes, from old to new shift.
Life circles, we know it, and it shows us first hand
This short lived but beautiful Winter Wonderland.
*****

(Copyright, and all pictures Aurora Jean Alexander, January 2017)

About Aurora Jean Alexander

 

I’m a new author working on my first paranormal romance. I have written short stories and poetry in the past and now am looking to try my hand at a full-length novel.

My rare free time I’m spending in extreme reading, excessive pool swimming and playing monster-monopoly. My strongest support system are my sister, my family and my three cats.

Connect to Aurora Jean

Website: http://www.aurorajeanalexander.com
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorAJAlexander/
Google+: http://plus.google.com/+AuroraJeanAlexander/posts
Twitter: http://twitter.com/AuroraJean_A
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/aurorajeanalexander
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/authorauroraj/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/aurorajeanalexander/

Thanks to Aurora Jean for sharing this lovely poem and I know she would love your feedback. Thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Christmas posts from My archives – The Leftovers by Sally Cronin


 

The Leftovers

I opened the fridge this morning
To check on the state of the world,
I hoped to see that the turkey,
Was not all shrivelled and curled.

It peaked from its packet of foil,
Still juicy and raring to go
I shredded it into some sauce
With some shrooms and onions for show.

I took the spuds, carrots and peas
And slathered with butter and oil.
The brandy was down to the dregs,
I added and brought to the boil.

But what to do with the trifle
Still lush with custard and berry
Guess I shall just have to eat it
Topped with a schooner of sherry.

So if I sound a bit pickled
The leftovers carry the blame.
Since to throw good food in the bin
Would be a dire waste and a shame.

My waist has expanded to fit
All the goodies that have been served
But thankfully my beloved,
Likes his women rounded and curved!

©sallycronin 2015

Please let me know if you have any leftovers that required consuming in the comment section of the post and be kind!!