Smorgasbord Short Stories – Flights of Fancy – The Sewing Circle – Part One by Sally Cronin


Welcome to another story from Flights of Fancy .. this is novella length so I will be spreading it over several days. I hope you enjoy.


The Sewing Circle – Part One

The sewing circle met at Betty’s flat on the ground floor of Malcolm House, every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon. There were six regular members, and the odd person who dropped in, who appreciated the group was the source of gossip and information about the Redgrave Estate.

Copious cups of tea were provided with members taking it in turn to produce homemade cakes that were judged critically during the course of the afternoon. Recipes were swapped and toppings envied as the ladies knitted and embroidered the hours away. All of the members were over eighty and had lived varied and sometimes tragic lives. They had been born and brought up in this deprived area of South London, and the fact that they still participated so fully in their lives, was a testament to their strength of character.

The tenant of the flat, and gracious hostess, was Betty Smith. She had been lucky in as much as her husband had lived long enough to enjoy ten years of retirement with her. They had lived in the annexe of their son’s lovely house near Chelmsford, but after Arthur’s death, Betty felt lonely and isolated, especially with her son and daughter-in-law out at work every day. She moved into the flats five years ago, and was delighted to find that several of her old friends were not only still alive, but resident on the estate. She was now eighty-six and a firm favourite with the younger children on the Redgrave; eager recipients of her cupcakes.

Mary Jones was eighty-three, had lost two husbands in the Second World War, three children as babies, and had toiled into her seventies as a cleaner at an office block in the heart of the City. Her wrinkled face identified a life-long affair with nicotine and her skin had the patina of a well-polished piece of walnut. Mary was the matinee-jacket expert, having knitted for four generations of the offspring of her two surviving daughters. Her eyesight was not all that it used to be but her loving family forgave her the odd dropped stitch. Arthritis made it difficult for her to get out on her own. The other more mobile members of the circle would walk with her to the post office to collect her pension on Thursdays and to the convenience store on the corner of the estate. She had recently started using a wheeled stroller and was very pleased with her new-found independence. With the help of her neighbour, she had even made it down to the Red Lion pub for the pensioner’s special one week, and was planning to make this a regular outing.

Sylvia Ross, the youngest member of the circle, was a bit of a mystery as she always changed the subject when asked about her early years. She had no family it would seem, and even when firmly pressed, refused to give details of where she was born or brought up. She once let slip that she had been married, but then changed the subject, which of course elevated the curiosity of her fellow members to extraordinary levels. This resulted in a certain amount of behind the scenes digging, and once or twice snippets of an enticing nature were ferreted out, only to fizzle away from lack of information. She was just eighty and extremely elegant. She always wore a smart suit to the sewing circle, although it was obvious that the classic clothes were decades old.

Her blonde hair was touched up every month by the hairdresser in the high street and her nails were the envy of all the teenage girls in her block. The circle marvelled at her ability to embroider with her extended, red talons, but liked her too much to pass comment. They doubted that they would ever get to the bottom of the mystery, but Sylvia was a lively and generous member of the group who was always there if one of them was ill or needed assistance. She truly had a heart of gold.

Maggie Baxter was originally from Jamaica, and had married a seaman from Hackney in the fifties. She had the most wonderful laugh and her generous spirit was well known throughout the estate. A trained nurse, she had acted as the community midwife for over twenty-five years, and even now, at eighty-five, was called upon regularly by the young mother’s on the estate, for help and guidance during and after their frequent pregnancies. Nothing shocked Maggie, and she could be relied on to keep a secret. She was not above giving some of the younger, more obnoxious, residents of the estate a quick smack if they got out of hand on the stairwells, but on the whole even the toughest of adolescent boys who roamed the estate, jobless and bored, knew that Maggie Baxter would be there any time of night or day.

Her friends in the sewing circle warned her that she needed to be careful when out and about in the area. In recent months, several new families had been housed on the estate and their rowdy kids were an unknown quantity. In fact, petty crime was on the increase, despite the fact that they had their own community police presence, and on two occasions recently elderly residents had been mugged and injured on their way back from the local shops.

The frailest of the group was Flo Miles, a tiny little woman who had amazingly borne twelve children, all of whom had survived wars and sickness. She had thirty-six grandchildren, fifteen great grandchildren, and at ninety years old was considered the queen of the Redgrave. She had lived there since it was built, twenty years earlier, and knew every little bit of gossip there was to be had about the residents. The other members even suspected she knew more that she was telling about Sylvia Ross, but on this subject, she was strangely close-mouthed. She was also fearless, and despite her fragile appearance, walked herself to and from the local Bingo Hall; despite her friends’ insistence that she go by taxi. The fact that she was a prolific winner also worried the members of the sewing circle. She did make the compromise, that on nights that she won money; she would get a cab home, getting the driver to walk her to her ground floor flat, conveniently close to the parking area.

Sarah Dempsey, or big Sal, as she was known to her friends and neighbours, was a gregarious and fun loving Irish woman, who had come over to London as a spinster of thirty-eight, in the late 1950’s. She had cared for her parents until their death and then found herself evicted from her family home by her brother who had inherited the lot. He had begrudgingly given her forty pounds and bought her a one-way ticket to England. Luckily, Sal found a job as a waitress in a large department store in Knightsbridge, and being the hard worker that she was, she remained in that job for over thirty years. She had a lovely little pension as well as her state benefits, and she adored giving unusual and unexpected gifts to every one of her acquaintance. She was treasured by everyone, especially when she burst into song at quiz nights, and other functions held in the community centre.

So, here was the sewing circle, a group of friends who were independent and who took care of each other lovingly. All very different, but all intent on one thing, ending their lives with dignity, and in the company of people they cared for.

There was just one problem, and that was the Jackson family. The Jacksons had moved onto the estate after being moved from two other communities because of their unreasonable behaviour. Archie Jackson was in prison for violent offences more than he was out, and his wife Sharon was a loud-mouthed harridan who could be heard through the thin walls of the flats, shouting and swearing throughout the day and long into the night. They had five children; although it was a mystery to everyone, how she had so many, bearing in mind that Archie was inside most of the seventeen years they had been married. The more uncharitable amongst the residents speculated on the difference in look and colour between the offspring, and there were certainly enough suspicions to cast doubts on Archie’s participation in some of their conceptions.

Everyone on the estate gave the Jacksons a wide berth. Since their arrival, petty crime on the estate had risen dramatically, and the residents’ committee had even requested a meeting with the Police representative, to try to stem the tide of thefts and muggings that suddenly affected the area. The police did what they could, and in fact, they did catch the older Jackson boy, Darren, red handed shoplifting from the corner shop. But because he was only fifteen he was let off with probation. Next, the committee tried the council who said that having moved the Jackson’s twice already they were running out of options. There were suggestions from some of the residents, that a prison ship or deserted island would be a suitable place to move the family, but in the end, the council promised to try to find alternative accommodation away from the Redgrave.

Hoping that a resolution was only a matter of weeks away everyone on the estate held their collective breath, trusting that not too much damage would be inflicted on property, or themselves, in the meantime.

This wish was not to be granted, and for one of the members of the sewing circle, life was about to take a desperate turn.

©sallycronin Flights of Fancy 2009

Other short story anthologies.

You can find all my books at these links:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Sally-Cronin/e/B0096REZM2

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

Smashwords for Epub: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/SallyGCronin

More reviews can be found on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7979187.Sally_Cronin

Thank you for dropping in and as always I value your feedback. Sally.

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Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update – Frank Parker, Gigi Sedlmayer, Sally Cronin and Andrew Joyce.


Welcome to the Friday edition of the Cafe and Bookstore Update. The first author who has been enjoying recent reviews is Frank Parker for the historical novel Strongbow’s Wife.

About the book

Do you have Irish ancestry? How much do you know about the act of treachery that gave rise to the centuries long conflict between Ireland and the English?

A century after the Norman conquest of England, the men entrusted with suppressing the Welsh were invited to bring peace to Ireland. The result was the opposite: the commencement of a tumultuous period in the relationship between England, Wales and Ireland that began 800 years of subjugation of the Irish by the English.

Little is recorded about the life of the woman who married Strongbow in return for the latter’s assistance in her father’s quest to regain the kingship of Leinster. The activities of Strongbow, and the other Cambro-Normans who took part in the occupation of Ireland in the twelfth century, have been written about extensively. Of Aoife we know only that she accompanied her father on his year long search for assistance, that, when Strongbow eventually arrived, the marriage took place days after a massacre in Waterford.

This account of those events is presented through her eyes. First as a teenager trying to understand the politics behind her father’s downfall. Then as a young wife caught up in the rivalry between her husband and the other leaders of the invading army. Finally, as a widowed mother worried about her children and the future of her native land.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Strongbow’s Wife by Frank Parker is a sprawling saga of 12th century Irish history as told through the eyes of Aoife MacMurrough, daughter of Dermot MacMurrough, King of Leinster. Though a work of fiction, it is evident that Parker used extensive research to bring to life the challenges of ancient feudal clans fighting for cultural preservation.

Parker’s story begins in 1152, when Aoife is a child watching her father struggle to maintain his kingdom. She travels for several years with her father and mother in search of the King of England who might be able to provide support for Leinster. The plan fails, and Dermot MacMurrough plots another strategy, offering Aoife in marriage to Richard de Clare, Earl of Pembroke. In return, de Clare would lead the Norman invasion to fend off feuding usurpers of Leinster. Aoife MacMurrough marries Richard de Clare, also known as Strongbow, in 1170. The union assures the sovereignty of Leinster and leads to greater stabilization of peace. The story ends in 1187, the year before Aoife, princess of Leinster and countess of Pembroke, died.

In addition to remaining true to historical events, Parker uses sensory descriptions of locations to provide context. His dialogue seems to fit the period, and his metaphors are rich and colorful. These are definite strengths. I thought it was good to have the story told by Strongbow’s wife, and Parker tried to present a woman’s perspective. At times, that fell short for me. For example, Aoife only “paled” when she received word that her husband died. Other times, such as when Aoife’s son died, Parker did an excellent job of presenting the grief of a mother.

Some sections are somewhat boring, without much detail to provide an understanding of this period of medieval Irish history. Characters are mentioned, but I didn’t know enough about them to comprehend their importance. For example, Thomas Becket was presented early in the story. I’m aware that he was Archbishop of Canterbury until murdered in 1170, but I’m not sure of his connection to MacMurrough or Strongbow.

Overall, I liked Strongbow’s Wife. It would not normally be my choice of reading with battles, and decapitations, and fighting for dominance or control. But such is the history of mankind. The story’s strengths outweigh my minor criticisms. Well done, Frank Parker.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Strongbows-Wife-Frank-Parker/dp/1499601220

and on Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Strongbows-Wife-Frank-Parker/dp/1499601220

Books by Frank Parker

Read the reviews and buy the books:  https://www.amazon.co.uk/Frank-Parker/e/B0076JVE5I

And Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Frank-Parker/e/B0076JVE5I

Read more reviews and follow Frank on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7834486.Frank_Parker

Connect to Frank via his website and blog: https://franklparker.com/

Gigi Sedlmayer has received recent reviews for Come Fly with Me the first book in the Talon Series. She has also entered her fourth book in the series to the Authorsdb for the First lines and Cover competitions …you can find how to vote after the review.

51jo3ypdlbl-_uy250_About Come Fly with Me.

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

Is it possible for condors to understand humans?

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

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

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

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

One of the recent reviews for the book

In life there are so many things that can weigh us down. Some times it is our circumstances and other times it might be ourselves. What matters most, however, is that we realize that we can soar in life if we don’t give up.

That to me is one of the big messages of the book TALON: Come Fly with Me by Gigi Sedlmayer. It takes you into the journey of Matica and Talon, both of him are not expected to do or be much because of circumstances but together realize that they are powerful. I love how this story evolves in such a way that it is great for readers of all ages. It reminds me that there is nothing that is truly impossible if we choose to believe that you can accomplish a goal. Maybe Matica couldn’t change how others saw her, but she could change how she chose to see herself. That empowered her to help Talon do the same, allowing them to show everyone why you shouldn’t count a girl (or bird) down.

Inspiring and a great reminder for everyone who has been told who they are not. TALON: Come Fly with Me reminds us to see who we are.

Read all the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Talon-Come-Fly-Gigi-Sedlmayer-ebook/dp/B00J2643PG

and on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Talon-Come-Fly-Gigi-Sedlmayer-ebook/dp/B00J2643PG/

Also by Gigi Sedlmayer

Gigi has entered Talon Connected – The Fourth book of the series in the Authorsdb First Lines Contest: https://authorsdb.com/2018-first-lines-contest/24853-first-lines-contest-2018-talon-connected

And also into the cover contest: https://authorsdb.com/2018-cover-contest-results/25756-cover-contest-2018-talon-connected

She would be grateful if you could find the time to vote for the book.. Thanks

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Gigi-Sedlmayer/e/B003U8G4WC

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Gigi-Sedlmayer/e/B003U8G4WC

Read more reviews and follow Gigi on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4405791.Gigi_Sedlmayer

71xvkajfzxl-_ux250_Connect to Gigi via her website: http://gigised.com/

And the next author is me… I have received a number of lovely reviews in the last month for What’s in a Name Volume 1… and am really delighted.

About the collection

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?

One of the recent reviews for the collection.

What a delightful read! Despite reading good reviews, I really didn’t know what to expect when I began the first (name) short story in this collection. I was enthralled immediately. Sally Cronin has a way of writing that invites you in with a cozy cup of tea and a biscuit, and then she weaves her tales about each person so succinctly, yet so elaborately at the same time, that by the end of the story, you don’t want to let go of that name. Of that character. Clever idea – to write a story for a person with a name. Think about it – what’s in YOUR name? .

You can read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N6Y8BK1/

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Whats-Name-Sally-Cronin-ebook/dp/B01N6Y8BK1

A selection of my other books

All available in Ebook from:  http://www.amazon.com/Sally-Cronin/e/B0096REZM2

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

And you can read more reviews and follow me on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7979187.Sally_Cronin

Pamela Wight is also an author in the Cafe and Bookstore

Pamela S. Wight, Buy: http://www.amazon.com/Pamela-S.-Wight/e/B00AYXT6R6
Blog:https://roughwighting.net/

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The final author with today is Andrew Joyce with a recent review fo Ellis: One Man’s Remarkable Life

About the book

From a rich tradition—from a fearless and audacious heritage—came forth a man who would be the embodiment of the Gloucester fisherman.

Ellis Hodgkins caught his first bluefin tuna at the tender age of fourteen, using only a hand line. It weighed 750 pounds. He did it by himself, fishing out of a ten-foot skiff. That feat earned him the title of Boy Wonder in and around Gloucester.

For those who marvel at the deeds of the men of Wicked Tuna, Ellis did it all before those guys were born.

This is the true story of one man’s remarkable life—a life lived on its own terms.

“Ellis is my hero.”—Dave Carraro of Wicked Tuna

One of the recent reviews for the book

Andrew Joyce is an American historical fiction author who creates tales as large as the characters in his books, and Ellis Hodgkins is definitely one of those characters.

At fourteen, Ellis caught his first bluefin tuna by hand, which was no easy task considering the fish weighed over 750 pounds. That single feat of strength initiates the teen on a path to fame and fortune.

“Ellis,” is the character study of a man motivated by an inner determination to succeed which follows him throughout all the stages of his life. Descended from tough Gloucester fishermen, Ellis is constantly evolving and changing which I found to be part of his allure. This young man embraces change. He has the foresight to recognize the big picture in many of his adventures resulting in even more opportunities. Nobody could ever say Ellis was a slacker.

Andrew Joyce follows the path of Ellis’ life journey in three acts, incorporating a rich historical perspective which serves to set the scene for each new location. I loved the history of the Seminoles in South Florida. Those historical tidbits were woven into Ellis’ story bringing a sense of the past to the future.

I’m not much of a sailor, but if you love sailing, this book contains rich descriptions that will put you in the middle of the action. I also loved the ending which inferred that Ellis’ story isn’t yet finished.

The book is a quick read, more the size of a novella, which is perfect for bedtime reading. At $.99 for the Kindle version, it is well worth the price. Drop anchor and have a read!

MY RATING: Character Believability: 5  Flow and Pace: 5  Reader Engagement: 5
Reader Enrichment: 5 Reader Enjoyment: 5 Overall Rate: 5 out of 5 STARS

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Ellis-Andrew-Joyce-ebook/dp/B079NSFK86

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ellis-Andrew-Joyce-ebook/dp/B079NSFK86

Also by Andrew Joyce

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Read the reviews and buy all the books: https://www.amazon.com/Andrew-Joyce/e/B00EUCFDTM

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Andrew-Joyce/e/B00EUCFDTM

61uytgjxb0l-_ux250_Connect to Andrew: https://andrewjoyce.wordpress.com/

Colleen Chesebro is an author in the Cafe and Bookstore.

Colleen Chesebro, Buy: https://www.amazon.com/Heart-Stone-Chronicles-Swamp-Fairy/dp/1541015967
Website: https://colleenchesebro.com

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Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you have enjoyed the selection of books on offer. Thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Posts from My Archives – Odd Jobs and Characters – The Steak House


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 few 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. If that is the case of course I will include their books and links.

You can find the previous odd jobs here: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/short-stories-odd-jobs-and-characters-2018/

This episode was kindly hosted by John W. Howell and you can find out more about John and his books later in the post.

I began my training as an assistant manager in a steak house in Kent in 1974. For the six months, I would rotate around through the two bars and two restaurants that served a simple menu of steak, chicken, and fish. Most dishes came with either French fries (chips) and peas. For the more health conscious there was a jacket potato option, but by the time several pats of butter had been added, it was as fattening as the fries. Dessert options were ice cream with chocolate sauce and sprinkled nuts, or apple pie and cream. The wine menu was short and featured the German white wines so popular at the time, with much touting of the young French red wines with alleged body and clarity.

However, despite not being a Michelin starred establishment, the training was considered to be one of the best in that particular area of the hospitality industry. It was certainly intensive, and when you consider the hours we worked daily, six days a week, the six months training was actually something you would normally complete in twelve months.

The building itself had been built in 1812 and sported the red flocked wallpaper so fashionable in the 1960s and 1970s. Smoking was still in its hey day and the ceiling was a curious shade of tobacco after 150 years of nicotine exhalation. The smell that greeted you in the morning was ‘eau de tabac’ laced with beer overtones. When you had been working until after midnight, had barely six hours sleep, you found yourself declining anything but black coffee until lunchtime.

I have to say that I loved it, despite the hard work and long hours. We had some very interesting regulars, and the locals embraced the concept of the steak house with gusto. It was cheap and cheerful, and as music blared out on a Friday and Saturday night, both downstairs and upstairs bars and restaurants were packed. The waiting list for a table could be an hour or more, but beer and schooners of sherry (lethal), dulled the senses sufficiently for the wait to be quite jovial.

During the day, only the downstairs restaurant was in use and was consistently busy. This offered the assistant managers time to do the usual administrative work needed to run the steak house, such as ordering food and spirits and cleaning the bars after the night before.

In the evenings it was my job to run the upstairs restaurant, with a team of waitresses waiting on the tables, and two bar staff, who alternated between serving pre-dinner drinks and after dinner liqueur coffees with assorted spirits (this is pre-drink-driving laws!).

The waitresses were rushed off their feet as they juggled three or four large plates laden with steak, chicken, and sides. My job to help in reducing the waiting list was to clear the tables as soon as the diners had paid, and re-equip with cutlery, glasses, and napkins as rapidly as possible. I would then dash back to the bar and announce the name of the lucky party over the tannoy system, who could now stagger after me into the restaurant.

One Saturday night in the middle of a very busy service, I had to handle a potentially difficult situation that could have ended up in the papers (thank goodness there were no mobile phones in those days). As you will remember this building was old, and there were dark recesses within the walls and ceilings, that you would have been wise to avoid for what might reside there.

I was checking the state of play on progress at a number of tables where the patrons were wiping away the evidence of their chocolate sundae. I noticed a man at a table with a party of six, bend down to retrieve his napkin. Instead, he came up with something smaller and definitely furrier than the paper serviette. I suspect that as a natural reflex, he stood with his arm held straight out from his body, clearly amazed at his catch. From my vantage point at the entrance to the restaurant, I identified the rotating body of a dead mouse.

There is a split second between shocked discovery and the public announcement of the find. Although never great at school at the 100 metre dash, I now excelled myself. Dropping the waiting list on the bar, I rushed through the restaurant and snatched the unfortunate deceased rodent from its captor, continuing on to the kitchen at warp speed. I deposited the mouse in the bin and turned and raced back the other way to find the patron staring at his hand and looking around in confusion.

Lighting in the restaurants was provided by dim wall lights in order to provide a romantic and intimate feel to the experience. It also served to conceal the tobacco infused ceiling and rather dodgy carpet. It also thankfully managed to befuddle the diner, who thankfully had not only consumed four pints of beer in the bar beforehand, but also a bottle of our best Liebfraumilch. I added to the befuddlement, by handing him his fallen napkin, and asking if the party would be interested in some liqueur coffees on the house, to compensate them for their long wait before dining.

An exterminator was called the next day and traps were hidden in all the usual haunts. But there was a postscript to this story.

One of the waitresses was a bit of a madam and was always giving the chef grief. As part of the staff’s pay, supper was included before the restaurants opened in the evening. The day after the incident, this particular waitress retrieved her indicated supper from the hot plate, and on sitting down, removed the cover. She issued a piercing scream that probably cleared the rodents from the building far more effectively than the traps. I came over to find out what the problem was, to discover her staring at her plate of battered mouse, French fries, and peas.

©Sally Cronin – 2017

 Next week – The Steak House Part Two – originally hosted by Sue Vincent.

Short story anthologies.

You can find all my books at these links:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Sally-Cronin/e/B0096REZM2

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

Smashwords for Epub: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/SallyGCronin

More reviews can be found on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7979187.Sally_Cronin

About John Howell

John began his writing as a full-time occupation after an extensive business career. His specialty is thriller fiction novels, but John also writes poetry and short stories. His first book, My GRL, introduces the exciting adventures of the book’s central character, John J. Cannon. The second Cannon novel, His Revenge, continues the adventure, while the final book in the trilogy, Our Justice, launched in September 2016. All books are available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions.

John lives in Port Aransas, Texas with his wife and their spoiled rescue pets.

Books by John W. Howell.

One of the recent reviews for the first book in the series – My GRL.

My GRL pulled me in from abrupt murder at the start of the story and didn’t let go until the spectacular unexpected ending.

I enjoyed the writing style and humor. The plot had enough twists to keep me guessing and engaged in the story.

If you are looking for an unpredictable thriller to get lost in for a day or two, I’d recommend you giving this book a try. I’ll be picking up the other books in the series

You can read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/John-W.-Howell/e/B00HMRWO6C

and on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/John-W.-Howell/e/B00HMRWO6C

Read more reviews and follow John on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7751796.John_W_Howell

Connect to John.

Blog: http://www.johnhowell.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/HowellWave
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/john.howell.98229241

Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you have enjoyed finding out about the background to some of my characters.

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Spring Showcase – Mae Clair, Lucinda E. Clarke, Sue Coletta, Kim Cox, Sally Cronin, Paul Cude, Anita Dawes and Jaye Marie, Eloise de Sousa, Angie Dokos, K. D. Dowdall


Welcome to spring….. and there might be a hint of colour in the garden, as daffodils push their way to the surface, but there is plenty of colour on the shelves of the bookstore that I thought I would share with you over the next week.

If you are looking for you next book to read then look no further than these talented authors and over 600 books currently on the shelves.

Instead of the usual Cafe and Bookstore updates on Friday and Monday.. I will be featuring a number of authors each day with their updated reviews.

I will give you their listing which also includes a link to buy the books but also discover others that they have written but are not listed. You will also find a link to their website or blog to find out more information, and as you can imagine… they write great posts too.

Here is the next ten featured authors from the Cafe and Bookstore.

Mae Clair, Buy: https://www.amazon.com/Mae-Clair/e/B009I61ND0
Website: https://maeclair.net/

Please visit Amazon or Mae’s website to view all her books.

A recent review for A Desolate Hour

The culmination of the Point Pleasant series, A Desolate Hour brings all the open threads from the overall story together. This book explains the curse behind Point Pleasant’s ill fortune. (I’ll try to avoid spoilers!) We meet the descendents of the people involved when Chief Cornstalk laid the curse: Quentin Marsh, Sarah Sherman, and Shawn Preech. We also meet the other characters involved again, especially Caden Flynn, with his own connection to the infamous Mothman that haunts Point Pleasant. We also learn more about the Mothman, and feel for it as it faces the source of its pain after a couple hundred years. I especially love how the author continues with the theme of the series, from yesteryears to cold tomorrows. The book is a ride of suspense, and by that last rollercoaster drop, has given the reader a satisfying end to the adventure.

Lucinda E. Clarke, Buy: http://www.amazon.com/Lucinda-E-Clarke/e/B00FDWB914
Website: http://lucindaeclarkeauthor.com

Please visit Amazon or Lucinda’s website to view all her books.

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One of the recent reviews for Amie: Cut for Life

on February 10, 2018

Amie has never had it easy. She has lost too many loved ones, and her family back in Britain believe she is dead. It is for the best. Her job demands it. But what was supposed to be a simple mission takes a very sinister turn.

What kind of parent would send their daughters to Africa for them to suffer the cruel practice of FGM? But if that were not enough, Amie discovers that these children were never destined to go home. The more she discovers, the more horrified she is. She must get these children away from their abusers, but she doesn’t know who to trust anymore.

Amie: CUT FOR LIFE by Lucinda E. Clarke is book #4 in the Amie series. I had very high hopes for this book, as the other three books have been superb. I was not disappointed. Ms Clarke has a gift for creating believable characters in a vibrant and realistic setting.

I was a little worried about reading this book because of its topic. But I am glad I did. Ms Clarke handles the topic of FGM with great delicacy, but also with realism. I was unaware how prevalent this barbaric practice is in the UK. Thank you for enlightening me, Ms Clarke, may you do so for others and bring an end to this abuse once and for all.

The story itself, like all the Amie stories, is incredibly fast-paced. There are so many twists and turns. Amie doesn’t know who to trust and as a reader, nor did I. I have loved this series. I absolutely and utterly recommend it.

Sue Coletta, Buy: www.amazon.com/author/suecoletta
Website/blog: www.suecoletta.com

An extract for one of the recent reviews for Marred on Goodreads

Denise H Feb 07, 2018  rated it it was amazing

This is a compelling thriller that will leave you chilled to the bone. You definitely want to read this book with the lights on. The author weaves a spectacular web of murder and mayhem that holds you captive. It took a moment for me to adjust to the different POV styles but once I did, I found I really enjoyed the story being told this way. The author writes in first person for Sage’s POV and then alternates with her husband, Niko, and his partner, Frankie, in third person. The third person POV’s from Niko and Frankie added another level of intrigue and suspense to this harrowing tale. And the author’s detail and description of the heinous actions of the killer were vivid and scary and I found the case details and forensics fascinating. I also really enjoyed Frankie and her snarky comments and banter; it helped to lighten up some of the more intense scenes and tension-filled dialogue among characters.

Kim Cox, Buy: http://www.amazon.com/Kim-Cox/e/B004WFKDAG
Website: http://www.kimcoxauthor.com

Please visit Amazon or Kim’s website to view all her books.

An early review for Haunting Lana

Stella Davis February 3, 2018
These are really some great reads. Just the kind of books I love. Can’t wait to read more to see what comes up. Love Aunt Lucy too. Well worth looking into reading. You won’t be disappointed.
Sally Cronin, Buy: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sally-Georgina-Cronin/e/B003B7O0T6
Blog: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com

Please visit Amazon or the blog to view reviews and all the books.

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The most recent review for What’s in a Name Volume 2

I put a little note to myself for every name. Vanessa made me cry. Walter, or should I say Donald, made me rejoice. Xenia, a name of Greek strength, steeped in sadness. Happy endings, surprising endings, all heartfelt, poignant, and mesmerizing. A joy to read and experience. The sneak peek of an upcoming book for 2018 is icing on the cake. A list of Cronin’s multiple genre, fiction and nonfiction, books show her many areas of creativity, support, and knowledge. Health, wellness, storytelling, Sally has it all! This book of names and her garden story are my favorites! Read and learn from them all…

Paul Cude, Buy: http://www.amazon.com/Paul-Cude/e/B007339206
Website: http://www.bentwhistlethedragon.co.uk/

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An extract from a recent review for A Threat from the Past

on December 6, 2017

Bentwhistle the Dragon in A Threat from the Past by Paul Cude is a story set in the present day world where dragons are disguised as humans and have infiltrated the human race to guide and protect them. Peter Bentwhistle and his friends Tank and Richie are three young dragons fresh out of the nursery ring. Peter rises to the head of security at Cromptech; a firm that provides laminium which is a critical resource for dragons. Peter’s boss starts going through his own changes which appear to be due to a security consultant named Manson. The three young dragons get caught up in an evil plot to steal the precious commodity vital to the dragon community. How does Peter and his friends restore his boss to his former personality and old self and thwart Mansion?

Anita Dawes, buy https://www.amazon.co.uk/Anita-Dawes/e/B0034NUE10/
Blog: https://jenanita01.com/

One of the reviews for Lazy Days co-written with Jaye Marie

What a wonderful family tale. This book was a real adventure. The authors share their stories about cramming two adults, lots of children and dogs into a car on the way to a longboat holiday when they haven’t ever having done this before. Not only did the dogs have to stay on leads, with one taking a dive into the river after a duck and almost garrotting itself, but there was lots of other mishaps along the way. The authors really capture the memories from their holiday and make you feel like you were almost there with them.

Jaye Marie, Buy: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jaye-Marie/e/B00O2ZUFOK
Website:  https://jenanita01.com/

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Eloise de Sousa, Buy : https://www.amazon.com/Eloise-De-Sousa/e/B00JKTFVXI
Blog: https://eloisedesousa.wordpress.com/

Please visit Eloise’s Amazon page to view all her books.

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One of the recent reviews for The Iron Pendulum

Stella F 5.0 out of 5 stars A Chilling Read December 17, 2017

High paced crime thriller? or rather slow and going nowhere in the case of detectives Perkins and Jones. But what makes their job so addictive? There are plenty of descriptive elements in here; a mix of first person, Julia Webster, and third person, narrative. Whilst the majority of us would consider ourselves normal, we continue to read what unveils to be far from the ordinary. This is a thriller that shines its light into the dark recess of a mental institution. Eloise rations the laughs, but there are still one liners beautifully woven between the suspense, intrigue and horror. Skilful plotting and insidious build-up of tension, makes for an unexpected outcome.

Angie Dokos, Buy: www.amazon.com/dp/B01BL4H20E
Blog: https://angiedokos.wordpress.com/

A recent review for Roadside

I found this book to be very intriguing and filled with delimas of the characters who know that doing the right things make differences in any situation, sometimes it’s just hard for some to get the nerve to go about it.. While the outcome usually comes out good, I loved the having to wonder about this book! A true page turner with
Mostly compassionate characters.

K.D. Dowdall, Buy: https://www.amazon.com/Karen-DeMers-Dowdall/e/B00JO0Q4AM
Blog: https://karendowdall.com/

An extract from one of the recent reviews for The Stone Arch Secret

Mar 02, 2018 Charles F. rated it Five Stars.

This fine novel by K.D. Dowdall is a wonderful crossing of the genres of mystery and romance. Mixing genres has potential difficulties, but none of those exist in this sophisticated and engaging book. Rather than getting confused about where to take the tale, K.D. Dowdall skillfully infuses elements of both genres and effectively creates her own new genre: mystery-romance!

From the moment I began reading, I was pulled into the story in this book. The narrative moves between the contemporary mystery and the backstory with Lilly, Noah, and Dax. The tone of Karen’s story is subtle and complex, in which she weaves together a love story, grief for the death of a friend, mystery in an old town, and the threat of a well-drawn, compelling, and threatening villain.

Please do yourselves a favor, and buy and read this novel!

Thank you for dropping in today and there well be another post tomorrow with another group of talented authors in the Cafe and Bookstore.

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore Update – Matthew Drzymala, Deborah A. Bowman, Christine Campbell, Angie Dokos and Sally Cronin


Welcome to Friday’s update and time to catch up with some of the talented authors on the shelves with news to share. The first author is Matthew Drzymala with a new release, the sixth in The Bumpkinton Tales – short story series – The Fantastical Gregory Shortbread.

About the book

World-renowned author Sara Hawthorne has chosen the village of Bumpkinton to launch her new book.

However, as the writer arrives, all hell breaks loose as the community faces its worst crime wave in living memory. Even the church roof tiles have been stolen!

The time has come for a fundraising event the likes of which Bumpkinton has never seen. But when the big night turns sour, the village needs a hero.

It needs a run of spectacular shows orchestrated by a theatrical genius.

It needs the fantastical Gregory Shortbread.

Buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Fantastical-Gregory-Shortbread-Bumpkinton-Tales/dp/0995499322/

And Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Fantastical-Gregory-Shortbread-Bumpkinton-Tales-ebook/dp/B07BB2FM1F/

Also by Matthew Drzymala

 

Here is a review for Volume one of The Bumpkinton Tales on Goodreads.

Aug 07, 2016 K.F Pharrel rated it Five Stars

Filled with wit, and good old English humor. This was a very smooth, enjoyable read. A great book to grab and go to the beach, you can pick and choose which short story to enjoy. The characters were all very unique and had that typical small-town mentality, which I can relate to.. seeing it and growing up around it. The small town talk, radiated with humor, and you found yourself chuckling to yourself, because it is oh so accurate!

Everyone focuses on the “exciting/different” person/couple in town, talk and create more drama surrounding the topic at hand, because they are bored and that is what small town minds do, and then the next week they forget about it and chose another victim haha. All of the characters were a reflection of the small town characters in any town. Everyone is unique or weird in their own way, and people seem to talk about who ever is the most exciting/strange in that moment. I have always loved small towns, and will continue to love them, because of this simple aspect.. I think it’s absolutely hilarious. And to really truly laugh about it, you have to not care what people think of you, and never participate even though they will always try to suck you in and pull you down to that level.

The author did an excellent job in connecting the reader to the characters in such a short time frame, that is not easy to do. Everyone has their own story and the author communicated this across in a beautiful way. And of course there is always more to it. Definitely a great read, and I recommend this to anyone who loves small towns or is interested in their functioning.

You can read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Matthew-Drzymala/e/B00HGBB17W

Find more reviews and follow Matthew on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7583918.Matthew_Drzymala

Connect to Matthew via his website: http://matthewdrzymala.com/bumpkinton-comedy-books/

And now a recent review for Deborah A. Bowman with Annie’s Story: Blessed with a Gift which was released in 2017.

About Annie’s story

This story of love and faith by “different” people—now called “special” people—begs to be told. “Annie’s Story” is about a dwarfed, mentally slow child growing up in Colonial America, who is “Blessed With A Gift” from the Spiritual Universe. In Annie’s lifetime, babies born with birth defects and their mothers were banished or put to death—their names cleansed from all church and legal records. Annie’s message is timeless, and her shining spirit reveals that “History Does Repeat Itself” in the treatment, abuse, labeling, and bullying of women, children, and individuals with special needs.

Factual research has confirmed what many generations have tried to eradicate or conceal as was done in the Salem Witch Hysteria of 1692-93, nearly half-a-century “after” Annie lived. JOIN THE ANNIE MOVEMENT to continue the fight for women’s rights, cure birth defects, and stop bullying. Have perceptions changed all that much since the mid-1600s? Have they changed enough? Sadly, they have not. Purchase the book to support women and children. Please, write a review and contact the author. Fundraiser opportunities available.

One of the recent reviews for the book.

This was a fascinating account of a young girl’s life growing up in a Scottish clan in Colonial Massachusetts between 1630 and 1648. Annie is born to parents who are dying of a disease. Through a stroke of good fortune, she is rescued from the house of death before it is torched to prevent the spread of the illness. Annie, who is also suffering from the disease, is delivered to her aged grandmother, the clan’s healer, who manages to save her from an early death. The illness, unfortunately, leaves Annie deformed and mentally slow but she is a delightful child who shows signs of a second sight and healing ability early on.

The story delves into the lives of the people who are close to Annie, including a married minster masquerading as a Catholic Priest and a young Indian squaw whose parents die during the measles epidemic, and goes back in time to give an insight into the terrible reign of fear in Scotland due to religious persecution of Catholics during that troubled time.

There are some very disturbing scenes and descriptions about the horrific treatment of women deemed to be witches and their families. This information provides a lot of background to the circumstances that gave rise to the Puritan settlement in Massachusetts at that time and their fanatical and ultra conservative outlook. The book provides fascinating detail about life during that time in both the Scottish Catholic settlement and in the nearby Puritan settlement and is heart wrenching in its descriptions of the rejection and ill treatment of people born with disabilities during that period of history and also the plight of ordinary men and women who are believed to have gone against the religious law.

While the story does have some focus on Annie’s extraordinary healing and spiritual talents, it is also a well research historical account of life in the early 17th century in Massachusetts and has an interesting love story which reminded me a bit of Romeo and Juliet.

I enjoyed this book thoroughly and rated it five out of five stars.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Annies-Story-Blessed-Deborah-Bowman/dp/1520487398

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Annies-Story-Blessed-Deborah-Bowman/dp/1520487398

A selection of other books by Deborah A. Bowman

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Deborah-Bowman/e/B00MDD6QMS

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Deborah-Bowman/e/B00MDD6QMS

Read other reviews and follow Deborah on Goodreads : https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7980347.Deborah_A_Bowman

Connect with Deborah via her blog: https://www.bowmanauthor.com

And next a release by Christine Campbell at the end of last year – For What it’s Worth.

About the book

Yvonne’s biological alarm tells her it’s time to start a family before she’s past her prime, but first her husband, Hugh, must find a job. But will any job do?

When Hugh seems to be taking his time to find one, Yvonne finds one for him, but is it the right job? Will it cause more stress when she is already juggling two jobs herself and is trying to hold on to their flat?

When things start to go wrong, Yvonne finds herself facing a choice no woman should ever have to face – her marriage or a baby.

When she met Hugh, Yvonne was working as an Edinburgh tour guide, so she knows the city well and has a great fondness for it, taking us to some of her favourite places as she tries to work out what the important things in her life are worth: her dreams, her plans – and her marriage.

For What it’s Worth is contemporary women’s fiction with more than a touch of romance, seasoned with a sprinkling of humour, a spot of drama and a splash of tears.
It is not part of The Reluctant Detective Series by the same author, but it is a spin off where we get to know Mirabelle’s sister, Yvonne, better. Mirabelle has a part to play in For What it’s Worth, but in a supporting role rather than the main character.

Although it is a stand-alone novel, those readers who have enjoyed the earlier series will no doubt enjoy being reacquainted with many of the characters and finding out what Mirabelle has been up to since finding Summer, but the main storyline concentrates on Yvonne and her husband Hugh and explores themes familiar to many young thirty-something couples when they decide it’s time to expand their family.

Life is complicated, love is complicated, must our dreams be complicated too?

A recent review for the book

A brilliant read. I am so tired coz i just couldnt put it down at night. Kept saying just one more page and then another and another. This author’s use of language and descriptive text transports you in all her books and she has done it again with this one. I was so impressed with how this author portrayed real life events. Real sensitivity and knowledge. Well worth the money. I can not wait for her next book.

Buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/What-its-Worth-Christine-Campbell-ebook/dp/B075PG334N

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/What-its-Worth-Christine-Campbell-ebook/dp/B075PG334N

A selection of other books by Christine Campbell.

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Christine-Campbell/e/B00BRGC0C2

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Christine-Campbell/e/B00BRGC0C2

Read more reviews and follow Christine on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7126731.Christine_Campbell

Connect to Christine via her website: http://cicampbellblog.wordpress.com

The next author with a recent review is Angie Dokos for her book Roadside which tells the story of Serena and her journey back from violence with the help of a stranger.

About the book

Zayne finds Serena’s lifeless body off the side of the road one morning. She has been beaten and left for dead. As she recovers, they become the best of friends. It doesn’t take long for Zayne’s feelings to grow stronger. Will the fear of ruining their friendship keep them from taking a chance on love?

A recent review for the book

I found this book to be very intriguing and filled with delimas of the characters who know that doing the right things make differences in any situation, sometimes it’s just hard for some to get the nerve to go about it.. While the outcome usually comes out good, I loved the having to wonder about this book! A true page turner with
Mostly compassionate characters.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/ROADSIDE-Angie-Dokos-ebook/dp/B0722T3Y58

And Amazon US: https://www.amazon.co.uk/ROADSIDE-Angie-Dokos-ebook/dp/B0722T3Y58

Also by Angie Dokos

Visit Angie’s Amazon Author page: https://www.amazon.com/Angie-Dokos/e/B01BLPOZEY

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Angie-Dokos/e/B01BLPOZEY

Read more reviews and follow Angie Dokos on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14905574.Angie_Dokos

Connect to Angie Dokos via her website: https://angiedokos.wordpress.com

And last but not least, I was delighted to receive a new review for What’s in a Name? volume two.

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 What’s in a Name Volume 2

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 Kindle version here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0748MLZ1W/

And in print and Kindle here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Whats-Name-Stories-Life-Romance-ebook/dp/B0748MLZ1W

My other books

All my books are available on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B003B7O0T6

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

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

Smorgasbord – Letters from America 1985 -1987 – Birthday, New Car, Galverston and Houston Zoo


Welcome to the next post in the series Letters from America 1985 -1987. Last week we went on a road trip to Dallas and an encounter with a creepy crawler common in Texas… and another post on our Driving Test.

You can find previous posts in this directory: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/letters-from-america-1985-1987/

My first birthday in Houston was my 32nd on February 13th and a lot of things came together around that time as we found both our new home for the next two years in the Chancellor apartments, Parramatta Lane. Here is my letter to my parents announcing the good news and sharing a photo of our new car on February 23rd 1985.

Dear M and D,

Just dropped David off at the airport on his way to Kansas, We now have a new car, a Mercury Marquis which is a 3.8 litre version of the Granada and is pretty swish. Very easy to drive and has all the bells and whistles including the cruise control that I told you about in one of my earlier letters. I wondered why you could see drivers on the freeway with their bare feet hanging out the window.. now I know!

As you can see from the above address we have found an apartment. We move in on Saturday. It has two bedrooms with bathrooms en-suite and a large living come dining area. It also has a balcony overlooking a wooded exercise area with the pool opposite. It is on the second floor and quiet.. Having been in this temporary apartment for the last month right next to the children’s pool and play area, it made us realise that it might be a better position away from the public parts of the complex.

This place sounds quite swinging (in the nicest possible way). They are having a Hawaiian Evening soon which made David’s eyes light up!!! However, he is fairly resigned to the prospect, as it will give us a chance to meet our new neighbours. (I will have to go out and buy him a brightly patterned cotton shirt to wear.. that will really make his eyes light up!)

With George Washington’s birthday yesterday, we had a nice long weekend. On Saturday we went exploring up to Lake Conroe, north of Houston. We discovered a wealthy resort on the lake with enormous houses and a marina. We would have given our eye teeth to rent one. They are about 3,000 a month or more but fabulous.

Sunday we went to Galverston, south of the city, on the coast. We walked miles along the promenade, full of machos on rollerskates! It is obviously the pick up place…. We had lunch in a hotel on a pier over the Gulf of Mexico, I had a shrimp platter which turned out to be huge king prawns. Nothing like the tiny things we call shrimp in England.

Yesterday we went to Houston Zoo, the sun shone and it was about 75 degrees and beautiful. It is free to go in and we spent three hours walking around the park and were very impressed with it all. We followed this with a belated birthday dinner and after a very hectic weekend I was in bed by 10.30. No stamina at 32.

 

David is away now until Friday but has left me the new car as I need to buy things for the apartment. It is unfurnished, but when we walked around their show flat, I mentioned that I would like identical set up for our apartment. They are being very obliging and transferring it all across to our new place. Normally it would cost 180 dollars a month to rent the furniture but I managed to negotiate it to 105 dollars. I am obviously getting the hang of things!

Thank you for the photographs and everyone looks in good spirits (whisky and water no doubt) Once we are moved in I will invest in some photo frames.

Will write again in a week. Love from us both as always.

©sallycronin 2018

I hope you have enjoyed my trip down memory lane…….I would love your feedback as always. Thanks Sally

 

 

Smorgasbord Health Column – Pre-diabetes, Blood Sugar Control – Chromium


Last week I posted about the epidemic levels of Pre-diabetes and today I am following up with a mineral that is contained in sufficient foods to include on a daily basis in your diet that helps to control blood sugar levels. And in my experience help to curb sugar cravings.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/01/30/smorgasbord-health-column-pre-diabetes-the-epidemic-that-goes-unreported/

Chromium.

Chromium is an essential trace mineral that helps the body maintain normal blood sugar levels. A deficiency of the mineral can lead to diabetes and this is where the primary research into this mineral has been directed.

Chromium first and foremost is a component of the ‘glucose tolerance factor’ which is required for maintaining a normal blood glucose balance. Chromium works with insulin to ease the absorption of blood glucose into the cells and it may also play a part in other activities that involve insulin such as the metabolism of fats and proteins.

This last activity has opened a line of research in the effect of chromium on weight loss, building muscle and decreasing body fat and has led to a lot of chromium based products being put on the market in recent years. There is no definite proof that it works although some studies do claim that in a study that people on chromium lost more body fat over three months than those who did not take it.

It is more important to look at the role of chromium as we age, as there is an increasing numbers of patients who are diagnosed with late onset diabetes. This is nearly always related to dietary deficiency and the concern is that with our current trend towards eating processed foods and excess weight are responsible as we are automatically taking in less chromium in raw and unprocessed foods.

Chromium is very easy to lose from the body in urine, sweat and if we engage in excessive physical activity without the appropriate diet. However, chromium is very easy to include in any healthy diet and should not be needed in supplement form.

Blood Pressure and Blood Sugar Levels.

There are still a number of studies looking at the effect of Chromium Picolinate on high blood pressure and the reasoning is that increased blood sugar does increase blood pressure. Additionally high levels of LDL or low density lipoprotein, which has small particles and when oxidised clumps and blocks the arteries, resulting in high blood pressure, may also be reduced by taking Chromium Picolinate. Hence the use of it in this form in supplements especially as it is more easily absorbed by our digestive tracts.

We do not manufacture or store chromium in the body so it is necessary to eat foods regularly that contain it. One concern however, is that the foods that we eat that contain chromium, might not be as rich in the mineral as they used to be. It depends on the levels of the mineral in the soil they are grown in which is variable, dependent on the area and farming methods in use.

Foods rich in dietary chromium.

vegetablesBroccoli has the highest levels of chromium followed by other dark green leafy vegetables, romaine lettuce, onions and tomatoes. Wholegrains, potatoes, oysters and other seafood, liver, cheese, chicken, turkey, beef and lamb also contain. As you can see there is plenty of foods that are usually included daily in our diet but only if we are cooking from scratch. If your diet is primarily industrially produced in a packet you may not be getting the chromium you need.

Just taking a supplement is not the answer and if you are pre-diabetic. The body is used to processing foods to obtain the nutrients that it needs and the first place to start is a review of your diet.

If you have a severe sugar craving then you might then look at taking a chromium supplement to work alongside your diet. Do buy a high quality supplement as they are not all as good for you as you might think.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/01/25/absorbing-the-nutrients-and-avoiding-the-additives/

If you are a diabetic then you must make sure that you work with your medical advisor before taking any chromium supplement, as it will affect the dosage of any insulin you may be taking.

If you have any questions then please put in the comments section or if you wish to ask me something privately then please email me. sally.cronin@moyhill.com

 

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update – C.S. Boyack, Robbie and Michael Cheadle, Sally Cronin, Lucinda E. Clarke and Sandra J. Jackson


Welcome to the first of the Author updates this week and the first author with news is C.S. Boyack with a novella, The Hat released on January 11th.

About The Hat

Lizzie St. Laurent is dealing with many of the struggles of young life. She lost her grandmother, and her living arrangements. Her new roommate abandoned her, and she’s working multiple jobs just to keep her head above water.

She inherits an old hat from her grandmother’s estate, but it belonged to her grandfather. This is no ordinary hat, but a being from an alternate dimension. One with special powers.

Lizzie and the hat don’t exactly hit it off right away, but when her best friend’s newborn is kidnapped by a ring of baby traffickers, Lizzie turns to the hat for help. This leads her deep into her family history and a world she’s never known.

Lizzie gives up everything to rescue the babies. She loses her jobs, and may wind up in jail before it’s over. Along the way, she and the hat may have a new way of making ends meet.

Humorous and fun, The Hat is novella length. Wonderful escapism for an afternoon.

One of the early reviews for The Hat

Kindle Customer 5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining Story with Intriguing Characters! January 13, 2018

This new book by C. S. Boyack is very creative in approach. His characters are highly engaging as the story unfolds. There are several twists along the way Lizzie discovers her hat is more than it appears and she’s then drawn into an adventure with her new companion. Boyack, holds your attention and keeps you turning pages with this entertaining story and intriguing characters. This book won’t disappoint readers.

Head over the buy The Hat: https://www.amazon.com/Hat-C-S-Boyack-ebook/dp/B078YYCNSF

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hat-C-S-Boyack-ebook/dp/B078YYCNSF

A selection of books by C.S. Boyack

 Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/C.-S.-Boyack/e/B00ILXBXUY

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/C.-S.-Boyack/e/B00ILXBXUY

Read more reviews and follow C.S. Boyack on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9841203.C_S_Boyack

Connect with Craig via his blog: http://coldhandboyack.wordpress.com

The next authors with a new review are Robbie and Michael Cheadle with the Sir Chocolate and the Sugar Dough Bees story and cookbook.

About Sir Chocolate and the Sugar Dough Bees

A greedy snail damages the flower fields and the fondant bees are in danger of starving. Join Sir Chocolate on an adventure to find the fruit drop fairies who have magic healing powers and discover how to make some of his favourite foods on the way.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Deborah A. Bowman, author 5.0 out of 5 stars A Work of Art; Sweet Treats of Magical Creatures; Recipes; and a Darling Story in Verse! January 11, 2018

This is the most creative children’s and bakers’ heavenly book I’ve ever experienced! This is definitely a one-of-a-kind treat!

There are no illustrations, just incredible photographs of “… visions of sugarplums that dance in their heads …”; made of chocolate with vivid colors and totally edible.

What an amazing collection of literature with uniqueness I’ve never encountered before, and I’m a collector of classic and unusual books as well as an avid reader and reviewer!

This little book is a treasure of mixed art for all ages. This BOOK is for families and generations to come. An incredible, delectable keepsake.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Chocolate-Sugar-Dough-Story-Cookbook/dp/1911070649

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Chocolate-Sugar-Dough-Story-Cookbook/dp/191107064

Other books by Robbie and Michael Cheadle

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Robbie-Cheadle/e/B01N9J62GQ

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Robbie-Cheadle/e/B01N9J62GQ

Read more reviews and follow Robbie on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15584446.Robbie_Cheadle

Connect to Robbie and Michael via their blog: https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/

Now time to blow my own trumpet.. well Sam’s trumpet really since this book is his autobiography. Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story.

About Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story

The true story of Sam, a rough collie, written from his perspective. A tribute to a true friend and a genuine family member. Millions of families around the World believe that their pet, dog or cat is the most intelligent, beautiful and loyal friend that anyone could have. And they are absolutely right. From the first moment that I met Sam, when he was just three weeks old, his personality and charm shone from his button eyes. Like many pet owners, we were convinced he understood every word we spoke and he actually could say one or two himself. Rather than tell his story from our perspective I have given him a voice and let him tell his own. I can only imagine what he really thought about his two and four-legged friends but I do hope he loved us as much as we adored him and the time he spent with us shining brightly in our lives. If only our pets could talk how much richer the world would be, and funnier.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Since reading Barca’s Rufus and Stein’s The Art of Racing in the Rain (click to see the reviews)–both told through a dog’s voice–I am always on the hunt for stories told from the dog’s perspective. I’ve read many and found most without the empathy and confidence that makes we humans so love our dogs as companions, not as mastered creatures. Sally Cronin’s Sam: A Shaggy Dog Story (Moyhill Publishing 2013) is one of those books. Sam is a sheepdog, considered one of the smartest of the dog breeds, and Sam doesn’t let us down. I’m honored that through Sally, Sam shares his life with me, takes the time to tell me his dreams, his mistakes and victories. Sam is wise, loving, understanding, and most important, as good a friend as any human could ever have. In this book, readers see how Sam separates from his pack and adapts to his two-legged replacements. We see how he trains his humans and models a life filled with companionship, respect, trust, and loyalty. In the end, all I wanted (besides a sequel) was to be more like Sam.

Enjoy the pictures the author included. Sam is gorgeous!

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Sam-Shaggy-Story-Sally-Cronin/dp/190559741X

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sam-Shaggy-Story-Sally-Cronin/dp/190559741X

A selection of other books by Sally Cronin

 

To read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sally-Cronin/e/B0096REZM2/

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

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

The next author with a recent review to share is Lucinda E. Clarke for her latest book Amie: Cut for Life

About the book

They told Amie it was a simple look, listen and report back mission, but from the beginning everything went wrong. She is stalked across borders, the aid workers act suspiciously, she’s assaulted, and abandoned in a rural African hut miles from anywhere. What has happened to her partner Simon and can she trust the charismatic Frenchman who befriends her? The discovery of an ancient tribal tradition and a group of young children to rescue, test her skills to the limit. For the first time, she is prepared to kill to protect the innocent caught up in an international sex trade with an extra horrifying twist.

One of the recent reviews for the book

I’ve read others in the Amie thriller series and this one must be one of the best. As with each of the books, the author creates a great feeling of the presence of primal Africa and its exotic beauty. This episode reflects on an old but brutal tribal tradition of FGM and the sex-trafficking danger facing vulnerable young women. A fascinating story unfolds that twists and turns to produce surprise after surprise especially when it’s not clear who is trustworthy and who is not. Well-plotted suspense, fast-paced, with engaging characters who are brought to life by disarming and vivid writing. The main character, Amie, has developed in so many ways over the series and even more so in this episode in which she crosses a significant line, which would have been unthinkable for Amie in the first book. Highly recommended.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Amie-LIFE-Lucinda-E-Clarke-ebook/dp/B07545M9DB

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Amie-CUT-LIFE-Lucinda-Clarke-ebook/dp/B07545M9DB

Also by Lucinda E. Clarke

Read the reviews and buy all the books: https://www.amazon.com/Lucinda-E-Clarke/e/B00FDWB914

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lucinda-E-Clarke/e/B00FDWB914

Read more reviews and follow Lucinda on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7996778.Lucinda_E_Clarke

Connect to Lucinda via her website: http://lucindaeclarkeauthor.com

Now time to catch up with Sandra J. Jackson and her book released late last year, Playing in the Rain ( Escape Series Book 1).

About Playing in the Rain

There’s nothing harder than pretending to be unaware, robotic even, but that’s exactly what A2 has to do once the drug starts wearing off. Constantly being followed by the camera’s red eye, A2 is mindful of her every move as she tries to understand where she is and why. Things get more complicated for her when she is introduced to another robotic girl.

Who is she and how did they both get there?

A recent review for the book

The Indomitability of the Human Spirit
Playing in the Rain by Sandra Jackson features a protagonist, CECIL, with political nihilist leanings who seems to be advocating for destruction of the current social system as a condition for future advance of the species. Well intentioned or not, there is no free will in the contrived colony of his creation. Instead social advancement, in his “Utopia” is to be gained by subjecting the young and intelligent to mind bending, identity suppression and reprogramming and even death. It is in the very artificial world where this aging protagonist makes aliens of real people that he ironically mutates into a sinister alien. However as he becomes trapped in the destructive inescapable reality of his own making, the remaining survivors hear the rain and develop a new determination to free themselves.

Read the other reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Playing-Rain-Escape-Book-1-ebook/dp/B075NN3HQ4

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B075NN3HQ4

Also by Sandra J. Jackson

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

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

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

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

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you will explore these authors and their books further. You will find over nearly 150 authors in the cafe and bookstore with books across most genres.

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

 

 

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Christmas Book Fair Extra… I nearly forgot to promote my own books!!!


Here are my some of my current books that I would like to share today.  I have also included some of the reviews for the books on Amazon and by bloggers.  The icing on the cake..

All except for Just Food for Health are available in E-versions for most readers. You can buy all my books from my own bookstore at the links beneath the titles below but also on

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

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

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/SallyGCronin

More reviews can be found on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7979187.Sally_Cronin

My latest book was published on July 27th 2017 – What’s in Name – Volume Two – Stories of life and romance. The print version of combined volumes one and two is available in the UK and Ireland

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 reviews.

What’s in a Name? Book 2 is a wonderful collection of short stories that will touch your heart. You will find romance, tragedy and heartache. Each story is titled with a male or female name which continues alphabetically from Book 1.

Sally Cronin is a consummate storyteller who has the innate ability to weave a fascinating tale that grips the reader from the first sentence. This reader felt lifted when the characters were exuberant and crushed when they had heartache. If an author can enable a reader to feel the joy and angst along with the characters she has created, she is an exceptional writer!

My favorite was the first story about Kenneth. This story touched me deeply as Kenneth watches the love of his life dancing on New Year’s Eve. I don’t want to give anything away by saying too much. Each story tells an unforgettable tale with a twist at the end. Surprises and twists abound in these fabulous stories. I couldn’t put the book down.

Sally Cronin has many other entertaining books to offer. Several of them I have read and highly recommend them all.

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

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

What’s in a Name – Volume One – Short Story Collection.

Twenty colourful stories of people who have been given the names of the great and legendary and find it a challenge sometimes to live up to them.

The latest review for the collection

What’s in a Name by Sally Cronin is an absolute gem of a book. Cronin is a gifted storyteller, and readers are sure to be moved and intrigued by this collection that was inspired by real-life occurrences. These are stories that will move you and stay with you long after you finish. I read through this collection in one day and have revisited it many times since. A book so enticing is a true testament to the skill of an author. To keep a book near, allowing one to relish in the many emotions it is sure to evoke, ultimately speaks to the treasures held within.

The characters come to life, and it’s impossible not to think of similar people we have met along our own journeys. I laughed and cried, found solace in heartfelt reflection.
A highly recommended read. This is a gift for the soul.

 You can read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Whats-Name-Sally-Cronin-ebook/dp/B01N6Y8BK1

and on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Whats-Name-Sally-Cronin-ebook/dp/B01N6Y8BK1

Also now in print available in the UK and Ireland only.

Amazon UK:https://www.amazon.co.uk/Whats-Name-Volumes-1-2/dp/1905597797

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Sam – A Shaggy Dog Story – for dog lovers

Millions of families around the World believe that their pet, dog or cat is the most intelligent, beautiful and loyal friend that anyone could have. And they are absolutely right.

If only our pets could talk how much richer the world would be, and funnier.

One of the recent reviews for Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story

Brigid Gallagher rated it 5 stars on Goodreads.

Sally Cronin fell in love at first sight with Sam, a collie puppy. I must admit I too fell in love with Sam from the moment I saw his photograph on the cover of Sally’s book!

“Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story” is a delight from start to finish. Sam recounts meeting Sally and her husband David for the first time, finding his forever home with them, and settling into life as an “only child”.

He meets Henry a feral cat, who fathers three fine kittens with his lovely partner, and Sam tells us many tales of their friendship in his own doggy style. He enjoys long beach walks where he befriends Abby a white terrier, plays in deep snow on his second winter ” like young puppies getting soaked and exhausted in the process,” and enjoys road trips with Sally in her sporty car.

Sam eventually moves to Spain, where he enjoys chasing water hoses and amusing guests with his party piece of asking for more or “mawgh.” One day Sally is busy with work and tells Sam “You are beginning to sound like Oliver Twist, and if you don’t stop pestering me I will call you Oliver in future.” Sam replies! “Oh, Ee, Va” which becomes more emphasised as “ORH,EE,VA.” He earns a favourite food reward.

Sally’s writing style is gentle, warm and full of humour. Sam’s photographs will delight you, and his words will leave you feeling blessed that you bought Sally’s book

Amazon US Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Sally-Cronin/e/B0096REZM2

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

Size Matters – Especially when you weigh 330lbs

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If I could communicate just a single message to you it is that
obesity, and the misery attached to it, need not be for life.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Tina rated it 5 stars

Size Matters is Sally Georgina Cronin’s no-holds-barred, true-life story of her journey from near-death obesity to vibrant health.

I first was struck by the author’s willingness to share so many personal things most of us would hold to dearly as private; things that would humiliate; things we’d be hard-pressed to look in the mirror and admit even to ourselves. I knew anyone willing to bridge this gap must be someone with integrity and a deep concern for her fellow human beings.

I wasn’t far into the book before finding the encouragement I needed. The last paragraph of chapter one said it all: “What began as a painful journey into my past became an exciting adventure in the present with expectations of a much brighter future.” Above all else, I wanted a bright future. And Ms. Cronin’s approach proffered that hope.

I’m not going to detail the specifics of this book, because a peek inside on Amazon will show you the table of contents and highlight the details of the program she developed. What I want to shine a light on is the inspiration she exemplifies and offers to all those battling a weight problem.

She knew almost any help given by the medical/scientific/etc. communities would offer template approaches to weight reduction, approaches she and many others have tried and failed at miserably. Because her health was in such jeopardy, she needed not only to urgently change her eating habits, but also to have the results be permanent. Thus began her journey within and her search for a sustainable healthy future.

It’s difficult enough to put one foot in front of the other on a daily basis in this fast-paced technological age. Everyone is multi-tasking and running fast to stand still. So when we find ourselves faced with a life-threatening condition, fear leads us to seek a quick fix. But quick fixes are almost never permanent and almost always detrimental. The author recognized this and strove instead to find her own way back home to herself.

Although despairing and contemplating suicide, she reached deep inside and found a way to kindle her common sense, which provided the ladder needed to climb out of the pit into which she’d dug herself. Admitting her weaknesses and acknowledging her strengths, she put the totality of herself into turning her life around. Plying patience and dogged determination, she climbed out of the suffocating abyss and surfaced into the fresh air of a promising and vibrant life.

I have never been obese, but I have carried extra weight at different times throughout my life. Taking off 10 or 15 pounds is hard enough. I can only imagine the devastation one must feel when facing the necessity of a 150-pound weight reduction. And I use the word “reduction” rather than “loss,” because I think the mind always seeks to find that which has been lost.

In my opinion, this book is not only a comprehensive text for permanent weight reduction, but also a “how to” guide for breaking the shackles of destructive behavior and tenaciously moving forward.

When asked in grade school to name five people who inspire us, most children look to either their families or noted figures in the world. And yet there are so many working humbly behind the global scenes who seek neither notoriety nor acclaim. I believe they’re referred to as unsung heroes.

This review is as much an acknowledgement of the author’s positive contribution to the world as it is of her all-inclusive approach to weight reduction in this outstanding book, which I highly recommend. Shed an ounce of weight, gain a pound of self-confidence. Sally Cronin is an inspirational example for all

 Turning back the clockAn anti-aging programme.
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Living forever is not an option!

However, feeling younger and looking younger is an option available to all!

The maximum lifespan a human being can currently expect today is around 120 years. However, not many of us really want to be even 90 or 100 years old, if it means that we are going to end up filled with medication and tucked away in a corner in some nursing home, unaware of our surroundings.

Making healthy diet and lifestyle choices as early as possible will help you get as near as possible to your maximum age whilst enjoying good physical and mental vitality. In my latest book I not only take a look at the physical aspects of aging but also the mental and emotional issues that we should address earlier rather than later.

Amazon US Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Sally-Cronin/e/B0096REZM2

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

Flights of Fancy – Short Story Collection

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A few years ago I produced an audio CD of 6 short stories and today these stories and another five stories plus my novella The Sewing Circle are published in Flights of Fancy.

Ghosts hint at a chance of coming back to say goodbye, exact a little payback, or simply to help someone else carry on living. Romance is not just for the young and nor are second chances. As for revenge, well … never underestimate a group of elderly ladies with contacts from the past!

One of the reviews for the collection

Sally’s lovely little collection of short stories and even a novella offers a variety of everyday life situations and then some. From romance to insecurities (body issues, anyone else?) and even a psychic bird, Cronin’s writing is sharp and edited to perfection. Perfect for a quick read or a great way to pass a few afternoons. This is the first I’ve read of hers, it won’t be the last.

Amazon US Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Sally-Cronin/e/B0096REZM2

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

Just an Odd Job Girl

 Imogen was fifty!

 

Life is unpredictable and will often throw you a curve ball that knocks you out of the park.

For Imogen this curve ball knocked her out of a twenty five year marriage and a lovingly renovated home into a single life at age 50. She had been a very contented wife and mother of two children, who for every one of those 25 years had thought her husband had been equally as happy. It was a shock to find out that she had been delusional and replaced so easily.

Her confidence was non-existent. She had forgotten any skills she possessed and was totally unprepared to enter the modern job market. Or so she thought.

One of the recent reviews for the book

on 11 October 2017

Her husband of over twenty-five years announces he has found himself a new and younger woman; a fast-tracker, as Imogen dubs her. This is a girl who is out to get man who has already established himself and made money, rather than marry someone of her own age and have to struggle their way to the top together.

Not only does Imogen lose her husband, she is left with no choice but to move from the family home and re-jig her life completely. It’s a daunting task; the children have flown the nest and she hasn’t worked in years.
Alone in her new little home on the edge of Epping Forest Imogen browses the local newspaper and comes across an ad from an employment agency. She telephones, makes an appointment, cobbles together something to wear and, for the first time in a very long time, compiles a CV.
The adventure begins.
From here the story takes Imogen to her interview, where Mr Jenkins ( call me Andrew) invites her to talk him through all the jobs, and there are quite a few, that she has previously undertaken.
Each chapter then describes unlikely and varied forms of employment. There is a lot of humour in the writing, but also some pathos too.
I won’t reveal the ending but, though it came as no surprise, it was just what was needed for this story, with a little comeuppance for the dastardly husband thrown in.

Reading a book like Just an Odd Job Girl by Sally Cronin reminds me that I should do this more often -I love thrillers and dark stories but a little lightheartedness, occasionally, goes a very long way.

Amazon US Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Sally-Cronin/e/B0096REZM2

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

Forget the Viagra – Pass me a Carrot… Men’s Health Manual –

51X6tXcHZRL._UY250_The latest headlines in the Media recently are constantly highlighting the fact that men are at risk as they ignore early symptoms of life threatening disease. Cardiovascular and Prostate disease if caught in the early stages can be treated and managed but surveys indicate that men do not know what symptoms they should be looking for.

Despite the title, Forget the Viagra, Pass me a Carrot! is not just about the physical causes of sexual dysfunction and the dangers of taking a drug that is bought without medical consultation, but about men’s health in general. A workshop manual takes the working parts, describes how they function, what can go wrong and how to prevent problems in the future. This men’s health manual – does just that – takes all the major organs, illustrates how they work, the symptoms to look for and also how to avoid the problems in the first place.

It is never too late to make changes that can give your body a great chance at a long and vital life.

Review – J.E. Spina September 2016.

This book was chock full of information on the workings and processing of the human body. Sally Cronin, the author, has produced an incredible resource for all. Everything you ever needed to know about diet, exercise, super foods, vitamins, what’s good and bad for your body and even how to breathe more effectively to keep your body working better.

There is a lot to take in but I felt that I gained an enormous amount of essential information that I always wanted to know.

Sally is a wonderful nutritionist who takes her profession seriously and is always available to answer questions or lend a hand to her clients. She also has a fabulous blog which I follow religiously. I love her books and look forward to more from this talented and articulate author.

Amazon US Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Sally-Cronin/e/B0096REZM2

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

 Tales from the Garden

Newsflash: Tales from the Garden will be available in Spanish in the next few days!

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Fairy Stories for children of all ages, from five to ninety-five that will change the way you look at your garden, forever.

With over 80 photos/illustrations, “Tales from the Garden” by Sally Cronin,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.

One of the reviews

Magical!  on April 1, 2017

Author Sally Cronin mixes imagination, whimsy and magic to create this charming collection of short stories. Each tale takes place in the garden and lovely photos contribute to the enchantment.

First, we meet the Head Guardians of the Magic Garden. These powerful stone creatures introduce us to the fairy kingdom that lies under the old magnolia tree. According to the Guardians, which look like magnificent Lions to me, once every 500 years some very special people are allowed a glimpse into the magical world of fairies.

The Guardians let us peak at the inhabitants and learn more about their lives, which are quite entertaining. We meet the Dwarves Stoned Band, the King and Queen of the Fairies, the one-eyed pig, and other friendly creatures, and we watch them all cavort and celebrate birthdays and hold summer balls.

My favorite fairy tale story told how the garden folk fought against the Winter Fairy, thanks to the help of the Dragon, who has his own internal combustion system. But, the story that I loved the most is about Mollie (The Duchess) Coleman. Author Cronin’s mother tells about her favorite gardens through the years. Mrs. Coleman liked pink flowers, and believed in being dressed and ready for her say by 9:00 each morning. She closes her recap by saying, “If you catch sight of me perhaps you could do me a great favour and pop a large cut-glass tumbler of whisky and water, no ice thank you, on the table beside me.”

My pleasure, Mrs. Coleman. I would have loved to chat with you and savor a whisky in your lovely garden.

Sally Cronin writes with a warm, friendly voice and creates fairy tales with a modern feel to them. I highly recommend this delightful collection. Readers will enjoy relaxing in their own gardens, as they read these pleasant tales and gaze at the photos. This would also be a wonderful book to read to the youngsters in your life.

My mother read fairy tales to me and I believed in the wee folk. I did look for them under flowers and under the forsythia branches. Tales from the Garden continues the delight!

Amazon US Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Sally-Cronin/e/B0096REZM2

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

Thank you for dropping and if you have any questions about the books please do not hesitate to contact me..If you live outside of Ireland and the UK and would like a copy of the print edition of What’s In a Name with both volumes then we can make arrangements.. sally.cronin@moyhill.com

Merry Christmas.

Smorgasbord Posts from MY archives – Short Story and FREE Ebook – Three Mince Pies by Sally Cronin


Here is one of the stories from my first short story collection released in 2003. Flights of Fancy and if you like this story you are most welcome to have a FREE ebook.. either Mobi for Kindle or Epub for other devices.

All you have to do is email me on sally.cronin@moyhill.com and ask for the format of your choice.

Three Mince Pies by Sally Cronin

mince piesThe little girl lay in bed asleep, long blonde hair spread over her pillow. From her restless movements it was obvious that she was in the grip of a disturbing dream; dark rings beneath her eyes gave her small face a pinched and unhappy look.

Downstairs, Jenny looked at the Christmas decorations and cards around the room. In the corner, the tree lights sparkled and flashed through the tinsel; presents for Sophie were piled beneath its green spiky branches in a colourful heap. Family and friends had rallied round, determined Sophie would have everything her father would have bought her this Christmas.

Jenny rested her hands on the mantelpiece and stared at the photograph in front of her. It was the last that was taken of them all together. They smiled out of the picture, brown and happy on their holiday in the south of Spain at the end of October. It had been their first family holiday in three years; business had been tough and there had been no extra money for vacations or other luxuries. Ironically, she now had more money than she knew what to do with, but she would give it all back in a heartbeat.

Jack had inherited his father’s building business and although initially work had been plentiful, there had been more and more competition for fewer contracts. He had worked seven days a week and she could see from his face that this was taking its toll. Just after their holiday in Spain, Jack began to experience chest pains that he dismissed as indigestion after eating and drinking too much while they were away. Jenny had grown more and more concerned, begging him to go and get checked out. To keep the peace, Jack had begrudgingly taken a couple of hours off one evening and gone to the surgery. The next day he was in hospital undergoing tests, and that afternoon he was taken to theatre for an emergency operation.

It had all happened so fast they had barely time to talk about the situation. Jenny had been unable to take Sophie in to to see her father before he was rushed away from them by concerned medical staff. She had called out to him as he was wheeled away; but she had no way of knowing if he had heard her soft “I love you.”

She and Sophie had sat in the family room, playing with coloured bricks and a jigsaw to pass the long hours into the night. There had been other families in the room; all looking nervously at the clock until doctors or nurses entered to reassure them that their loved ones were safely recovering from their operations.

They were alone when finally a tall man in a green scrub suit entered the waiting room, loosening the mask from around his face. Jenny took one look at his eyes and knew from their bleak directness that there would be no visit to the recovery room for them.

She allowed the tears to fall; here in private where she could grieve. Away from the eyes of her small daughter who could not understand why Daddy was not coming home from work every night. She tried to be strong for Sophie’s sake, but she had watched her normally lively child lose weight, become silent and withdrawn. Tomorrow was Christmas Day how could they face it without him?

She heard a noise from upstairs. Sophie would be having one of her nightmares, crying for her daddy, tossing and turning, and reaching out into the dark. Wiping the tears from her face, Jenny walked upstairs to her daughter’s bedroom. She opened the door quietly and was startled to see Sophie sitting up in bed, clutching her teddy bear and staring across the room.

Jenny followed the direction of her daughter’s eyes, to the toy cupboard with a plate of mince pies and a glass of sherry on the top. As she stared across the room, she felt warm air flow over her. She blinked and stared at a glowing light that grew brighter and brighter. Clamping a hand over her mouth, she darted a glance over at Sophie and was amazed to see her daughter smiling and holding out her hand to the light. Jenny’s eyes were drawn back to the other side of the bedroom and she gasped, as in the incandescent glow, she saw her husband’s body materialise.

Riveted to the spot she watched Jack reach out a hand, take a mince pie from the plate and raise it to his lips. Taking a bite he grinned across at her. She felt the warmth of his gaze as it rested on her eyes and her mouth and an overwhelming sense of peace passed through her. Jack nodded once and then walked across to his daughter’s bedside where he reached out and touched Sophie’s outstretched hand. A radiant glow spread across the child’s face and laying back against the pillow her breathing settled into a gentle rhythm; she was peacefully asleep.

Her father left Sophie’s bedside and walked to the door where Jenny stood absolutely still as his body passed in front of her. He stopped and she looked into his eyes and felt a gentle touch on her shoulders. He smiled at her and all the love that they had shared was in that too brief moment between them; she knew that he was saying goodbye. He moved out into the hall and turned for one last glance over his shoulder. Gradually the light faded and the figure disappeared, but the warmth of his presence remained wrapped around her like an invisible cloak.

She stood for a few minutes with head bowed, absorbing and taking strength from that feeling before crossing to her daughter’s bedside. She kissed her forehead gently and moved over to the toy cupboard where she stared at the plate with its two mince pies. She always put three of the treats out for Father Christmas. This year he really had come to visit.

©sallycronin Flights of Fancy 2009

I hope you have enjoyed the story and if you would like a copy of one of my earlier books FREE then please email me and let me know if you need mobi for Kindle or Ebub for other devices.. Sally.cronin@moyhill.com

If you feel so inclined.. my other books are available in print and in Ebook. My latest What’s In a Name volume 1&2 is in print for the UK only at the current time.

My books and Reviews 2017

Here are my current books available on Amazon and  Smashwords. 

All except for Just Food for Health are available in E-versions for most readers. You can buy all my books from my own bookstore at the links beneath the titles below but also on

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Sally-Cronin/e/B0096REZM2

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

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/SallyGCronin

More reviews can be found on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7979187.Sally_Cronin

My latest book was published on July 27th 2017 – What’s in Name – Volume Two – Stories of life and romance. The print version of combined volumes one and two is available in the UK and Ireland

This is one of the reviews for What’s in a Name Volume Two.

One of my most FAVORITE reads of 2017 September 5, 2017 by

Carmen Stefanescu

It is the first fiction book written by Sally Cronin that I’ve had the opportunity to read. I was drawn into What’s in a Name collection and went on reading until the last story was done. I would call most of them ” tales with a twist.” I really did enjoy this book…you may need some tissue at times. You will love the unexpected and won’t think to put the book down. I found it hard to put down

The motives and emotions of the characters in all of the stories were well defined and expressed. I really liked the fact that each story came to a satisfying ending and the next story quickly engaged me with the new people and place. It’s undoubtedly one of my most FAVORITE reads of 2017, in my TOP 5. Sally Cronin creates stories that will keep you flipping pages and loving it!

I won’t tell you what they are about because being short stories I would reveal important details and I want other readers to live themselves the emotions I experienced. What I can tell you is that each story is as touching and compelling as the next one. The thread that links them all stories or characters is sacrifice and romance. Children, parents, lovers, life being lived.

These stories are for me like a fragrant flowers bouquet, each flower having its own special color and scent.

If you are short on time, What’s in a Name allows you to read something start to finish, which I love. Great for airplanes or a one hour mental break, beside being just great for personal “escape from the world.”

Thank you for dropping in today.. Sally

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