Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update #Reviews – Vashti Quiroz-Vega, Jim Webster and Sally Cronin


Welcome to the second of the Cafe and Bookstore updates this week and the first author with a recent review is Vashti Quiroz-Vega with her latest release – a short story – Memoir of a Mad Woman.

About the book

A novelette from the award-winning author of The Fall of Lilith and Son of the Serpent, Vashti Quiroz-Vega.

Who can explain how madness begins?

This is the story of Emma. Reared by a religious fanatic, orphaned at a young age and sent to a mental institution and an orphanage. Molested and betrayed by the people who should be watching over her…

Who can say that madness has no logic?

During a fight, Emma’s best friend punched her in the abdomen. Since then, Emma has believed there’s something damaged inside of her.

Every month… she bleeds. She tries to fight it all her life, but the pain and the blood return twenty-eight days later… and the cycle begins again.

But Emma, even in her madness, knows how to take care of herself.
She knows how to make things right…

You may not agree… But, who can reason with insanity?

Read this tragic but fascinating tale and traverse the labyrinthine passages of madness.

One of the recent reviews for the book

JKS  5.0 out of 5 starsDisturbing but well-written March 17, 2019

This short story takes the reader on a journey to the dark side. The place inside a mind that had suffered abuse beyond imagination and how she fought back. This author made me care about the character despite her horrible deeds. The abuse started when she was a young child and even though the author never came out and said it, it was known that this child killed and burned her mother. And, felt no remorse. This carried on through the horrible abuse that was inflicted upon Emma and how she exacted revenge.

This is a well-written story that can be read in less than an hour. It draws you in and makes you feel as if you are there watching the events unfold. You want to scream for justice for her, but justice doesn’t come until she makes it happen. I highly recommend this short story! Be prepared for a chilling read!

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07MLYP5XP

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Memoir-Mad-Woman-Vashti-Quiroz-Vega-ebook/dp/B07MLYP5XP

Also by Vashti Quiroz-Vega

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Vashti-Quiroz-Vega/e/B00GTXG5W4

and on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Vashti-Quiroz-Vega/e/B00GTXG5W4

Read more reviews and follow Vashti on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7122693.Vashti_Quiroz_Vega

Connect to Vashti via her website/Blog: https://vashtiqvega.wordpress.com/

The next book with a recent review the novella Swimming for Profit and Pleasure (The Port Naain Intelligencer) by Jim Webster.

About the novella

Benor learns a new trade, joins the second hand book trade, attempts to rescue a friend and awakens a terror from the deep. Meddling in the affairs of mages is unwise, even if they have been assumed to be dead for centuries.

One of the recent reviews for Swimming for Profit and Pleasure

Robbie Cheadle 5.0 out of 5 stars An interesting and action packed short novella March 22, 2019

I am a fan of Jim Webster’s as I really enjoy his very British humour. In this action packed tale, Benor Dorfinngil is the main character and has a thrilling adventure when he is hired to do some diving by the mysterious and wealthy Westfran family who live in the more rural village of Stone Harbour. We are introduced to the family through Benor’s friend, poet Tallis Steelyard, who was invited to attend one of their soirees and who made it his business to escape from their house as quickly as possible. There do not appear to be any menfolk in the family and the women are all aloof and have a stiff and unyielding way of walking and holding themselves. It is all rather strange.

Benor becomes involved with the family after he takes a job working in a book shop and purchases an interesting box of books, including a 500 year old book written by an ancestor of the Westfran family. It soon becomes apparent that this book holds family secrets and the Westfran women will stop at nothing to get it back.

What has happened to Benor’s friend, Timms, the previous diver hired by the Westfrans and who has suddenly disappeared? What secrets do the harbour hold that it attracts such an unusually high number of male squid and why do the Westfran women all look so similar? Find out by reading this interesting and well written novella.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07NDWQRVL

And on Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Swimming-Profit-Pleasure-Naain-Intelligencer-ebook/dp/B07NDWQRVL

A selection of other books by Jim Webster

 Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jim-Webster/e/B009UT450I/

And Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Jim-Webster/e/B009UT450I/

Read more reviews and follow Jim on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/22998.Jim_Webster

Connect to Jim via his Blog http://jandbvwebster.wordpress.com/

And finally today I would like to share a recent review for one of my short story collections – What’s in a Name? Volume Two which I was obviously delighted to receive.

About the collection

Our legacy is not always about money or fame, but rather in the way that people remember our name after we have gone. In these sixteen short stories we discover the reasons why special men and women will stay in the hearts and minds of those who have met them. Romance, revenge and sacrifice all play their part in the lives of these characters.

Kenneth watches the love of his life dance on New Year’s Eve while Lily plants very special flowers every spring for her father. Martha helps out a work colleague as Norman steps back out into the world to make a difference. Owen brings light into a house and Patrick risks his life in the skies over Britain and holds back from telling a beautiful redhead that he loves her.

Meet Queenie and Rosemary who have both lost their husbands and must face a very different future. One that will take courage and the use of new technology.

Sonia is an entitled princess whose father has reached the end of his tether and Theresa has to deal with a bully in the checkout. Usher is an arrogant narcissist with a docile wife and is used to getting his own way and Vanessa worries about the future of her relationship with her teenage son.

Walter is a loner and is happy with just his dog for company, Xenia is the long awaited first baby of a young couple. Yves is a dashing romeo who has the tables turned on him unexpectedly and Zoe… Well she can see into the future.

In one way or another all these characters will be remembered by those whose lives they have touched

The recent review for the collection.

James‘s review Five Stars on Goodreads Mar 19, 2019

Sometimes the second book in a series or multi-volume collection of short stories doesn’t live up to the first. I can say with certainty that’s not the case with volume 2 of ‘What’s in a Name?’ by Sally Cronin. In this collection of stories of life and romance, following names that start with the letters K through Z, Cronin delivers a plethora of immersive, delightful, and intense characters.

I truly don’t know how she manages to pack such distinct and complex drama in a story that’s usually under ten pages. From the first few lines to the closing words, I was drawn in by each of the tales in this collection. There is something about the power an author chooses in certain words which helps create the proper ambiance for a setting, draw out the intrigue in the plot, and ignite a reader’s passions.

From the descriptions to the connections between a few of the stories (not in terms of characters but themes and approaches to decisions), Cronin provides us with a bevy of situations to consider… how would we react if such a problem found its way into our lives? Would we get revenge? What kind of sacrifices could we live with? What does love mean when it comes with strings?

I highly recommend both collections, as you’ll see some growth and evolution from volume one to two. Now I’ll have to look over her canon of other books to see what might be something else I want to read.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0748MLZ1W

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Whats-Name-Stories-Life-Romance-ebook/dp/B0748MLZ1W

A selection of my books in E-Version

Read the reviews and buy the books: http://www.amazon.com/Sally-Cronin/e/B0096REZM2

And Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sally-Georgina-Cronin/e/B003B7O0T6

Read more reviews and follow me on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7979187.Sally_Cronin

I hope that you are leaving with a book or two.. thanks Sally.

If you are an author and would like to join a bunch of us over on the site MeWe (no ads, not selling of data) you will find some of your favourite authors:https://mewe.com/join/theliterarydivashangout

The new series of the Smorgasbord Sunday Interview – Getting to Know You! – And I will go first!


Welcome to the new series of the Smorgasbord Sunday Interview –  Getting to Know You…and to show you how it will look when you participate.. I am going first.

As writers we tend to share aspects of our work in interviews, such as our blog posts, books and characters, and that is very important. However, sometimes we don’t get to share some of the other aspects of our personalities.

I was looking at some of the blogging award posts and decided that for this new series, I might ask some of the questions than you will usually find attached to them.

There are over 50 questions to choose from about life, love, humour, travel, ambitions and embarrassing moments!

You can select any five questions and the only proviso is that the answer is 100 words or longer.

It is an opportunity to show us your writing skills, sense of humour, best life moments and the worst, and things you might wish for. Since this is also an opportunity to promote your creative work, I will of course top and tail with an intro, your bio, examples of your blog, books, artwork, photography and your social media links. For most of you that have featured here before, I have those details on file or can find them. If you are new to the blog, I may have to come back to you for more information.

  • All you have to do is pick Five questions, answer them with a minimum of 100 words ( use as many as you need) remembering that this is your showcase especially as a writer – you want people to head over and follow your blog and buy your books.
  • Send the five questions and your answers to me in a word document or in an email to sally.cronin@moyhill.com.
  • Please feel free to add an illustration (two or three is fine) Please do not embed in the document but attach to the email.
  • If you are new to the blog, then please send your main website or blog link and I will check that out for the information that I need.

It is a first come, first serve basis so you need to get your entry in as quickly as possible (after due thought and consideration of course!).

The post will be promoted across my social media and will be my pinned tweet for the following week.

A couple of things that I would ask from you to help promote the post as far and wide as possible.

  • To reblog or share across your own social media.
  • To respond to each comment individually (it does encourage people to visit your blog and buy your books or other work for sale.
  • To pop in from time to time over the following week to check on later comments.

Here are the questions for you to choose 5 from the 52. After the questions and to give you an idea of how the post will look, I have answered my 5 questions.

  1.  Describe one most embarrassing moment of your life.
  2. Which is the most valuable thing you have lost and did you ever find it?
  3. Tell us about your craziest experience.
  4. Do you have a phobia and do you remember how it started?
  5. If you were to become invisible for a day what is the one thing you would do?
  6. If you were granted three wishes what would they be?
  7. What was the funniest moment of your life?
  8. Describe your worst online experience?
  9. Tell us about your partner’s likes and dislikes.
  10. How would you describe your fashion sense?
  11. What are the five things that you would always find in your handbag or briefcase?
  12. What is the one ambition that you still have not achieved?
  13. What is the one item that you paid a lot of money for but have never used or regretted buying?
  14. Describe the strangest dream you’ve ever had.
  15. Which famous person would you like to be marooned with on a desert island with?
  16. Have you got a secret talent nobody knows about?
  17. What do you consider to be the best dish that you prepare – and have you the recipe?
  18. If you could get rid of one household chore, what would it be?
  19. What is your favourite childhood song and why (do you have a Youtube link for it)?
  20. What is your favourite holiday and why?
  21. If you could be any action hero, who would it be?
  22. What is your favourite TV show and why?
  23. What is your least favourite thing about family parties?
  24. What is something you look forward to when you retire?
  25. What was the one thing you could never learn how to do no matter how hard you tried?
  26. Do you prefer the big city or country life?
  27. Where is your favourite holiday destination and why?
  28. What was the worse holiday you ever had and why?
  29. What are your favourite or weird pizza toppings?
  30. If you could choose a different career, what would it be and why?
  31. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
  32. If animals could talk, which one would you have a conversation with?
  33. Knowing now, what you didn’t know then, what would you have done differently?
  34. Are you a morning person or a night person?
  35. What is your favourite ice cream flavour or combined flavours?
  36. If you were given a million dollars what would you do with it?
  37. What is your favourite sport and have you won medals or an award for it?
  38. Have you ever played a musical instrument or sang in public?
  39. Do you prefer the beach or the mountains and why?
  40. What does it take to make you angry?
  41. Do you prefer cats, dogs, or neither?
  42. What is your favourite music genre and why?
  43. Did you have a nickname as a child and if so, what was it?
  44. If you only had two minutes to get out of your house, what would you grab?
  45. What is your favourite vegetable and how do you like it prepared?
  46. What do you like to put on your toast?
  47. What season is your favourite and why?
  48. What is your favourite month and why?
  49. Of all the books that you have read, what is your favourite and why?
  50. How many different languages can you speak and what are they?
  51. Do you have any tattoos and if so, where?
  52. What is one thing (moral or practical) your grandparent taught you how to do that you still do today?

Here is an example of how your interview will look like and you can promote your books, artwork, photography, or aspects of your blog.

The Sunday Interview – Getting to Know You with Sally Cronin

About Sally Cronin

I have lived a fairly nomadic existence living in eight countries including the Sri Lanka, South Africa and USA before settling back here in Ireland. My work, and a desire to see some of the most beautiful parts of the world in the last forty years, has taken me to many more incredible destinations around Europe and Canada, and across the oceans to New Zealand and Hawaii. All those experiences and the people that I have met, provide a rich source of inspiration for my stories.

I have been a storyteller most of my life (my mother called them fibs!). Poetry, song lyrics and short stories were left behind when work and life intruded, but that all changed in 1996. My first book Size Matters was a health and weight loss book based on my own experiences of losing 70kilo. I have written another ten books since then on health and also fiction including three collections of short stories. I am an indie author and proud to be one.

My greatest pleasure comes from those readers who enjoy my take on health, characters and twisted endings… and of course come back for more. The same applies to my blog, Smorgasbord Invitation, where I get to write everyday and communicate with people around the world who share my interests. What a reason to get up every morning and come to work.

As a writer I know how important it is to have help in marketing books.. as important as my own promotion is, I believe it is important to support others. I offer a number of FREE promotional opportunities on my blog and linked to my social media. If you are an author who would like to be promoted to a new audience of dedicated readers, please contact me via my blog. All it will cost you is a few minutes of your time. Look forward to hearing from you.

Find out more about Sally’s books at the end of the post…now for some interesting snippets!!

If you were to become invisible for a day what is the one thing you would do?

The options vary from comical to downright nefarious. Clearly this is wide open to larceny on a grand scale, but being the law abiding citizen that I am!!! I think that I would like to follow one of the world leaders for the day, and find out what is real and what is fake news. I can think of a few candidates… Donald Trump, Kim Yung-un, Theresa May, Vladimir Putin.. you get the idea. Plus with some of them there would be the fun of driving the security team crazy. Going in and out of metal detectors and setting them off every few minutes. It might be tough not to play a couple of pranks on the target… in fact downright impossible.

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

My father let me help him prepare his special sauce for spaghetti when I was about 11 years old. It would be served with grated cheddar cheese and a dollop of tomato ketchup and was our Saturday favourite. I cooked it myself for the first time at 14, to impress a boyfriend. and it has been my go to recipe for getting to a man’s heart through his stomach ever since. Including my husband 50 years later!

The recipe is very easy. A pound of lean steak mince cooked off with a tablespoon of olive oil, a crushed clove of garlic, some salt and pepper to taste, and a teaspoon of pimiento dulce. Sweat off two thinly sliced onions, one sliced red pepper and 200gm of sliced mushrooms in a large knob of butter. Place all the ingredients into a casserole dish and stir in a can of chopped tomatoes, a dissolved beef stock cube or jelly, and a tablespoon of tomato concentrate. I also add in a dessertspoon of pesto these days. Mix well and put the lid on before cooking in the oven for 45 minutes at 180. Serve over buttered spaghetti and sprinkle liberally with grated mature cheddar.

Do you prefer the big city or country life?

I have experienced both, including living and working in London for nine years. I would have to say that I prefer living in the country with access to a reasonably sized town or city. I love the quiet, except for the occasional church bell and passing traffic. I really appreciate the fresh air, and relish the whiff of sea air where we live now. We really noticed the difference when spending four days in London last year. I came home feeling smutty (not the dirty mind sort, but coal smut!). When I took my makeup of, it came away with a dark and dusty layer which cannot be good for you, especially when inhaled. I love people, and in my career have been surrounded by them, but now I don’t enjoy big crowds, and the pushing and shoving that goes on, especially on public transport. I love that I have facilities within 5 miles such as supermarkets, cinema, restaurants and hospital, but as long as I can drive, I prefer to be away from them.

Plus, I love having wildlife in the garden and the birds are so entertaining, even the crows who pinch the seed.

If you could choose a different career, what would it be and why?

When I was a teenager, I wanted to be a singer and actress. I had been brought up on the 1950s and 60s musicals and wanted to star in South Pacific, Sound of Music and West Side Story. I knew all the lyrics, and would sing for an audience at the drop of a hat (willing or unwilling didn’t bother me). However, I was persuaded by my parents that I should do my secretarial training first, so that I had something to fall back on. I actually had a starring role as the floozy who tempted the matador away from Carmen in ‘Passion Flower’ adapted from the opera for the amateur stage with fabulous music by Georges Bizet. However, there was not sufficient funds for me to do a drama course in London, and I went out to work with the attention of earning enough to audition in a couple of years. Life got in the way. Things have worked out very well, and I have had the chance to perform on radio and television, and through my writing. But, if I am honest, I would have loved to have taken that road to where I am today.

If animals could talk, which one would you have a conversation with?

There is no doubt in my mind that animals can communicate, perhaps not in our language but in their own way. However, if I could talk to any animal it would be with Koko the gorilla, and I am quite prepared to learn sign language to be able to do that. I love the video of Koko and Robin Williams in discussion, but here is a video that shows the breadth of understanding and free thinking of this gentle giant. Being able to sit down with her and talk like this would be a dream come true. It would certainly be a huge privilege.

Books by Sally Cronin

About What’s in a Name Volume Two

Our legacy is not always about money or fame, but rather in the way that people remember our name after we have gone. In these sixteen short stories we discover the reasons why special men and women will stay in the hearts and minds of those who have met them. Romance, revenge and sacrifice all play their part in the lives of these characters.

Kenneth watches the love of his life dance on New Year’s Eve while Lily plants very special flowers every spring for her father. Martha helps out a work colleague as Norman steps back out into the world to make a difference. Owen brings light into a house and Patrick risks his life in the skies over Britain and holds back from telling a beautiful redhead that he loves her.

Meet Queenie and Rosemary who have both lost their husbands and must face a very different future. One that will take courage and the use of new technology.

Sonia is an entitled princess whose father has reached the end of his tether and Theresa has to deal with a bully in the checkout. Usher is an arrogant narcissist with a docile wife and is used to getting his own way and Vanessa worries about the future of her relationship with her teenage son.

Walter is a loner and is happy with just his dog for company, Xenia is the long awaited first baby of a young couple. Yves is a dashing romeo who has the tables turned on him unexpectedly and Zoe… Well she can see into the future.

In one way or another all these characters will be remembered by those whose lives they have touched.

The most recent review for the collection

I read the first volume of What’s in a Name and was eager to give the second a try. Volume 2 is a collection of short stories that picks up when the first ended, covering names starting with K through Z (Kenneth through Zoe). Cronin includes a bonus short story for a collection coming out later in 2018.

This is a quick read that I breezed through in a few hours, sitting outside in the spring sunshine. Many of the stories have older characters, covering a range of topics from heartwarming reunions, grief and loss, recovered dignity, and romantic love beyond the grave. There’s also a bit of happily ever after and match-making, as well as some swindling, and a taste of well-deserved murder! The variety is highly entertaining and kept me engaged throughout.

Cronin is a master storyteller and I recommend this collection (both volumes) to readers of all ages.

You can read the reviews and buy What’s in Name- Volume Two: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0748MLZ1W/

and Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Whats-Name-Stories-Life-Romance-ebook/dp/B0748MLZ1W

Other books by Sally Cronin

You can read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Sally-Cronin/e/B0096REZM2

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sally-Georgina-Cronin/e/B003B7O0T6

Read other reviews and follow Sally on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7979187.Sally_Cronin

Connect to Sally on her blog and social media.

Blog: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/sgc58
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sally.cronin
LinkedIn: http://uk.linkedin.com/in/sallycronin1

So what do you think? Can you find five questions to answer?  I would love to hear from you and previous participants are always welcome. You can never have too much of a good thing! sally.cronin@moyhill.com

Smorgasbord Posts from My Archives – Short Stories -Odd Jobs and Characters by Sally Cronin


So far I have published over 60 short stories in collections and the one drawback to this is the amount of diverse characters required to star in a wide variety of situations.

Luckily, I have a retentive memory stretching back to around the age of three, of the people, places and events in my life. Thankfully the majority of those memories are happy, but there have also been one or two life threatening occasions as well as times when the world seemed very dark. Although over time they were resolved, they too have become very useful for creating plots in stories and providing emotional context.

I was always imaginative as a child… my mother I seem to remember, called it ‘telling fibs’. For me as we travelled around to various countries, my imaginary friends were a comfort and helped me gain confidence as I made real friends. They were eventually replaced with the real life counterparts and very precious they are too.

Fifty-one years ago I started work on a part-time basis as soon as it was legally possible. I was fourteen years old, and even though I have had periods when not officially employed, I have been working ever since. My intention is to be dragged kicking and screaming into the next world with my keyboard in one hand and a glass of wine in the other.

This series shares some of the jobs I have turned my hand to over that fifty years, and some were very odd. Not many have sat at a table between two teams of champion dairy cows, selling bull semen!  Over the years I have accumulated a massive dossier of characters and events that now take centre stage in my short stories. If you have read my novel Just an Odd Job Girl you will have met some of them but over the next twelve weeks I hope to bring you some of the others that inspired and stimulated my imagination.

Not all these posts appeared on Smorgasbord as some fantastic blogging friends allowed me to guest post. Where this is the case I will of course provide you with the links to their post…

Souvenir and ice-cream seller along the seafront.

Just thinking back to those early spring months of 1967 make me smile. I had pestered my mother and father for months to let me get a part-time job. I didn’t want a paper round as getting up at an ungodly hour before school every morning, including Sunday, held little appeal. Also, my parents were concerned that my schoolwork would suffer so we compromised on a weekend and holiday job.

Just before Easter, I saw an advertisement in the local evening paper for staff for the council run operations along the seafront. The minimum age was fourteen years and three months, which I had just passed, and there was an address to apply for an application form.

Without telling my mother, I sent off for the form, which duly arrived. Being a council application form it covered three pages and virtually asked for your weight and number of teeth. I was proud of my efforts, and presented the completed and signed form to my mother, who also had to sign the form because of my age.

My mother had to accompany me to the interview and she made me wear my school uniform to encourage a belief that I might be a worthy candidate! The interviewer was a nice man and I remember that he had a deep voice and seemed genuinely interested in what this fourteen year old had to say… which was pretty rare!

Three days later a letter arrived stating that I would be employed for the summer season, and weekends once I was back at school, at a cafe and souvenir kiosk by South Parade Pier. I would work for a maximum of six hours a day, at an hourly rate of two shillings an hour. I was rich.

I arrived excited, but understandibly nervous, and was greeted by a rather austere cafe manageress. She issued me a nylon overall and so many rules and regulations that I forgot them immediately.. Thankfully she then uttered the words…..‘I am giving you to Betty.’

I was pleasantly surprised to be handed over to a tiny, beaming woman who had been waiting for me outside the back door of the café.

She was wearing the highest pair of stiletto shoes I had ever seen. She must have been under five-foot in height and nicely plump; I had no idea how she managed to stay upright on these thin, three-inch heels. I am nearly six foot and I looked down on my diminutive new companion, wondering how she was going to boss me around. I was soon to find out that looks could be deceiving!

About twenty feet from the restaurant there was a small round building. Little did I know at the time, but apart from occasional relief duties in the main café, this was going to be my work place for the next three seasons. Betty opened a door at the back of the structure.
I stepped through into the dark and stood for a moment on the threshold of a new life. The lights snapped on and I looked around me. It was filled to bursting with leather and plastic souvenirs and beach games, and stored for security reasons, a large double-sided postcard stand that needed to be taken outside to make room for the occupants.

After carrying that outside between us, Betty busied herself at the old fashioned till perched on the wooden shelf. No mean feat as it stood four feet off the ground and she could barely see over the top of the counter.  I could now see the reasoning behind the three-inch heels.

Betty then proceeded to introduce me to the world of selling souvenirs which ranged from combs, purses, heart shaped badges and other small items. They either bore the coat of arms for Portsmouth and Southsea or with a male of female name. Good luck if you had been called something exotic!

She was a very patient and lovely woman, who not only showed me a management style that became a benchmark for me in my later career, but also became my friend. Her on job training was second to none, and by the second weekend she pronounced me Assistant Manager of the kiosk.  I was solely responsible for stocking, selling to our many customers and cash management when she took her lunch breaks and for her days off.

Betty has featured in several of my stories in one disguise or another and even after 50 years, her influence on my work ethic, management style and sense of responsibility makes me grateful for having her in my life.

As well as providing me with some wonderful characters in addition to Betty, my time  along the seafront provided me with plenty of material for future stories. These included her request for me to wear sneakers one weekend so that I could chase down and capture a couple of lads who had been pinching the saucy postcards on a regular basis; a mission that I completed to her satisfaction if not to the suitably berated offenders.

In my third year at the cafe, I was promoted to the front of house where whipped ice-cream was dispensed. I eventually got the knack of creating perfect whirls topped with a chocolate flake, but I am afraid that I consumed the evidence of my early failures which resulted in a need for a larger overall.

The next post follows my efforts in my first full time job working in a private dental practice at the age of seventeen.

About Sally Cronin.

I have lived a fairly nomadic existence living in eight countries including the Sri Lanka, South Africa and USA before settling back here in Ireland. My work in a number of industries, and a desire to see some of the most beautiful parts of the world in the last forty years, has taken me to many more incredible destinations around Europe and Canada, and across the oceans to New Zealand and Hawaii. All those experiences and the people that I have met, provide a rich source of inspiration for my stories.

I have been a storyteller most of my life (my mother called them fibs!). Poetry, song lyrics and short stories were left behind when work and life intruded, but that all changed in 1996. My first book Size Matters was a health and weight loss book based on my own experiences of losing 70kilo. I have written another ten books since then on health and also fiction including three collections of short stories. I am an indie author and proud to be one.

My greatest pleasure comes from those readers who enjoy my take on health, characters and twisted endings… and of course come back for more.

My latest book – What’s in a Name – Volume Two.

Our legacy is not always about money or fame, but rather in the way that people remember our name after we have gone. In these sixteen short stories we discover the reasons why special men and women will stay in the hearts and minds of those who have met them.

Kenneth watches the love of his life dance on New Year’s Eve while Lily plants very special flowers every spring for her father. Martha helps out a work colleague as Norman steps back out into the world to make a difference. Owen brings light into a house and Patrick risks his life in the skies over Britain and holds back from telling a beautiful redhead that he loves her.In one way or another all these characters will be remembered by those whose lives they have touched.

There is also a bonus story introducing a new collection The Village Square to be published in 2018.

One of the recent reviews for the book

A brief romance that lasts a life time and longer, a poignant story of Easter eggs and then we meet Martha, a colleague we would all love to have… Three stories in and I was already enjoying the deliciously different tales in this collection. Cheer on Norman, admire Patrick and have the last laugh with Rosemary. Dip into this these easy to read short tales any time, but expect some to have dark twists.

You can buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Whats-Name-Stories-Life-Romance-ebook/dp/B0748MLZ1W

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sally-Georgina-Cronin/e/B003B7O0T6

My other books

Author Page UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sally-Georgina-Cronin/e/B003B7O0T6

And Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Sally-Cronin/e/B0096REZM2

Everything you need to know about how to buy my books and connect to me on social media is here: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/about-me/

Thank you for dropping by and your ongoing support.. It means a great deal to me.. thanks Sally

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update – John W. Howell, Alyssa Drake and Sally Cronin


author-update-jpgFirst a brand new look for John Howell’s first book in the John Cannon Series… fabulous new cover and a book that I definitely enjoyed and reviewed. If you are considering reading John’s books I suggest that you start with My GRL and get to know his hero.

John J. Cannon, a successful San Francisco lawyer, takes a leave of absence from the firm and buys a boat he names My GRL. John is unaware his boat has been targeted by a terrorist group to be used to destroy a symbol of America’s greatness. John’s first inkling of trouble is when he wakes up in the hospital and learns he was found unconscious next to the body of the young woman who sold him the boat in the first place. John now is the only one standing between the terrorists and the success of their mission.

And a review for the new edition.

My GRL is the first of the John Cannon series. Having read the second book, His Revenge, and the third and final book, Our Justice, I wanted to complete the series with My GRL. Each book is independent of the others; however, there is a definite overlap which adds depth and intrigue.

MyGRL is the first of a 3-book series. In this book, the foundation is set and much like Jack Webb on the old Dragnet series, the reader is introduced to the world of John Cannon through first-person monologues. I commend the writer on his skill to successfully engage the reader in the present, such that we walk with the protagonist through his various hurdles – which are many.

Terror becomes real within the first chapter. And, from this moment forward, the reader joins John Cannon in trying to understand what is going on, who can be trusted, and how to circumvent the threatened horror.

This book earns 5-stars from me, as did His Revenge and Our Justice. They are all well-written and scarily timely.

Buy a copy of the new My GRL: https://www.amazon.com/My-GRL-John-W-Howell-ebook/dp/B06VY4V2FC

To read all the 60 plus reviews for the previous edition of My GRL: https://www.amazon.com/My-GRL-John-W-Howell-ebook/dp/B00HV3QECW

Connect to John via his website: http://www.johnhowell.com

Delighted to share a very recent review for the debut novel of Alyssa Drake which was promoted here last year.. It has received 49 reviews which is terrific and delighted that not only is the book doing so well but people are clamouring for book number two.

Independent reviewer for Archaeolibrarian, I was gifted my copy of this book.

When Samantha’s brother, Edward, is killed while travelling to France, she is called away from her country home, back to the city and world she worked hard to stay away from. Benjamin was Edward’s best friend, and was supposed to find Samantha a husband. He was not expecting his reaction to her, the little girl is all grown up and every possible husband is rejected by Benjamin. When Edward’s disappearance turns out to be foul play, Samantha’s life is in danger, and Benjamin is running out of time.

First up: CLIFF HANGER!!! We all have that love hate thing for cliff hangers and I did not see this one creeping up on me!! I was loving this book, really enjoying it and then THAT happened and I was not a happie chappie, not at all.

Second: First time author. And you really can’t tell!! I only know this, because I went to look for future books in this series, and can’t find any of them, nor any other books by this author! Excellent work, Ms Drake, very well done.

I did get who might be up to no good, very early on and I loved watching things become clearer. Love having at all laid out as much as I love being kept on my toes. But while we know WHOdunnit, we don’t know the WHY they did it, not yet.

The book open with a murder ten years previous (we get that from the murderer’s point of view, so loved that!) which turns out to be Edward and Samantha’s father. Then there is Edward’s disappearance, and some missing jewellery. It all comes together, or at least its BEGINNING to come together, then I ran out of bloody book!!

So, book two, Ms Drake?? When should we expect that, because I want to know what happens to Samantha and Benjamin but also what Benjamin’s mother is up to, taking in that young lady, and whether what I see happening between that young lady and Thomas, Benjamin’s twin, actually happens.

4.5 stars, but rounded down to 4 cos Goodreads/Amazon/the blog don’t do half stars

Read all the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Perfect-Plan-Wiltshire-Chronicles-Book-ebook/dp/B01CMK5ZPU

Connect to Alyssa via her website: http://www.alyssadrakenovels.com

And as a final update I am delighted to say that Tales from the Garden has received a new review from author N.A. Granger.. This is one of the benefits of being on the shelves of your own bookstore.

tales-from-the-garden

About the book

Tales from the Garden reveals the secrets that are hidden beneath hedges and trees. You will discover what really happens at night as you sleep unaware in your bed. Stone statues and those hidden worlds within the earth are about to share their stories. The guardians who have kept the sanctuary safe for over fifty years will allow you to peek behind the scenes of this magical place. They will take you on a journey through time and expand your horizons as they transport you to the land of fairies, butterflies and lost souls who have found a home here.
Fairy Stories for children of all ages from five to ninety-five that will change the way you look at your garden forever.

Noelle Granger’s review: https://saylingaway.wordpress.com/2017/03/06/book-review-tales-from-the-garden-by-sally-cronin-scg58-children-fairy-tales/

This is a collection of imaginative stories giving life to the various stone creatures that inhabit her garden: lions, eagles, dogs, dwarves, butterflies, young boys and beautiful girls, and of course the world of fairies living under the magnolia tree. All of them come alive at night and there is a story about each of them – how they came to live there, how they contribute to the busy life of the garden.

The author imbues each of these creatures with a charming personality and a backstory that reminds the reader of long ago folktales. The writing is smooth with a gentle quality and effortlessly provides lessons in responsibility, loyalty, love, and respect. This adult was transported back to her childhood and was left smiling and a little bereft after the last page, reminding me of The Borrowers, one of my early favorites.

I highly recommend this book to the parents of young children – it will be on the list of books that I give each year – and I hope all who read this review will indulge their inner child and get a copy for themselves.

Ten stars if it were possible!

Read all the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Tales-Garden-Sally-Cronin-ebook/dp/B0180Q6CKM

Also by Sally Cronin

Sally Cronin Books

What's in a Name

Buy all the books: https://www.amazon.com/Sally-Cronin/e/B0096REZM2/

If you would like to be in the bookstore and take advantage of the frequent updates here is the link: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore/