Smorgasbord Short Story – The Other Side of Heaven – Sally Cronin


One of my stories from Flights of Fancy that shows that however long one might be parted.. love will endure and find a way to bring you back together again.

51l5b4hcbul-_uy250_

The Other Side of Heaven by Sally Cronin

When Meg saw the cottage she knew that it was the one. She had visualised her dream house so many times in her head that it almost felt that she was coming home.

As soon as she had walked down the country lane that separated the property from the main road she had heard the sound of running water. A river or lake had always been a requisite when imagining her perfect home and the sound ticked at least one of her boxes. As she rounded the bend in the lane she saw the house for the first time, its red slate roof glistening in the sunlight.

She inhaled the scent of the vibrantly coloured flowers that dominated the small front garden and she smiled at the sight of the roses that surrounded the front door. Meg stood for a moment on the cobbled path and delighted in the fresh, sweet smell whilst she ran her eyes over every inch of the front of the cottage.

Despite its age, the windows were large and you could tell that the sunlight that shone through those panes of glass would make the interior bright and welcoming. Taking a deep breath she opened the old wooden door and stepped inside.

Within a very short space of time, Meg found herself carefully unwrapping a lifetime of treasures from the boxes that sat expectantly in the various rooms in her new home. Jack as always was eager to help, and despite the insistent interruptions from the collie, Meg made steady progress as she placed objects and pictures in just their right place.

Surprisingly, despite working all day, she felt refreshed and excited as she walked through each room, moving furniture slightly to recreate the image that she had held in her mind for so long. Eventually, she was satisfied and she and Jack turned their attention to the garden at the back of the house that lay basking in early evening sunshine.

The dog, young and excited ran out ahead of Meg and started to race around the immaculate piece of lawn. Flowers crowded the edges around its borders, and as in the front garden, the air was filled with a heady and sweet scent. She walked to the little gate set into a hedge and opened and closed it leaving a frustrated Jack on the other side.

“Good boy, Jack. Stay there; this bit is not for dogs”.

He sat down and watched his owner with head cocked to one side. He wouldn’t move until she returned. They had been parted for too long for him to allow her out of his sight now.

For Meg this was heaven. Row upon row of fresh vegetables, a small green house where she could see ripened tomatoes hanging from their vines, and an established orchard at the end of the plot; trees laden with fruit. For a fleeting moment she wondered why so many of the vegetables and fruit seemed out of season, but she put that down to the fact that this part of the country enjoyed a micro-climate that kept it warmer than the average.

Contentedly she retraced her steps and pushed open the gate separating the two gardens and was rewarded with an ecstatic welcome from Jack as he leapt up and licked her face.
After a simple supper, Meg and Jack sat together on the bench at the front of the house and as her hand gently stroked his head, she absorbed the sounds of the evening. In the background the music of the river accompanied the buzz of insects as they collected their final nectar of the day.

Everything was now perfect. The house waited, as did Meg and Jack for that final, finishing touch. Jack had been waiting the longest. Meg had missed him so much but there had been no choice under the circumstances. As she stroked his head as it rested on her knee, she knew that she had been forgiven for sending him away; now they would be together always. However, there was someone who was still missing. Meg had no idea when Sam would arrive; all she could do when she had left was to promise that she and Jack would be there to welcome him home.

The evening moved into starlit night, and as the moon rose in the sky, it seemed as though time had stopped. Jack’s ears suddenly twitched and he nudged Meg’s knee. She turned her head towards the lane leading to the cottage and she stood, moving down the path to open the gate with the collie at her heels. Jack looked up at her as if asking permission.

Meg nodded and he ran ahead barking excitedly; she hurried after him just as a stooped and elderly man came into view. He was walking with a stick, but when Jack reached him and jumped up and down in excitement, he threw it to one side and went down on one knee to embrace the dog.

Meg slowed and took in the sight of the two beings she loved the most greeting each other. She felt young and giddy just as she had all those years ago when she had first met Sam. Then before her eyes he stood, tall and straight, the years fell away from him and she eagerly fell into his arms and held him as Jack pranced around them in delight.

Eventually, the three of them walked back to the cottage. Meg and Sam hand in hand with Jack walking carefully between them. They turned in the gate and Sam saw their home for the first time.

“I never thought, when you promised to create a place for us all in heaven, that it would be so beautiful”

Smiling, Sam picked his young wife up and carried her over the threshold followed by Jack, tail wagging and barking with encouragement.

©sallycronin Flights of Fancy 2009  https://www.amazon.com/Flights-Fancy-Sally-Cronin-ebook/dp/B00M3AV1FS/

 

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update – Teri Polen, Colleen Chesebro and Sally Cronin


author-update-jpg

Welcome to the first update of the week.. and as an author on the bookshelves I get to share my news too today.  But first a catch up with two other authors.  I am taking a look at some of the authors who have entered the bookstore since the begining of December over the next week. Unless of course any of you reading this who are in the bookstore have news of a recent release or great review.  Get in touch sallygcronin@gmail.com

The first author update is for Teri Polen who released her debut novel Sarah at the beginning of December 2016. Since then she has received 26 reviews and here is one that is right up to date.

41jwrqyo45l-_uy250_

About Sarah

Seventeen-year-old horror fan Cain Shannon thought helping a ghost find her killers would be the supernatural adventure of a lifetime. Now, he just hopes to survive long enough to protect his family and friends from her.

A bet between friends goes horribly wrong, resulting in Sarah’s death. When she returns to seek justice against those responsible, Cain agrees to help her. But when he discovers Sarah has been hijacking his body, he realizes she wants retribution instead of justice.

Terrified of what could have happened when he wasn’t in control, Cain commands Sarah to leave his house – but exorcising her isn’t that easy. She retaliates against her murderers in bloody, horrific ways, each death making her stronger, then sets her sights on Cain. With the help of friends, Cain fights to save himself and his loved ones and searches for a way to stop Sarah before she kills again.

 A Spine-Tingling Tale You Won’t Want to Miss on February 5, 2017

Teri Polen’s SARAH is the stuff that will keep you up at night. It’s the perfect blend of lighthearted teenage banter and blood-curdling horror elements. Shades of the television show Supernatural will keep fans of theWinchester brothers engrossed from the beginning through the last spine-tingling word of the epilogue.

Cain starts out as an affable teenage boy who too soon has become the man of the house because of the untimely death of his father. The addition of his best friend Finn creates a dynamic duo—the two clearly are as thick as biological brothers and their interactions are so enjoyable. Cain has typical teenage problems—love, academics, sports—until his life changes for the worse.

There is a ghost in his house.

The ghost, Sarah, has a dramatic character arc, something that infatuated me. Her change from beginning to end was something I couldn’t tear my attention from. Cain, Finn, and Lindsey are a trio that rivals Harry, Ron, and Hermione. The barbs they exchange are funny and believable, but these kids are loyal to each other to a fault. Watching those relationships solidify was a true pleasure.

I love a good ghost story, and SARAH is one of the best ones I’ve read in a while. I blew through it—it was such an easy and exciting read that I finished it in one afternoon. But I’m left fervently wishing for a sequel, because I don’t want to say goodbye to these characters.

If you like horror, you’ll love SARAH. It’s a must read.

Read all the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Teri-Polen/e/B01MYOUA6V

51-jwxbqlil-_ux250_

Connect to Teri via her Website:  https://teripolen.com/

author-update-jpg

16426041_1406301462721763_2927111688177064198_n

We head over to Marjorie Mallon’s wonderfully eclectic blog about books, writing, photography, magic haiku and inspiration. Not only has Marjorie posted a terrific view for the recently released The Heart Stone Chronicles – The Swamp Fairy by Colleen M. Chesebro, but she has also availed herself of the exclusively designed pendant.

the-heart-stone-chroniclesAbout The Heart Stone Chronicles – The Swamp Fairy

Fourteen-year-old Abigale Forester, recently orphaned and a ward of the State of Illinois moves from Chicago to Florida to live with her aunt, her last living relative. Magnolia Forester becomes her legal Guardian, and together they claim an ancient inheritance; land that belonged to Abby’s mother’s family for generations.

Holding onto the only piece of her mother Abby has left, a calcite pendant and her mother’s most sacred possession, she discovers the truth of her legacy. The pendant is more significant than she could possibly imagine. Forged from a giant mystical heart-shaped stone found on the very swamp land Abby now owns, it holds the power of her ancestors.

But with that power comes greater responsibility, one that pits her against Rafe Cobb, a greedy land developer, who will stop at nothing to own Abby’s swamp land.

As Abby learns to be part of a family again and explores her love of horses with friends, Savanna, and Blake, the swamp slowly gives up some of its secrets. She is summoned by a primeval nymph, who teaches Abby that her true destiny is to protect the nymphs from evil in an ever-changing modern world.

Can Abby save the swamp and the Naiad Nymph Clan from certain destruction before it is too late?

Marjorie Mallon’s Review for the book.

What’s not to love? I knew I would love The Swamp Fairy and I did. For me, it has two magical ingredients: a crystal pendant, ( I just love crystals!!!) and fairies! My only regret is that when I turned the last page of The Swamp Fairy I was left feeling bereft. I wanted more!!! Thank goodness Colleen will satisfy this sense of loss with the second book in this series…

I’d recommend The Swamp Fairy to young ‘tween’ girls who love the magical realm of fairies, and the power and mystery of crystals exemplified in Abigale’s pendant , a precious piece of the sacred calcite heart stone.

Gutsy young heroine Abigale Forester will do anything to save the swamp fairies and the Pink Sundew plants. Right from the start, it’s obvious that she’s no pushover, even though she has had to deal with more pain and loss than the average fourteen-year-old. After her mother Kathryn’s death and her drug addict father’s disappearance she is sent away to stay with her distant aunt Magnolia. It’s not just the weather that changes. Chicago girl Abigale’s new destination is Blackberry Ridge, Florida. She has to get to know her aunt, acquaint herself with a new school, meet new friends, Savanna Brook, Blake Barrett, and Cash Book, (Savanna’s brother.) But all that’s nothing compared with having to cope with the nasty jibes of the mean Kramer brothers, and it doesn’t end there. A greedy, ruthless land developer, Rafe Cobb is determined to get hold of the swamp land bequeathed to her by her deceased mother.

Abigale refuses to buckle under Rafe Cobb’s threats even when she realises that he will go to the most desperate and deadly ends to get what he wants.

Abigale has a special relationship with the fairies, (the Naiad Nymph Clan,) a unique bond with horses, (especially Sand Dollar,) and the many other animals in the story. She can hear what they are saying, and can speak to them too!

This is such an enthralling, sweet story, with excitement a-plenty. There are beautiful descriptions of the swamp fairies, dragonflies, and hummingbirds. Plus the added bonus of beautifully crafted haiku poems at the start of each chapter. 

https://kyrosmagica.wordpress.com/2017/01/15/my-kyrosmagica-review-of-the-heart-stone-chronicles-book-1-the-swamp-fairy-by-colleen-chesebro/

Read the other recent reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Heart-Stone-Chronicles-Swamp-Fairy/dp/1541015967

colleen-author-picConnect to Colleen Chesebro via her Website: https://colleenchesebro.com

author-update-jpg

Now I get to do a little self-promotion since I am on the shelves of the bookstore!  I released my latest short story collection, What’s in a Name, last Friday and was delighted that Linda Bethea dived in and gave the book its first review over the weekend.. Absolutely thrilled as you can imagine.

getpart

About What’s in a Name

There are names that have been passed down through thousands of years which have powerful and deep-rooted meaning to their bearers. Other names have been adopted from other languages, cultures and from the big screen. They all have one thing in common. They are with us from birth until the grave and they are how we are known to everyone that we meet.

There are classical names such as Adam, David and Sarah that will grace millions of babies in the future. There are also names that parents have invented or borrowed from places or events in their lives which may last just one lifetime or may become the classic names of tomorrow.

Whatever the name there is always a story behind it. In What’s in a Name? – Volume One, twenty men and women face danger, love, loss, romance, fear, revenge and rebirth as they move through their lives.

Anne changes her name because of associations with her childhood, Brian carries the mark of ancient man, Jane discovers that her life is about to take a very different direction, and what is Isobel’s secret?

I rushed to buy this as soon as I saw it was released. I have read and loved Sally’s books before and this one did not disappoint. Read it through in one sitting. I loved the crooks and twists. The characterizations are wonderful. Do yourself a favor and grab this one, but I doubt you’ll get much done once you start!

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

a1qfssvf9l-_ux250_

Connect with me here and on social media: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/connect-with-me-on-social-media/

If you would like to be in the bookstore then here are the promotions that might interest you.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore/

Thank you for dropping by and as always your feedback is appreciated.

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore Author Update – Ali Isaac, N.A. Granger and Sally Cronin


Sally's Cafe and Bookstore Update

Welcome to the first Cafe and Bookstore author update for the week.. My aim is to share updates for all the authors in the bookstore every four to six weeks but it is very useful if you will let me know if you have a new release or an amazing review for one of your existing books.  This does not have to be a review on Amazon or Goodreads but perhaps a review in a blog.

  Just email me... new address for you sallygcronin@gmail.com

51erbryflwl-_uy250_The first author today is Ali Isaac whose blog and books take us all back in time when Ireland was a wild place, governed by many kings and faeries.. Myths and Legends abound about the Emerald Isle and Ali has an amazing talent in bringing them to life for us. The book I am featuring today – Conor Kelly’s Legends of Ireland: A Collection of Irish Myths as Told in the Tir na Nog Trilogy takes us back thousands of years and introduces us to some of the magnificent characters that populated the Irish landscape.

About the book

Come with me on an epic journey four thousand years back in time to the shadowy past of Ireland’s long-lost legend, where fairy kings and Goddesses walked amongst mortals, where love and passion held sway, and where feats of magic, swordsmanship and courage were customary. The Sidhe are waiting to tell you their stories, and you are very welcome..

Two of the reviews for the stories.

I’ve already read two of the ‘Conor Kelly’ trilogy books that mix ancient legends with the adventures and trials of a modern day descendant of the heroes mentioned; and eagerly waiting for the third / final book to become available.
Meanwhile, it was nice to be able to revisit some of the legends by themselves, told in author Ali Isaac’s distinctive and easy to read style and also to find some new stories to enjoy.

I especially appreciate the Glossary of People, Places and Pronunciation at the back of the books. I’d like to see more of Ireland’s legends retold in this way, by this author.

I’m relatively new to Irish mythology and having read several posts on Ali’s blog I became rather intrigued and just had to read this… I’m glad I did. This short work is full of intrigue.

I found myself drawn in and quickly became engrossed as the fantasy world engulfed me. Ali Isaac is a truly gifted story-teller.

The entire work is very well constructed. I especially enjoyed looking through the pronunciations at the end and chuckled at my own which were rather amiss. The work is also grammatically sound.

Buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Conor-Kellys-Legends-Ireland-Collection-ebook/dp/B0156MA1C8

Also by Ali Isaac

51uoefbkfll-_uy250_ 510ryst7wl-_uy250_ 51z5skuc3xl-_uy250_

Read all the reviews for the series and buy the books: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ali-Isaac/e/B008TV9ECW

ali

Connect to Ali via her website: www.aliisaacstoryteller.com

Sally's Cafe and Bookstore Update

My next update is for N.A. Granger (Noelle) and her book  Death by Pumpkin: A Rhe Brewster Mystery (Rhe Brewster Mysteries Book 3) –  E.R. nurse and Police consultant Rhe Brewster is enjoying one of the local events when screams alert her to a tragedy. Noelle has just received another terrific review for the book.

5122bdbz7ql-_uy250_About the book

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

After the police confirm the death as a homicide, Rhe embarks on a statewide search to identify the victim and find the killer. During the course of the emotional investigation, she survives an attempt on her life at 10,000 feet, endures the trauma of witnessing the murder of an old flame, and escapes an arson attack on her family’s home. There is clearly a sociopath on the loose who is gunning for Rhe and leaving bodies behind. With Sam unable to offer his usual support due to an election recall and a needy new girlfriend, Rhe realizes that the only way to stop the insanity is to risk it all and play the killer’s game.

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

The latest review for the book

Crime fiction with engaging characters and a great plot, set in Maine. By Luccia Gray on January 27, 2017

Death by Pumpkin is the third novel in the Rhe Brewster Mysteries, set in Pequod, a fictional town located in the coast of Maine. It can be read as a standalone, but the main characters are so engaging you’ll enjoy the series more if you start reading from book one, Death on a Red Canvas Chair, I loved them all!In book three, Death by Pumpkin, Rhe is recovering emotionally from her husband, Will’s unfaithfulness and murder, while she’s coping with two jobs, as a nurse at the local hospital and as a police department consultant, where her brother-in-law, Sam is the police chief.

She also has a son, Jack, with ADHD, who is her priority.However, Rhe doesn’t wait for life to happen, she is a Rhe is intelligent, resourceful, brave, adventurous, determined, resilient and very loving and generous. In fact, she only has one negative quality is that she’s a terrible cook, although she’s learning!There’s lots of adventure in this instalment, too. A near plane crash, kidnapping, murder, being stalked by a deranged childhood friend.

Rhe will also have to cope with Sam’s unusual emotional coolness due to his new girlfriend, as well as student protests leading to a recall of his job as chief of police, which he’ll have to reapply for, with uncertain results.The plot is neatly wrapped up at the end, but how will Rhe’s emotional life move forward? And which new crimes will she have to solve? Looking forward to book four, Death in Mudfat.Anyone who likes crime fiction set in an American town with engaging characters and a great plot will enjoy this novel.

Read all the reviews and Buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Death-Pumpkin-Brewster-Mystery-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B01IM29OF4

Also by N.A. Granger

515qsuve6yl-_uy250_ 51vukhrintl-_uy250_

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/N.A.-Granger/e/B00DN6I8GQ

index

Connect to Noelle via her website: https://saylingaway.wordpress.com/

Sally's Cafe and Bookstore Update

As I prepare for the release of my latest short story collection in a few weeks, it was lovely to receive this review of my last baby.. Tales from the Garden. We all get wrapped up in our latest project and it is easy to forget that there is an ever evolving audience online who may not have heard of your book yet..It is important to remind people from time to time about these older books and give them a chance to shine again. If you have more than one then it is quite useful to put them all together in a composite image..

tales-from-the-garden-cover

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.

The latest review from Paul Andruss – January 31st 2017 – http://www.paul-andruss.com/

Sally Cronin is a superb short story writer. Her work effortlessly uses an uncluttered economical style to create charming classic narratives; rich in description and punctuated by subtle humour.

Tales from The Garden is a book of 9 short but delightful modern fairy stories and concludes with her mother’s reminiscences of a lifetime of gardens. It is fitting Sally finishes her book with the tale of her mother’s life because the stories contained in Tales from the Garden are meant to be passed down the generations.

While reading I kept falling into reverie. Sometimes I felt like a youngster. Then I could hear my grandmother’s voice reading the stories to me at bedtime.

At other times, my point of view abruptly shifted; often prompted by Sally’s gentle unobtrusive humour, unashamedly aimed at adults. Now I was a parent or even a grandparent reading the story in a cosy lamp lit bedroom on a long winter evening, breaking only to steal swift affectionate glances over the top of the book, watching the new generation, wide–eyed with wonder, fighting not to fall asleep.

At such times, it felt like I was not reading a story at all. Rather, it was though I knew it by heart and was now passing down some precious whispered secret as it had once been passed to me.

So what is it about this book that casts such a spell?

As the title says the individual but thematically related stories centre round a verdant summer garden with stone statuary, old and new. This magical place has a life its own, hidden from the mortal owners, except for once every 500 years when the two worlds collide – no doubt precipitated by the long anticipated return of the Emperor. And just who that is, you will have to find out for yourself.

Guarded for centuries by two stone lions the garden is not only a place of sanctuary for wild creatures, but also shelters a bona-fide fairy kingdom within an old magnolia tree. Comic elements are introduced into the stories in the form of a rock band, who hang out with a totally unexpected hippy. The rock band was banned from playing at fairy balls because… And now perhaps I am giving too much away.

Queen Filigree, who rules Magia, told me in no uncertain terms she would much prefer you to discover the adventures of her subjects and the garden’s motley denizens for yourself, rather than learn them second-hand from an old gas-bag who should know better.

As ever your majesty, you wish is my command.

But being an old gas-bag, as you so kindly pointed out, let me just have one final word on the last chapter.

In my heart, I felt the book is really all about Mollie Coleman. An ordinary woman of extraordinary life and beloved mother who just like a fairy queen, once upon a time, and long, long ago, spun a spell on a little girl who grew up to write…

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

Also by Sally Cronin

sgc-book-covers-9x-web

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

I have a space left in Friday’s Cafe and Bookstore update if you have news about your books.. Please check your entry in the directory to make sure it is still correct and then email me on sallygcronin@gmail.com

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore/

If you are new to the blog and would like to join the other authors in the bookstore which leads to regular promotional updates then please look at this post.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/smorgasbord-free-author-and-blogger-promotion-2017/

Thank you for dropping by today and I hope you have enjoyed the updates for us all.

Thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Short Stories – The First Date by Sally Cronin


short-stories-twoThe First Date

Kathleen viewed her face in the mirror. She sighed as she observed the crow’s feet at the corner of her eyes. They said it was a sign of character and a sunny personality; crease lines from a life of laughter. That could be said to be true of most of the last twenty-five years of marriage to Malcolm. Rarely did a day go by that he had not teased her into a smile or offered up a pun that made her laugh despite the corniness.

It was not just the laughter that they had shared, but passions for theatre, the cinema, books and exotic foods. There was so little that they disagreed about over the years. Kathleen struggled to remember any real arguments that had intruded into the happiness that wrapped around them like a comforting blanket.

They had travelled far and wide across all the continents taking advantage of his generous salary and the occasional business trips that she accompanied him on. The scents and sights of Africa and India had thrilled them as they held hands and watched glorious sunsets. The rugged terrain of Alaska and the Rockies had tested their stamina and the deep blue colour of the Pacific Ocean had beguiled them. A storehouse of experiences all accompanied by love and laughter and a sense that it would last forever. They had never had children unfortunately, but Malcolm claimed to be happy to just have her all to himself.

But suddenly all that love and laughter was gone and the years together faded into wisps of elusive memory as each day passed. Those friends that she had confided in about her grief and emptiness had offered advice and support for the last six months. They all assured her that was time to face the future head on. She needed to accept that she could not wallow in this self-pity and denial any longer.

She had laughed to herself when she first saw the website that Molly had pointed out to her one morning as they shared coffee in the village just after Christmas. An online dating agency that proudly boasted a near perfect record of finding your soulmate; that one person meant just for you. Molly had been on the site for nearly a year and she had certainly pushed the boundaries of those claims to the limit; she had kept their small circle of mutual friends very entertained with her experiences.

She had brought up the site on her laptop and Kathleen had sat beside her, browsing the various enticements offered by the men posting. Her eye had been immediately drawn to one post that Molly had marked. She read the words to herself, and then again aloud to fully understand what she was seeing. She had believed for so long that Malcolm was the one and only perfect match for her that she was shocked and intrigued at the same time.

Single, tall, fun loving and handsome 55 year old seeks long term relationship with attractive female 30 – 45 years old. Must have a good sense of humour, enjoy the theatre, cinema, fine dining and travelling to exotic locations. Located in London but willing to travel to meet. Box Number 1596

She had looked over at Molly to share her amazement and found her staring down at her hands cupped around the coffee cup.

“Is something the matter Molly?” Kathleen was unused to Molly being subdued and quiet.

Slowly Molly looked up from her cappucino and smiled fondly at her friend.

“I was going to meet this guy for dinner but changed my mind when I saw him sitting at the table in the restaurant,” she paused and looked through the cafe window as if trying to choose her words carefully. “I know how much you still love Malcolm, but I think that it is time that you faced the reality of your situation and look to the future.”

Molly tapped the advertisement on the screen with her immaculately manicured nail. “You need to arrange to meet this man and confront your fear of losing everything you have treasured from the past.”

The two women parted company outside the cafe and Kathleen drove home to the empty house that she had shared with Malcolm for so many years. It was far too big for the two of them especially when he had been away on business trips alone leaving her for several weeks at a time. She had hoped at one point to fill the rooms with children’s laughter, but somehow it was never the right time for one reason or another.

Kathleen knew that Molly was right. She could no longer hide away from life; she needed to face the future whatever it held. She rang her friend’s mobile number and asked her to come over the next morning to help her upload a profile to the site to enable her to respond to the advertisement.

So here she was, getting ready for her first date in over twenty-five years with a man called Andrew. When her own profile had been activated, she had replied to the box number in his advertisement and over the next week they had exchanged a number of emails via the site. Although he was eager to know more about her, Kathleen had been reticient to offer her personal email or too much information until she met him face to face.

She had changed her mind several times about what to wear for this first encounter, finally deciding to wear a new dress she had bought on a whim a few weeks ago. Malcolm had always insisted she looked perfect in pastel colours and this daring emerald green number would have certainly provoked some comment. She had also been to a new hairdresser this morning and requested a radical new look. Gone was the long auburn hair that Malcolm said suited her best; in its stead was a sleek blonde shoulder length bob.

Finally she stood in front of the long mirror in their bedroom and viewed the transformation. Kathleen took several moments to get used to the new image and then smiled as she decided that she liked it. Picking up a colourful floral scarf to put around her shoulders and grabbing her handbag, she walked down to the kitchen to order a taxi.

She deliberately arrived at the restaurant fifteen minutes early and was shown to a discreet table in the corner. Kathleen could not remember when she had been this nervous and sipped the water provided by the waiter when he left the two menus. She kept glancing at the door of the restaurant apprehensively. She knew that Andrew would have to ask directions to the table as he would not recognise her, particularly in the dimly lit room. On the table to the right of her place setting was a bulky envelope. Andrew in one of his recent emails had suggested that she might bring some photographs of the places that she had visited on her trips and that he would do likewise. A talking point to break the ice.

Closing her eyes she took a deep breath and tried to calm her nerves. When she opened them again she saw a tall, good looking man standing in the entrance to the dining area. He managed to get the attention of one of the waiters who then pointed out Kathleen sitting in the corner table. He walked confidently across with a warm smile on his face until he stood in front of her. Andrew looked into her eyes and he gasped.

“Hello Malcolm.” Kathleen attempted to keep the quiver out of her voice. ” I see that you are not at the New York head office after all this week. Please sit down as we have a great deal to talk about.” Taken aback by his usually complacent wife’s new look and the rigid set of her mouth, he complied ungraciously; flinging his coat on the back of one of the chairs. She pushed the envelope across the table towards him and as his fingers closed over the bulky package she smiled sadly.

“Perhaps we should start by discussing these divorce papers.”

©sallycronin What’s in Name 2017

I hope that you have enjoyed my story … your feedback is always very welcome.  Thanks Sally

 

 

 

Smorgasbord Health 2017 – Weight Reduction – Some meal options


Smorgasbord Health 2017

I know that I said that I would leave you to decide what you ate based on your shopping list that I gave you at the beginning of this series.  But, I also know that boredom can set in and you can find yourself sticking to a few tried and tested meals in case you get too adventurous and put weight back on.

I am cheating with this as this post is Chapter Fifteen of my book Size Matters… but it will give you a few alternative ideas for your main meals and snacks.

41MyNOQWWNL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_

This chapter outlines the building blocks of your personal programme. You must adjust the amount of food you eat according to your weight and I have included some guidelines for you to follow. Do not miss your snacks as these will help maintain your blood sugar levels throughout the day and minimise your cravings for sweet or starchy foods. There is a great deal of information now on the web that was not available twenty years ago and you will find differing opinions on the subject of snacking between meals. It depends what you snack on firstly. If it is a biscuit, bar of chocolate or a cupcake then you are not going to get far. But, when you are first beginning a healthy eating programme the first words that usually pop into your mind is ‘deprivation’ and ‘starvation’.

That is the last thing that your body needs and neither does your newly adopted willpower. There will come a time when you won’t need to snack between meals and for those of you who need to lose in excess of three stone or more, I suggest that you enjoy your mid-morning, mid-afternoon and supper snack for several weeks or even months. I lost 150lbs in 18 months eating between meals and combined with some regular exercise it is a strategy that works for most of us.

The options that I suggest for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks are just that, options. Variety not only prevents you getting bored with a particular diet but also ensures that you are getting the widest possible range of nutrients. Keep checking your food groups and make sure you are including all of them as regularly as possible.

I know that there is a new train of thought that precludes all carbohydrates from the diet but I am not in favour. Wholegrains have been a part of our human diet for thousands of years and there is evidence that we were eating wild grains as far back as early man. They provide important nutrients and fibre and should be included in moderate amounts. If you do not have a very active lifestyle then reduce to a handful with breakfast and lunch and leave off your evening meal.

First though, you need to adapt the following programme for your own individual requirements. If you suffer from Candida then you need to be careful of the amount of sugar and yeast that you are consuming. I recommend that you find a source for yeast and sugar-free bread from either a local baker or a health food shop. Fruit is too full of nutrients to give up completely and I suggest that you eat apples and pears, as they have the lowest amount of sugars, and only drink fruit juices sparingly. Apart from that you should be able to follow the basic programme adjusting it in the same way as someone without Candida.

Notes

  • Eat the programme exactly if you need to lose up to 3 stone or are a woman.
  • If you are a man, and need to lose up to 3 stone, you need to add 2 snacks per day to the programme.
  • If you need to lose 3–5 stone add one extra snack per day.
  • If you need to lose 5–7 stone add two extra snacks per day.
  • Breakfasts
  • Always eat breakfast and begin with a fresh vegetable juice. I recommend carrot juice – a small glass.
  • Cereals should be natural and sugar-free. Use chopped fruit to sweeten, or a teaspoon of honey, in preference to refined sugars or artificial sweeteners.
  • If you need to lose more than 42 lbs. (3 st or 19 kg) then you can add a piece of whole-grain toast with tomato and a drizzle of olive oil or mashed banana.

Seven Basic Breakfasts – small glass of juice not half a litre….

  1. Vegetable juice, porridge oats, tsp. honey, skimmed milk, a pear and a cup of tea.
  2. Carrot and apple juice, poached egg on slice of whole grain toast, drizzle of olive oil, seasoning and a cup of tea.
  3. Bowl of fresh fruit salad, low fat yoghurt, and slice of toast with modicum of butter. Cup of tea.
  4. Carrot juice, 2 Weetabix, semi-skimmed milk, fresh raspberries and a cup of tea.
  5. Banana smoothie made with one banana, 400 ml semi-skimmed milk and 1 oz. of porridge oats. Cup of tea.
  6. Apple juice, Shredded Wheat with semi-skimmed milk and fresh strawberries and 10 gms of chopped almonds. Cup of tea.
  7. Carrot juice, two scrambled egg, one rasher of salt-free bacon and one slice of whole grain toast with a drizzle of olive oil.

Note: you can eat anything you want for breakfast.. do not think that you have to start with eggs or cereal.. you can also have chicken breast and mushrooms, spinach and tomato if you fancy it!

Seven Lunch Suggestions – I always include a small amount of wholegrains in my lunch though I usually skip with my main meal at night.

wholegrains

  1. Large jacket potato with herbs and seasoning. Fresh raw vegetable salad made from tomato, cucumber, broccoli, carrot, rocket and raw onion. Drizzle potato and salad with 20 ml of seasoned olive oil – (useful if you are eating out).
  2. Brown rice pilaff with onions, mushrooms served with a baby leaf spinach and tomato salad. Can be reheated at work.
  3. One corn tortilla filled with steamed red peppers, onions, and 100 gms of chicken breast. Home-made salsa with onions, tomatoes, celery, garlic and a little olive oil.
  4. 200 gms of cooked whole grain pasta with home-made tomato, basil, onion, mushroom and celery sauce. Can be served cold and taken to work.
  5. Mashed potato and vegetable pie. Mash potato with semi-skimmed milk and herbs. Vegetable filling made from steamed carrots, onions, mushrooms, leeks in a tomato puree sauce baked in the oven with 2 oz. of grated Edam cheese. Can be reheated at work.
  6. Sandwiches – if you cannot have a prepared lunch of your choice then try to make sandwiches to take to work. You can have one round of whole grain sandwiches with lean fillings such as salad, chicken breast, tinned salmon or tuna, tomato and banana. Have two pieces of fruit or a fruit juice. (Sunday evening supper)
  7. Stir-fried vegetables served on brown rice. Use 20 ml of olive oil and seasoning, finely chopped celery, onion, broccoli, spinach, bean sprouts and mushrooms.

Seven Dinner Selections

Dandelion greens salad

Begin each dinner option with a bowl of fresh salad – e.g. mixed leaves, tomato, cucumber, pepper, celery – and 10 ml of olive oil and seasoning.

Three or four times a week include half a chopped avocado. This will not only be very nutritious but also knock the edge off your hunger.

  1. Roast Mediterranean vegetables with carrots, aubergine, courgettes, squash, onions and mushrooms drizzled with olive oil and roasted. Serve with a large lamb chop.
  2. Grilled turkey or chicken breast with carrots, broccoli, cauliflower and green bean mix.
  3. Roast salmon with stuffed peppers (chopped mushroom, onion, courgette sprinkled with 1 oz. of Edam cheese). Serve with broccoli or spinach.
  4. Lean steak with roast Mediterranean vegetables.
  5. White fish, lightly grilled with olive oil and seasoning. Mashed carrots and green beans.
  6. Weekend dinner. Half an avocado and prawns with olive oil and herb dressing. Calves liver and onions, mashed parsnips, mixed green vegetables. Two glasses of white or red wine.
  7. Sunday lunch. Roast beef with carrots, broccoli and green beans. Dry roast potatoes and home-made gravy made from the meat juices and a little corn flour.

Snack Options which means keeping it down to a small plate.. not a dinner plate!

walnut

Three a day unless you require more for your individual weight.

  1. Banana and green tea
  2. Apple and orange.
  3. Carrot juice and an orange
  4. 2 rye crisp bread with sliced tomato and drizzle of olive oil.
  5. Fresh fruit salad and ½ pot of yoghurt.
  6. 10 walnut halves
  7. Slice of whole grain toast and mashed banana
  8. Half a melon filled with strawberries and a live yoghurt drink.
  9. Strawberry smoothie with 400 ml semi-skimmed milk – 10 strawberries and some crushed ice.
  10. Pot of sugar free yoghurt mixed with 1 oz. of porridge oats.

You can find all the other posts in the series on Weight Reduction in this directory.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/weight-reduction-programme-2017/

©sallycronin 2016

Please feel free to ask any questions in the comment section and if you would like a private word then please email me sally.cronin@moyhill.com.

 

Smorgasbord Short Stories – New Year’s Eve by Sally Cronin


short-stories-twoNew Year’s Eve by Sally Cronin

Kenneth Fitzgerald looked across the crowded ballroom at the woman that he had loved for a lifetime. Georgina was surrounded by attentive male admirers, and was holding court as she always did, with elegance and grace. He watched as she tilted her head to one side to listen to the young man sitting next to her, cupping her hand delicately behind her ear, to better hear his comments over the sound of the band.

The handsome companion was her grandson Timothy, and even at first glance you could see the resemblance; the same blue eyes, golden hair colour and a long refined nose. Georgie was 90 years old and yet her beauty was undiminished. Kenneth knew he was biased. He remembered his stunned reaction to meeting her for the first time over 70 years ago, in this same ballroom on New Year’s Eve 1935.

Georgina Crowley was the daughter of a millionaire financier who had managed to survive the Wall Street crash in 1929, by converting his wealth in previous years, into a renowned art collection. Malcolm Crowley was an astute businessman and had never squandered his money on the trappings of wealth. He had also salted away cash and jewellery on his various international travels, providing a comfortable buffer for the family, and those that had worked for him loyally over the last thirty years.

He was as canny with his three children as he was with his wealth. His two sons had followed him into the firm after studying for business degrees , and Georgina had also been encouraged to go to college, where she was now training to be a teacher. Malcolm firmly believed that all his children should have skills that could support them, should the financial climate not improve significantly in his lifetime. That is not to say that his youngest child did not also enjoy the benefits of being part of a wealthy family. Georgina was known to have exquisite taste, and her slim figure was the perfect shape to model the latest fashions. To be fair, many of the designs were copied from the leading fashion magazines, and recreated on her treasured Singer sewing machine

Kenneth brought himself back to the present and felt his heart pounding in his chest. It was the same every year, when he remembered that first New Year’s Eve, when he had fallen madly in love at first sight with Georgina Crowley. It had not been a one-sided infatuation, and at that first touch of her delicate hand in his own, he had felt a tremor that caused him to look up into her face. Her pink lips had parted in surprise and her smile dazzled him.

They had danced all night circling the floor; perfectly matched in their love of the foxtrot and quickstep. The other partygoers had moved to one side to watch this golden couple as they seamlessly moved from one dance to another. Even Malcolm Crowley paused in his discussions with a group of men, to watch his daughter’s delight in this young man’s embrace.

Kenneth had wanted to kiss those pink lips at midnight but was aware of the scrutiny from those around them. He had whispered in Georgina’s ear as they waltzed to the final tune of the old year.

‘Shall we slip away at midnight and find some moon and starlight?’

She had looked into his eyes and smiled, nodding her head in agreement.

As the clock struck midnight, Georgina rushed to her parents at their table and kissed and hugged them both. In the ensuing melee, as the other guests did likewise, the two of them had slipped out of the large double doors at the end of the ballroom. Kenneth had guided her to his car parked along the drive. He grabbed a blanket from the back seat of the roadster and placed it around Georgina’s shoulders before helping her into the front seat. He raced around to the other side of the car and within minutes they were roaring down the hill from the house into the dark night.

Kenneth drove carefully as the road was slick with ice and he was aware that he was responsible for a very precious cargo. Although it was a cold night he knew just the place to take Georgina on this magical occasion. A spot high above the city, where the lights and sounds of New Year’s Eve would provide a backdrop for their first kiss.

He looked across at Georgina as she clasped the plaid blanket around her bare shoulders, and smiled at her obvious delight at this adventure. His eyes were only off the road for seconds, but it was still long enough for him to miss the broken down car around a curve in the road.

He regained consciousness and raised his hand to his forehead; it came away wet and sticky. He wiped blood from his eyes and tried to move his body. Finally he was able to push himself into a sitting position against the upturned roadster and he desperately looked for Georgina. The moon came out from behind a cloud and he took a sharp intake of breath as he saw her crumpled form by the rear bumper of the car. He crawled across and managed to pull her crushed and lifeless body into his arms… his heart was pounding in his chest and he tried to wake her by touching her face and calling her name. After several minutes he rested his head back against the car and he knew that she was gone.

‘Please, please do not take her … it is my fault and it should be me… take me… please take me and save her.’

On New Year’s Day, Georgie asked her youngest grandson to drive her to the cemetery. She came here often to visit her husband’s grave. Phillip had been a wonderful man and she had grown to love him during the long summer of 1942. They had twin sons born in 1944 but tragically Phillip had been killed in the last weeks of the war. He had been brought home and buried in the Crowley family plot close by her house and their sons.  She still missed his loving kindness.  However, she admitted to herself that it was a different kind of love to the one that has swept her off her feet that magical New Year’s Eve in 1935.

Whilst her grandson watched from the car, Georgina spent some minutes at Phillip’s monument. Then walking carefully, leaning on her stick, she moved down the icy path until she stopped before another gravestone. Tears gathered in her pale blue eyes as she read the inscription.

Kenneth Fitzgerald
Beloved son and brother.
1910 – 1935
Killed in an automobile accident.

It was 70 years ago, and yet every New Year’s Day, Georgie relived those dreadful first moments when she had woken in the hospital. She had a dreadful headache but thankfully didn’t seem to have any other major injuries. Her mother and father were sitting by her bedside and Malcolm gently took her hand in his. Her first words were asking for Kenneth, and she still remembered the look of anguish on her father’s face as he braced himself to tell her the news.

She touched the top of the headstone and smiled to herself. He had been there again last night at the family ball, watching from the shadows as he had done every year, and she had felt that same giddy feeling as that first New Year’s Eve. She suspected that this time however it was more likely that her medication was no longer effective in keeping her failing heart beating.

She felt a touch on her shoulder and looked up into the smiling face of her grandson.

‘Time to go Gran.. It is getting cold and I need to get you back home.’

Georgie took his arm and they moved carefully up the path. She turned for one last look at Kenneth’s grave.

She whispered to herself. ‘Next year my love, next year we will dance again together on New Year’s Eve.’

 

 

©sallycronin 2016

Laughter the best medicine – From the Archives – Parrots, Hamsters and Polo Mints!


funny_dog_01

What’s in a name?
Late one night, a burglar broke into a house that he thought was empty. He tiptoed through the living room but suddenly froze in his tracks when a loud cried out:

“Jesus is watching you.”

Silence returned to the house, so the burglar crept forward again.

“Jesus is watching you,” the voice boomed again.

The burglar stopped dead in his tracks. He looked around frantically. In a dark corner, he spotted a bird cage and in the cage was a parrot.

“Was that you who said Jesus is watching me?” he asked.

“Yes”, said the parrot.

The burglar breathed a sigh of relief, then he asked the parrot: “What’s your name?”

“Clarence,” said the bird.

“That’s a dumb name for a parrot,” sneered the burglar. “What idiot named you Clarence?”

“The same idiot who named the Rottweiler Jesus,” the parrot replied.

1907937_10152852912142819_2982481033406331189_n

Opera for peanuts
A man went into a bar and said to the bartender, “If you give me free drinks all night, I will entertain your customers so much they will stay all night and drink lots and lots.”

“Oh yes,” says the bartender. “How are you going to do that?” The man gets a hamster out of his pocket and puts it on the piano. The hamster runs up and down the keyboard playing the greatest piano music anyone had ever heard.

“That’s incredible!” says the bartender. “Have you got anything else?”

The man gets a parrot out of his other pocket and puts it on the bar. The hamster begins to play the piano again and the parrot sings along – sounding just like Pavarotti. Everyone in the bar is amazed and stayed all night drinking and listening to the hamster and parrot.

The bartender is delighted.“I must have these animals. Will you sell them to me?” he asks.

The man shook his head no. “Will you sell just one then?” asks the bartender.

“OK, I’ll sell you the parrot for $100” the man says.

The bartender is delighted and hands over the money.

Another man standing next to the man who owned the hamster said, “You’re a bit stupid selling that clever parrot for only $100”. “No I’m not,” the man replied. “The hamster is a ventriloquist”!!!

1012802_629021450477737_933562737_n

In court
A prosecuting attorney called his first witness, a grandmotherly, elderly woman, to the stand. He approached her and asked, “Mrs. Jones, do you know me?”

She responded, “Why, yes, I do know you Mr. Williams. I’ve known you
since you were a young boy. And frankly, you’ve been a big
disappointment to me. You lie, you cheat on your wife, you manipulate people and talk about them behind their backs. You think you’re a rising big shot
when you haven’t the brains to realize you never will amount to
anything more than a two-bit paper pusher. Yes, I know you.”

The lawyer was stunned. Not knowing what else to do he pointed across
the room and asked, “Mrs. Williams, do you know the defense attorney?”
She again replied, “Why, yes I do. I’ve known Mr. Bradley since he
was a youngster, too. I used to baby-sit him for his parents. And he,
too, has been a real disappointment to me. He’s lazy, bigoted,
he has a drinking problem. The man can’t build a normal relationship with anyone
and his law practice is one of the shoddiest in the entire state. Yes,
I know him.”

At this point, the judge rapped the courtroom to silence and called
both counsellors to the bench. In a very quiet voice, he said with menace,
“If either of you asks her if she knows me, you’ll be jailed for
contempt!”

10858001_10152908615806740_9051095730437155016_nMile High Club
The aircraft was on its final approach and after making his announcement to the passengers, the captain forgot to switch off the PA system.

‘As soon as we land I am going to have a cold beer and then make passionate love to that red-headed flight attendant.’

The flight attendant in question was shocked and began a hurried dash to the cockpit before anything else incriminating was revealed.

She was in such a hurry that she tripped over a suitcase sticking out into the aisle and fell in a heap. A little old lady leant over to her. ‘No need to rush dear,’ she said, ‘he said he was going to have a cold beer first.’

1620942_394200790741760_4814620165272927036_n

Never underestimate the power of polo mints.
The trainer was giving last minute instructions to the jockey and appeared to slip something in the horse’s mouth just as a steward passed by.

‘What was that?’ inquired the steward.

‘Oh, nothing,’ said the trainer, ‘just a polo mint.’ He offered one to the steward. ‘Here, have one. And I’ll have one myself.’

After the suspicious steward had left the scene the trainer continued with his riding instructions. ‘Just keep the horse on the rails. You are on a certainty. The only thing that could possibly pass you down the straight is either the steward or me.’

10933835_637249416380139_5469072875504992026_n

Laughter and music are food groups and should be taken into consideration when planning your weekly meals.  Please feel free to spread the smiles around.  Sally

 

Hugh’s Weekly Photo Challenge – Week 22 – Group


Delighted to have the opportunity to respond to the Hugh Roberts Weekly Photo Challenge and this week it is to share a photograph of a group of some kind. Hugh’s Challenge Week 22

For this week’s challenge show Hugh what Group means to you. Maybe it’s a pop group or a group of people all of whom have something in common? Maybe it’s a group of animals or a group of objects in a store?

Want to join the fun? Here’s what you need to do.

1. Take or choose a photo that you’ve taken which, for you, depicts Group.
2. Create a new post on your blog entitled “Hugh’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Week 22 – “Group”
3. Add the photo(s) you have taken to the post and tell us a little about what you are showing.
4. Create a *pingback to this post or leave a link to your post in the comments section below so that other participants can view the post.

Not sure how to create a pingback? Click here for a step by step guide on how to create one.

*As Pingbacks have not been working on WordPress over the last few weeks, please leave a link to your post in the comments section of Hugh’s original post so that he can see your entry.

Here is my entry.. Taken on a wet and windy day in Bray here in Ireland. I was missing my own group of geese and ducks on our local lake in Parquelagos so I took some grain and corn down to the little harbour and was going to leave it along the edge for the swans.. next thing I knew they were surrounding me and very politely eating out of my hands. None were very aggressive and a quick word and a wagging finger soon sorted that out.

Bray-Swans-2

Thanks for the prompt Hugh..

 

Smorgasbord Open House – Author Amy M. Reade


112-1286_IMG

Welcome to the first Smorgasbord Open House from Ireland and today I am delighted to welcome USA Today Bestselling author Amy M. Reade. Amy writes women’s contemporary and gothic fiction. Her books have been compared to authors such as Daphne du Maurier, Phyllis Whitney, and Victoria Holt. Amy’s novels feature vivid descriptions of exotic and fascinating locations, such as the Thousand Islands region of New York State, Charleston, South Carolina, and the Big Island of Hawaii.

A former attorney, Amy found that writing was her true calling, and is currently working on a new project, a series set in Edinburgh, Scotland. She loves cooking, reading, and travel. You can visit her website, http://www.amymreade.com, where, in addition to information about her books and appearances, you will find a contact form, suggested playlists to go along with her novels, and notes and recommendations on wines.

Amy’s latest book is available for pre-order and will be delivered to your kindle on April 26th. Pre-Order House of the Hanging Jade

About House of the Hanging Jade

House of the Hanging Jade cover with USA Today

A dark presence had invaded the Jorgensens’ house. On a spectacular bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, something evil is watching and waiting . . .

Tired of the cold winters in Washington, D.C. and disturbed by her increasingly obsessive boyfriend, Kailani Kanaka savors her move back to her native Big Island of Hawaii. She also finds a new job as personal chef for the Jorgensen family. The gentle caress of the Hawaiian trade winds, the soft sigh of the swaying palm trees, and the stunning blue waters of the Pacific lull her into a sense of calm at the House of Hanging Jade–an idyll that quickly fades as it becomes apparent that dark secrets lurk within her new home. Furtive whispers in the night, a terrifying shark attack, and the discovery of a dead body leave Kailani shaken and afraid. But it’s the unexpected appearance of her ex-boyfriend, tracking her every move and demanding she return to him, that has her fearing for her life .

Other Books by Amy Reade

51dikCmd-RL._UY250_

One of the great reviews for the book

Outstanding! Could not put it down! By Kathleen Charon on April 29, 2015 Format: Paperback Verified Purchase

I have just finished the Ghosts of Peppernell Manor and literally could not put it down! It is exactly the type of book that I love…..a little bit gothic with the old house and it’s secrets, mysterious death and clean romance. I got exactly what I expected and I enjoyed every minute of escape that this book gave me. I was not able to solve the mystery before the reveal so that was enjoyable for me as well. Overall, a fantastic read!

51ZVVg+UJjL._UY250_

Delightful discovery! By Kathleen Charon on April 22, 2015 Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
When I was younger, I read Victoria Holt and Phyllis Whitney books all the time. I have looked in vain for other authors who write similar books. I am so pleased that I found Ms Reade. I could not stop reading this book, I enjoyed the pacing and the characters very much. Some plot twists seemed sudden but I was not able to figure out the ending. It was a clean story and no overt violence. I am anxious to read other books by this author.

Buy all the books.
Amazon        Barnes & Noble       Kobo      iTunes     Google Play      Kensington Publishing      Indie Bound

Amy M. Reade the Blogger

Amy has a terrific blog and you will find interviews, guest blogs, book recommendations, recipes and articles on wine.  Later on in today’s post you will find a delicious recipe that will give you a good idea of the food ideas you will find on the blog. Here is a link to one of her recent author interviews with Phyllis Moore.

I am now going to hand over to Amy to find out more about her life and work through the questions she has chosen to answer

2013 1548

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

If I could meet anyone from the past, I would choose Zelda Fitzgerald, wife of author F. Scott Fitzgerald.

I would want to know all about living in Paris in the early twentieth century- where she liked to go for fun, where she lived, which restaurants she liked to visit, how people dressed.

I would also ask her about her own writing, since as I understand it she was a very good writer whose work was always considered less important than that of her husband.

I’d also want to know about all her friends in Paris- I’d ask about Ernest and Hadley Hemingway, Picasso, Gertrude Stein and, of course, F. Scott.

What I know about Zelda Fitzgerald comes, of course, from the things I’ve read about her. And from that basis of knowledge, I’ve learned that she wasn’t too different from any other person, living or dead. She had her problems, just like everyone else. And one of her problems was the constant struggle to maintain her “self.” I would tell her that I admire her determination and desire to forge and keep her own identity despite living in the overarching shadows of her husband and their friends. I would tell her that her writing and her dancing were good for her. I would tell her that someday doctors would find effective treatments for the mental illnesses she faced and that I’m sorry she had to spend so much of her life fighting her own demons.

Which is your favourite leisure pastime?

It’s a toss-up between reading and cooking, and since I discuss cooking in Question #4, I’ll tell you about my favourite books and authors.

 51+rXez-GaL._SX304_BO1,204,203,200_

I’ve had a number of favourite authors, beginning with Carolyn Keene of Nancy Drew fame, continuing with James Herriot, and bringing us up to the present with Jane Austen, Ernest Hemingway, Phyllis Whitney, and M. C. Beaton. My favourite author at any given time depends on my mood.

murder in the south of france

I’m currently reading four books: Murder in the South of France by Susan Kiernan-Lewis, White Nights by Ann Cleeves, Trials Elsewhere by Robin Isard, and The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi. It’s not like me to read four books at once- normally I’m a one-at-a-time reader, but things got a bit out of control and I’ll be back to my normal habits as soon as I finish this quartet!

Who is the best actor or actress you have ever seen on television or film and tell us why.

I don’t even have to think about this one. The answer is Cary Grant. I have yet to see a movie starring Cary Grant that I don’t love. Why is he my favourite? I think it’s because his comedic timing is perfect. Whether he’s raising an eyebrow or clearing his throat at just the right moment, or delivering a line in his characteristic tongue-in-cheek manner, he gets it just right and I don’t think he learned that from a director. I think that was just his way.

Incidentally, the two movies I watch over and over again are “Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House” and “The Bishop’s Wife.” Cary Grant plays opposite Myrna Loy and Loretta Young, respectively. During the Christmas season, “The Bishop’s Wife” is my favourite movie. During the rest of the year, it’s got to be “Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House.”

If you cook do you have a signature dish that everyone loves to eat? Can we have the recipe?

I love to cook. Baking is my specialty, though as I get older all the baking I do becomes more obvious on my hips and thighs. I’m going to give you two recipes: one is my signature dish, Parmesan Chicken (not to be confused with Chicken Parmesan) and the other is Rhubarb Cake, a dessert which my whole family loves (and it’s easy—not even from scratch! Shhh…).

*Cook’s Disclaimer: neither of these can in any way be considered healthy*

Parmesan Chicken
 
1 c. seasoned bread crumbs
½ c. grated Parmesan cheese
½ c. melted butter
2 t. Dijon mustard
1 t. Worcestershire sauce
½ t. salt (optional)
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

In a shallow bowl combine bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese; mix well. In another shallow bowl combine butter, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and salt; mix well.

Dredge chicken through butter mixture, then through bread crumb mixture.

Place chicken in a 13 x 9 inch baking dish. Pour remaining butter mixture over chicken. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour, basting with butter mixture once or twice.

Serves 6.

Rhubarb Cake

1 pkg. (18 ½ oz.) yellow cake mix and ingredients to make it
5 c. diced rhubarb
1 c. sugar
1 c. heavy cream

Mix cake as directed on the package. Pour batter into a greased 13 x 9 inch baking dish.

Sprinkle rhubarb over batter. Sprinkle with sugar. Pour cream over the top. DO NOT MIX THE LAYERS.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes.

Tell us about your work in progress, plans for your blog in the next year any special events that are coming up that are very special to you.

My work in progress: I have been contracted by my publisher to write a three-book series set in the United Kingdom. Right now I’m working on Book 1, and although I have a working title for it, we haven’t come up with an official title yet. Otherwise I’d share it with you now! The three books will be in the same genre as my first three novels- women’s fiction with a gothic feel to them. I’m very excited about writing these books, and I’ve enjoyed every minute of writing the first in the series. It’s set mostly in Edinburgh and I have a field trip planned for research!

My blog: My goal this year is to increase the number of authors I have on the blog either guest posting or participating in interviews. It’s been a good year so far, and I enjoyed having you on the blog, Sally. (Thanks Amy, I enjoyed that very much too)

Upcoming events: By the time this posts, I will have attended Malice Domestic in Bethesda, MD, US. It’s a convention bringing together writers and fans of traditional and less traditional cozy mysteries, as well as agents and editors.

I’m also planning on participating in a river cruise (a one-day affair) on the St. Lawrence River during the summer with a couple other authors. Since that’s the area where I grew up, I’m very excited about that.

I also have two other author/fan festivals planned for this year: the Suffolk Mystery Authors Festival in Suffolk, VA, US, and Bouchercon, in New Orleans, LA, US. It’s going to be a busy year!

Thanks very much for including me in the Open House, Sally. I have enjoyed the experience and will be happy to respond to any questions or comments your readers might have.

Connect with Amy via her website and social media links:

Website: http://www.amymreade.com
Blog: http://www.amreade.wordpress.com
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8189243.Amy_M_Reade
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/amreadeauthor
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/readeandwrite
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/amreade

My thanks to Amy for her great responses to the questions and also for providing two recipes that will just have to be attempted…. my chances of getting out of those elasticated waistbands is diminishing fast.

Please feel free to share Amy’s interview and we would love your feedback.  Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

The Saturday Round Up – Kim Troike, William Price King and Nat King Cole.. time to get the party started.


Welcome to the first of the round ups from Ireland where we are currently staying with David’s father for a couple of weeks whilst we house hunt and look at getting a car. It is actually been as cold as back in Madrid but the sun has been shining here which is a pleasant surprise.

Now it is time to look forward although we bring with us happy memories and friendships that unlike bricks and mortar are mobile. We hope to show our Spanish friends the beauty of the Irish south east coast in due time.

We are in the process of bringing our worldly goods over from Spain and I suspect that despite only packing them up in the last few weeks it will still feel like Christmas once we begin unwrapping them.. and trying to find a space for them.

I will keep you updated with our adventures and as always you are very welcome here wherever I lay my hat..

Here are the posts from the week and thank you so much for keeping my seat warm while I was in transit.. the blessing of being able to schedule posts in spare time is a great function here on WordPress (Shhhhush don’t tell the Happiness Engineers as they might decide to upgrade!)

Smorgasbord Open House

71D1N+0nUkL._UX250_

My guest for the Sunday Show was Kim Troike who also writes under the name of Caroline Clemens. Kim talked about where she was born in Ohio, her favourite television and films and family food favourites. She also shared news of her new writing projects for books and two fantastic recipes.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2016/04/10/smorgasbord-open-house-author-kim-troikecaroline-clemens-into-the-vines/

A Man and his Music – William Price King meets Nat King Cole.

William Price King on stage

We begin a new series soon on Natalie Cole and as an introduction we are repeating the series on her father Nat King Cole.. Here is part three as Nat’s career took off rapidly.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2016/04/13/a-man-and-his-music-william-price-king-meets-nat-king-cole-part-three-4/

Mention in Dispatches

mention in dispatchesA small selection of talented bloggers who have kept me informed and entertained this week.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2016/04/16/mention-in-dispatches-3/

On the move from Spain to Ireland

Tree 4 IMAG0723

We are now back safely in Ireland and spending some time in Dublin.. the sun has been shining today and already as the blossom starts to bloom I have the first story in mind for the Irish Tales from the Garden.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2016/04/12/on-the-move-funny-what-you-find-at-the-back-of-kitchen-cupboards-and-bathroom-cabinets/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2016/04/15/on-the-move-back-in-ireland/

Just an Odd Job Girl Serialisation.

JaOJG-v4-Kindle-Marketing-Cover-1600x2560px-350dpi-WebImogen is now relating the stories attached to the short term jobs that she held before she married and had a family. Huntleys department store was a treasure chest of adventures in the shoe department, ladies clothing and the cosmetic department.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2016/04/11/just-an-odd-job-girl-chapter-five-disasters-on-the-dance-floor-and-shoes/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2016/04/13/just-an-odd-job-girl-serialisation-chapter-six-hot-footing-it-up-escalators/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2016/04/15/just-an-odd-job-girl-serialisation-chapter-seven-the-cosmetic-department/
Turning Back the Clock serialisation – The final chapter on nutrition with shopping list.

Turning Back the Clock

I have put the final part of the book in one post and of course you are more than welcome to cut and paste if you wish to print out the shopping list.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2016/04/12/turning-back-the-clock-anti-aging-the-nutritional-guide-and-shopping-list/

Health

smorgasbord health

The mineral of the week was selenium; vital for a healthy heart and immune system.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2016/04/11/smorgasbord-health-selenium-heart-health-immune-system/

The skin and common conditions, including eczema and acne.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2016/04/12/smorgasbord-health-the-skin-eczema-a-genetic-link-to-the-past-or-modern-lifestyle/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2016/04/14/smorgasbord-health-skin-care-acne/

Medicine Woman’s Treasure Chest

lilacs2
https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2016/04/15/medicine-womans-treasure-chest-agnus-castus-pms-and-menopause/

Afternoon Video and Humour

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2016/04/10/laughter-the-best-medicine-stress-buster-special/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2016/04/14/the-afternoon-video-big-cats-love-boxes-too/