Smorgasbord Summer Jazz 2017 – William Price King meets Tony Bennett – Happy 90th Birthday


Welcome to the finale at least of this part of Tony Bennett’s life. There seems to be no reason to believe that we will not be celebrating the next ten years of this extraordinary artist’s life. His lifetime of dedication to his technique ensures that his voice remains as true as ever and to look at the last 15 years of Tony’s performances, chart successes and collaborations I will now hand you over to William Price King. You will find all the other parts to this series in this directory https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/william-price-king/

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Tony Bennett believes in giving back to his local community as well as those around the world which are in need. As well as performing at charity benefits and supporting international aid efforts he is committed to promoting the creative arts for the young. In 1999 he and his wife Susan Benedetto founded Exploring the Arts (ETA) to promote the role of the arts in public school education. ETA connects private donors, individual artists and cultural institutions to Partner Schools with the aim of reducing the impact of budgetary cuts, and sustaining a culture of opportunity for students through various programmes. The first of these was the establishment of the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts in 2001 in partnership with the NYC Department of Education. ETA currently partners with 17 public high schools, 14 in the boroughs of New York City and 3 in Los Angeles

Tony Bennett’s music since 2000 has been a combination of solo performances and collaborations with some of the top contemporary artist such as Amy Winehouse and Lady Gaga. The first album in 2000, The Ultimate Tony Bennett reached #2 in the Jazz chart at home and set the scene for the next ten years.

His second album of the new millennium was in the company of some incredible musicians and singers. Playin’ With My Friends: Bennett Sings The Blues entertains with well-loved tracks such as Let The Good Times Roll with B.B. King, New York State of Mind with Billy Joel and the 1933 song by Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler, Stormy Weather with Natalie Cole. The album achieved gold status and reached #2 in the US Jazz chart. Uploaded by Diogo Brito e Faro

This was followed up later in the year with a live album Christmas in Vienna VII with Charlotte Church, Placido Domingo and Vanessa Williams. This powerhouse combination took the album into the charts in Europe.

The next album that took the charts by storm was the collaboration with k.d. Lang in 2002. A Wonderful World hit Gold and Platinum status and was #41 in the US Chart, #2 in the Jazz chart and in the top 50 in several international charts. Tracks included La Vie en Rose by Mack David, David Louiguy and Edith Piaf; Dream A Little Dream Of Me by Fabian Andre, Gus Khan and Wilbur Schwandt and What A Wonderful World by Robert Thiele and George David Weiss. Uploaded by IvanRQ8

A reminder of just some of the accolades that Tony Bennett had received during his long career to this point.

  • Star on the Hollywood of Fame
  • Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2001
  • Lifetime Achievement Award from The American Society of Composers, Author and Publishers in 2002.
  • In 2005, Tony was recipient of the Kennedy Center Honor.
  • Inducted into the Long Island Hall of Fame.

In August 2006 it was Tony Bennett’s 80th birthday and celebrations took place throughout the year with performances and accolades pouring in from around the world. Apart from Tony’s birthday there was another cause for celebration as his album Duets: An American Classic reached the highest ever in the album charts and received two Grammy Awards. It went gold and platinum as it hit the International charts at #1 in the US and in the top 20 across the main music charts in the world. The songs that Tony chose for this birthday album represented the best of the American Song Book and included Lullaby Of Broadway with Dixie Chicks, Put On A Happy Face with James Taylor, Smile with Barbra Streisand, The Good Life with Billy Joel, Just in Time with Michael Buble, If I Ruled The World with Celine Dion and most appropriately, The Best Is Yet To Come by Cy Coleman and Carolyn Leigh performed with Diana Krall. tonybennettVEVO

During that year of celebration Rob Marshall directed a television special Tony Bennett: An American Classic that aired at Thanksgiving and received multiple Emmy Awards and the Billboard Century Award. Tony also appeared on the sixth season of American Idol as a guest mentor, passing on his great experience and knowledge to the lucky contestants.

He received further recognition from the International community and received the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Humanitarian Award for his charity work. In 2006 he was awarded the National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters Award which is the highest honor that the United States bestows on jazz musicians.

In 2008 Tony teamed up with the Count Basie Big Band for a Christmas special and appeared with Billy Joel at the final concerts of New York State of Mind at Shea Stadium.

Despite heading towards his 85th birthday Tony Bennett was not slowing down and in a follow up to his first highly successful collaboration album, he released Duets II. The seventeen tracks with artists from across the broad spectrum of music techniques included Aretha Franklin, Willie Nelson, Queen Latifah, Josh Groban, Carrie Underwood and Lady Gaga. Again this album did extremely well in the charts both in America and around the world nearly all in the top ten.

His duet with Amy Winehouse, one of the last recordings made before her untimely death, charted in the Billboard Hot 100 making Tony Bennett the oldest living artist to appear there as well as the performer with the greatest span of appearances in the chart. The album also debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200, the first time Tony had reached that spot and making him the oldest living artist to do so.

Later that year Columbia released Tony Bennett – The Complete Collection which is a 73 CD plus 3-DVD set and whilst not quite representative of all his work brought many of his original vinyl onto CD with some previously unreleased material.

Buy the set: Complete Collection Amazon

On the performance side, Tony Bennett appeared at the Royal Variety Performance in the presence of HRH Princess Anne in December 2011 and in October 2012 he performed his signature song I Left My Heart in San Francisco in front of more than 100,000 fans at a City Hall ceremony commemorating the 2012 World Series victory by the San Francisco Giants. He also published another memoir, Life is a Gift: The Zen of Bennett alongside a documentary produced by his son Danny of the same title.

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An area that we have not touched on is Tony Bennett’s other creative success as an artist. He paints under the name of Anthony Benedetto or just Benedetto. He followed on from his childhood interest with professional training and had spent a lifetime exploring the best art museums of the world. He sketches or paints every day, often the views out of hotel windows when on tour. He has exhibited in galleries around the world and was commissioned by the United Nations to do two paintings, including one for its 50th Anniversary. You can find out more about his artwork https://tonybennett.com/benedetto_arts.php

2014 brought a stunning new collaboration that would delight Tony’s fans. The album Cheek to Cheek with Lady Gaga debuted at #1 on the Billboard charts and swept through the top ten in the major international charts. At the end of 2014 these two unique and iconic artists kicked off their Cheek to Cheek tour.

On September 25, 2015, he released an album composed by Jerome Kern, featuring Bill Charlap on piano, called The Silver Lining: The Songs of Jerome Kern. Tracks include Pick Yourself Up, They Didn’t Believe Me and Look For The Silver Lining.

As we all celebrate the continued success and artistry that is Tony Bennett as he celebrates his 90th birthday here is a quote that illustrates his artistic stance from an interview in 2010.

I’m not staying contemporary for the big record companies, I don’t follow the latest fashions. I never sing a song that’s badly written. In the 1920s and ’30s, there was a renaissance in music that was the equivalent of the artistic Renaissance. Cole Porter, Johnny Mercer and others just created the best songs that had ever been written. These are classics, and finally they’re not being treated as light entertainment. This is classical music.”

To end this finale of the Tony Bennett story to this point in his career, here is a track from the album Cheek to Cheek with Lady Gaga.

Happy Birthday Tony.. Here is to the next ten years!

About William Price King

William Price King is an American jazz singer, musician and composer. Originally he studied classical music and opera but over the years his style has evolved to what many refer to as the ‘sweet point’ where music and voice come together so beautifully.

His vocal mentors are two of the greatest giants in jazz, Nat King Cole and Mel Torme. His jazz album, ‘Home,’ is a collection of contemporary songs and whilst clearly a homage to their wonderful legacy it brings a new and refreshing complexity to the vocals that is entrancing.

His latest album Eric Sempe and William Price King is now available to download. The repertory includes standards such as “Bye Bye Blackbird” (a jazz classic), Sting’s “Englishman in New York,” Queen’s “The Show Must Go On”, Led Zepplin’s “Stairway to Heaven” and other well-known jazz, pop, and rock classics.

William and Eric Sempe have also brought their own magic to the album with original tracks such as Keep on Dreaming and Red Snow with collaboration with Jeanne King

Download the new album. http://cdbaby.com/cd/williampriceking

William is currently in France where he performs in popular Jazz Venues in Nice and surrounding area.

You can find the other artists in the previous series here:

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/william-price-king-a-man-and-his-music-jazz-classical-and-contemporary-legends/

We hope you have enjoyed the series and please let us know as well as share the post with your networks.. thanks Sally

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Smorgasbord Weekly Round Up – End of Summer Parties, Great guests and Music


Good morning from Ireland and you might wonder what the round up is doing here at just after midnight on a Monday morning. After the first two party days of the rave on the blog I thought it might be better sent out after the revellers had gone home. However, there appear to be some who are in not just a time zone of their own but a world of their own.

It has been an amazing weekend and wonderful to see so many bloggers from the last four years dropping in with their links and music requests. So many requests in fact that I will be scheduling a couple of music posts later in the week for the tracks that I could not feature over the three days. Including of course everyone’s links and books etc.. Still time for you to put yours into the final party post later today.

 

If you head over to the posts you will see that my book Just an Odd Job Girl is FREE for the weekend.. You will need to email me for a copy sally.cronin@moyhill.com and let me know if you would like a mobi for Kindle or epub for all other devices.

Also this week I will be introducing the new series of the author interviews. As always I have changed the theme and I will be interviewing myself to give you an idea of the format. I hope that you will be tempted to participate even if you have been interviewed before.

My thanks to my guests this week. William Price King and Paul Andruss for their regular weekly valued contributions and also to Carol Taylor and Julie Lawford who have become very popular guest in the last few weeks.

I need to get some sleep before the party post goes out at 10.00am.  so without further ado… here are the posts that you might have missed during the week.

Just a reminder of my recommended author services, design, formatting, publishing, illustration, translation and promotion.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/08/22/author-services-and-promotion-sites-4/

Summer Jazz with William Price King – the 1990’s with Tony Bennett

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/08/23/smorgasbord-summer-jazz-2017-william-price-king-meets-tony-bennett-the-1990s/

Writer in Residence Paul Andruss get’s the party started.

Thomas the Rhymer

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/08/21/smorgasbord-invitation-to-end-of-summer-party-26th-28th-august-lets-dance-with-paul-andruss/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/08/25/smorgasbord-invitation-to-end-of-summer-party-august-26th-28th-far-from-this-thing-by-paul-andruss/

The party posts so far.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/08/26/smorgasbord-end-of-summer-party-music-dancing-headliners-and-you-and-free-books/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/08/27/smorgasbord-end-of-summer-party-day-two-three-musketeers-the-a-team-and-free-book/

Milestones along the way by Geoff Cronin – Tales of Waterford and the culture of the 1930s and 1940s – my father-in-law’s final book written at 88.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/08/26/milestones-along-the-way-the-money-ball-shop-and-snippets-by-geoff-cronin/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/08/27/milestones-along-the-way-the-sailors-mass-waterford-by-geoff-cronin/

Smorgasbord Guest Post – Size Matters by Julie Lawford – How big is your plate and how much are you putting on it?

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/08/24/smorgasbord-guest-writer-size-matters-by-julie-lawford/

The Odd Jobs and Characters Series- Guest Posts – this week The Cosmetic Department hosted by D.Wallace Peach

Each week I share the story of one of my quirky job that introduced me to the characters that now fill my stories.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/08/23/smorgasbord-reblog-odd-jobs-and-characters-the-cosmetic-department-hosted-by-d-wallace-peach/

Author and Book promotion – Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore Update

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/08/21/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-luanne-castle-teagan-riordain-geneviene-chuck-jackson-and-paul-cude-update/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/08/25/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-john-maberry-colin-chappell/

New book on the shelves

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/08/22/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-on-the-shelves-and-the-whippoorwill-sang-by-micki-peluso/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/08/23/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-on-the-shelves-george-washington-from-boy-surveyor-to-soldier-by-gay-ingram/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/08/24/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-on-the-shelves-part-of-me-by-deanna-kahler/

Blogger Promotion – Smorgasbord Blogger Daily

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/08/21/smorgasbord-blogger-daily-monday-21st-august-2017-robbie-cheadle-yvonne-payne-teri-polend-wallace-peach-and-norah-colvin/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/08/22/smorgasbord-blogger-daily-tuesday-22nd-august-2017-don-massenzio-jena-c-henry-the-recipe-hunter-and-david-prosser/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/08/23/smorgasbord-blogger-daily-wednesday-23rd-august-charli-millsm-j-mallon-angie-dokos-olga-nunez-miret-story-reading-apeandrew-joyce/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/08/24/smorgasbord-blogger-daily-thursday-24th-august-2017-colleen-chesebrom-j-mallon-the-story-reading-apeaurora-jean-alexander-lillian-csernica-carolee-croftr-k-lander/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/08/25/smorgasbord-blogger-daily-friday-august-25th-2017-hugh-roberts-michael-stephen-wills-joann-chateau-and-john-howell/

Smorgasbord Book Promotion – Air your Reviews

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/08/22/smorgasbord-book-promotion-air-your-reviews-patricia-salamone-d-g-kaye-and-geoff-le-pard/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/08/24/smorgasbord-book-promotion-air-your-reviews-sarah-brentyn-brigid-p-gallagher-marcia-meara/

I was so delighted to receive two reviews in the same post from Judith Barrow for What’s in a Name volumes one and two.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/08/24/my-reviews-of-whats-in-a-name-shortstories-and-whats-in-a-name-volume-2-stories-of-life-and-romance-by-sally-cronin-tuesdaybookblog/

Cook From Scratch with Sally and Carol – Carrots from Afghanistan. – The health benefits and wonderful recipes from Carol Taylor

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/08/23/smorgasbord-health-2017-cook-from-scratch-with-sally-and-carol-carrots-from-afghanistan/

I was also invited to submit my recipe for brown rice pilaf – Vitamin Supplement on a plate to the Recipe Hunter…And Marjorie Mallon tried it out and sent a photograph..much better than mine and perhaps she might let me use in future.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/08/22/%ef%bb%bfaugust-guest-13-cook-from-scratch-multi-vitamin-on-a-plate-brown-rice-pilaf-2/

Smorgasbord Health – Preparing for an Operation.

Smorgasbord Health 2017

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/08/21/smorgasbord-health-2015-peace-of-mind-talking-about-death-and-wills/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/08/22/smorgasbord-health-2017-preparing-for-an-operation-get-fit-and-make-good-use-of-the-time/

Smorgasbord Pet Health – Herbal Remedies for Pets.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/08/23/smorgasbord-pet-health-herbal-remedies-for-pets/

Smorgasbord Laughter Academy and Afternoon Videos

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/08/22/laughter-the-best-medicine-one-liners-part-one/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/08/24/smorgasbord-laughter-academy-one-liners-to-make-you-ponder-part-two/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/08/21/the-afternoon-video-do-you-need-to-teach-your-baby-to-crawl-leave-it-to-the-dog/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/08/25/the-afternoon-video-and-you-thought-teenagers-were-tough-to-get-out-of-bed/

Thank you again for taking the time to visit the blog and you are definitly the reason I keep motivated to show up every day..

 

 

Smorgasbord Reblog – Review by Paul Andruss – What’s In a Name- Volume One Ebook – FREE 11th – 13th August


Thomas the Rhymer

You are all accustomed to Paul Andruss and his ability to take a tale, myth, legend and deconstruct it and put back together again so that we look at it with a new perspective.

Paul also does this with book reviews and I am honoured to have received three of them over recent months. Apart from my absolute gratitude to all who review my books, I also love seeing my writing through my the eyes of my readers.

Paul has just read my story collection What’s in a Name – Volume One and has posted a review on his blog.

I hope that you will head over and read all the review which is a story in itself… and then you will find a FREE offer for the book at the end of this post.

I always feel sad reaching the end of a Sally Cronin book.

It is not simply because I feel a chapter of my life has closed.

Nor because I will no longer be dragged along, a willing, nay eager, voyeur into the lives of people I have just met, but feel I have known for years. People who I am convinced will go on to live happy lives off the page, but who I will never see again; although I will think of them often.

Neither is it because I have not laughed hard enough or had my eyes mist over more than once and had to sternly tell myself: Get a grip you old fool. It’s only a story. A story it might be, but only a heart of stone could remain unmoved by Sally Cronin’s prose: even a heart of ice would melt.

It’s none of the above. Quite simply, when I finish a Sally Cronin book I really miss my mum who died some 20 odd years ago. Yes I know, even though they are gone they are with us. But truth be told, I no longer think of her enough.

If she were alive, knowing how much she would love What’s in a Name? I would jump in the car and take it down to her, like I used to. Although these days I would probably email it for her to download into her e-reader or tablet, or whatever it is the old folks do these days.

Read the rest of the review and if you like the look of it then please email for your free eBook: http://www.paul-andruss.com/whats-in-a-name-vol-1/

Free Book Offer – From Friday August 11th until midnight UK time Sunday 13th August.

I am not part of the Kindle programmes so as an Indie I do not run free offers on Amazon. However, the files for the eBook version of What’s in a Name – Volume One is not very large and I can email you a copy.

Please email me on sally.cronin@moyhill.com and request Mobi (Kindle) or Epub (Kobo etc)

If you do not have an eBook reader I can recommend Calibre which is a free multi-source reader that is free to dowload to your PC or other devices.  https://calibre-ebook.com/download

You can read other reviews for the collection on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Whats-Name-Sally-Cronin-ebook/dp/B01N6Y8BK1

I have no expectation of a review but if you do enjoy the stories I would be grateful if you could share your thoughts on Amazon and Goodreads.

Smorgasbord Book Promotion – Air Your Reviews – Janice Spina, Gigi Sedlmayer and Sally Cronin


Welcome to another post where you can showcase your latest reviews. I do try to catch your reviews but it does help if you let me know by emailing sally.cronin@moyhill. I am happy to share your news every four to six weeks to keep you in the spotlight.

The first author with a review today is Janice Spina for book five of her Davey and Derek, Junior Detectives series – The Case of the Sad Mischievous Ghost

About The Case of the Sad Mischievous Ghost

Twins Davey and Derek Donato are enlisted by two new characters, Abby and her cousin Holly, to assist them in finding and capturing the spooky beings that haunt their house.

When the boys visit Abby’s house they discover that this old Victorian holds many secrets and shocking revelations.

Davey and Derek soon find that they need the assistance of their Great Aunt Gigi to handle these mischievous phantoms.

The most recent review on Amazon

Once again, Davey and Derek are off on an adventure to solve a mystery. These two young detectives are on the trail of ghosts that are living in their friend Abby’s house. Abby and her cousin Holly are school mates of Davey and Derek and have more interest in them than just finding the ghosts. When they visit Abby’s home, a large old Victorian house, they discover the house holds secrets even Abby’s parents didn’t know about. Of course, once again, they enlist their Great Aunt Gigi to help them.

This was once again another delightful middle grade book in the Davey & Derek Junior Detectives Series. Davey and Derek and their friends are delightful children who are respectful and considerate of others, but who don’t hesitate to do a bit of sleuthing under the nose of Abby’s parents.

As with the other books in this series, The Case of the Sad Mischievous Ghost is well written and meets the author’s criteria for instilling the love of reading in children.

I highly recommend The Case of the Sad Mischievous Ghost to all middle graders and to their parents. This would be a wonderful book to share, with parents taking a turn reading aloud.

This book was a gift from the author. I received no compensation for my honest review.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Mischievous-Ghost-Davey-Junior-Detectives-ebook/dp/B072QBJ7LC

Also by Janice Spina

Discover all of Janice Spina’s books, read the reviews and buy:https://www.amazon.com/Janice-Spina/e/B00HNET4HG

Find more reviews and follow Janice on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7222888.Janice_Spina

Connect to Janice via her website: https://jemsbooks.wordpress.com

Another children’s author whose books receive excellent reviews continously is Gigi Sedlmayer and here is the latest for the first in the Talon Series – Come Fly With Me.

About Come Fly With Me

The adventure of a young girl will captivate your attention in this beautiful book. The words soar off the page and into your heart as you read this imaginative story.

Enjoy seeing the family dynamic from the first moment with her brother, to the gentle times with her mom, and the exciting scenes with her father.

A young girl, Matica, is jealous of her brother, Aiken’s ability to have friends. But Matica’s ability to form friendships is extraordinary. The trust and camaraderie between Matica and the condors is truly wonderful.

The way the author revealed each situation is fun to read and it made one anxious to see what’s next. Acceptance was eloquently woven into the story without being blatant. And the other thing I learned was that when certain things happen, you don’t always know why and just maybe something goodwill come of it.

Talon, Come Fly With Me is not only magical but inspiring. The author is expressive every step of the way and paint such vivid pictures with her words.

The most recent review on Amazon

This short story connects immediately to kids with its conversational tone. Matica is a girl who has grown up to be 9 years of age but physically is small. This leads her to feel isolated in her immediate circle. To add to the complexity, her parents – missionaries – relocate from Australia to South America to stay among the Indians.

Matica comes in contact with a pair of Condors – majestic birds which are close to extinction. She manages to develop a close bond with the birds and helps them through their travails when poachers try stealing their egg. In this attempt, Matica gets a huge round of admiration from the local Indians and is invited to various schools to share her story.

This narrative is a great example of story telling where the reader can bond with the main characters and get to understand issues like environment, conservation and diversity.

Full Disclosure : I had been provided a copy of the book by the author for an unconditional review (and I am glad I got to read her work)

There are 128 reviews for Come Fly With Me for you too browse and to buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Talon-Come-Fly-Gigi-Sedlmayer-ebook/product-reviews/B00J2643PG

Also by Gigi Sedlmayer

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

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

Connect to Gigi via her new website: http://gigised.com/

And finally I am going to slip one of my latest review into the pile for 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.

The most recent review on Amazon

When I read a book, I prepare for my review of it by highlighting the parts that I will want to quote in my review, ie. the sentences that are the touchpoints, or witty dialogue, the memorable moments, and lines that are the heart of the book. As I prepared to review Sam, I realized that I had highlighted the entire book. So many wonderful moments, funny stories, heartwarming scenes, and plenty of love are contained in this dog’s memoir.

Sam relates how he came as a young pup to live with Sally and David, in a lovely place near a beach in Ireland. Sam describes the large garden where he romps, his own splashing pool, his sun lounger, his rambles on the beach with his owners. Sam appreciates all this, but most of all he loves his pack and does his best to be a positive and helpful member of the pack. His only complaint is that he is never given enough cheese and sausages! (We hear you, Sam!)

Sam has many human and cat and dog friends. Sam and Sally’s adventures with Henry the cat, and his babies is quite amazing and touching. His Sally can speak Cat and Sam learns this language, too, along with a useful repertoire of words that he understands and words that he can say! He is also a very good listener.

Sam seems to be the typical smart, mature, only child. He is well-traveled (over 50,000 miles and several countries!) and interested and engaged in his world. As Sam writes, “There is no doubt that my pack could not do without me.” Adults, children, and worldly dogs and cats like Sam, will enjoy reading or hearing this lovely story. Highly recommend.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Sam-Shaggy-Story-Sally-Cronin-ebook/dp/B00GM0HPQE

Other books by Sally Cronin

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

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

Thank you for dropping by today and I hope you enjoyed the selection. Thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Summer Jazz 2017 – William Price King meets Tony Bennett – Part Three – The 1960s


index

Last week we left Tony Bennett at the end of the 1950s enjoying a great career and working with some of the best in the business. However, the music industry in the 1960s was evolving and Pop, Rock and Country were making their presence felt in the charts. Jazz would never go out of fashion but the new generation of fans were being entertained with the magic of television and a wider choice of music radio stations. Tough competition for all the major and established artists, and in particularly those who were approaching their 40s.

I will hand you over to William Price King to take you through the next ten years.

Tony Bennett believed in quality; not only for his recorded material that was released but in his live performances. In 1962, with a great deal of publicity and promotion, Tony took to the stage at Carnegie Hall. Previously he had often performed seven shows a day beginning at 10.30 in the morning until late into the night. But this concert was a mammoth undertaking, featuring 44 songs including his many hits and fan favourites such as I’ve Got The World On A String. Apart from the energy and stamina needed to perform that many songs to Tony’s exacting standards, he must have been grateful for the Bel Canto technique that he had mastered as a young singer. I covered this technique in the first post in the series and you can read more about it here. Tony Bennett Part One.

I’ve Got The World On A String was written in 1932 by Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler and had previously been recorded by Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra. Uploaded by swan2612

The concert at Carnegie Hall was a huge success and reinforced his place in the hearts of his fans both at home and internationally. Tony had already been on television in the 50s which had enabled him to reach a much wider audience, and in 1962 he was asked to sing on the initial broadcast of The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.

For most of us who are Tony Bennett fans, the song I Left My Heart In San Francisco is probably the one that will always be associated with his particular vocal style and performance. He released it in 1962 and it would spend a year in different charts and reached number 19 on the Billboard Hot 100 providing Tony with plenty of exposure. The album of the same title however, did even better reaching the top 5 in the charts and going gold. The title track won a Grammy for Record of the Year and Best Male Solo Vocal Performance and became Tony Bennett’s signature song. Eventually it would rank 23rd in the world as the most historically significant songs of the 20th century.

I Left My Heart in San Francisco was written by George Cory and Douglass Cross in 1953 and eventually acquired by Ralph Sharon who was Tony’s accompanist and happened to be friends with the composers. Ironically the song was released at the B-side of Once Upon A Time but the radio DJs began flipping the record over to play!

In 1963 Tony released the album I Wanna Be Around which also reached the top five of the charts and both the title track and The Good Life reached the top 20 of the pop singles chart. However 1964 brought what is known as the British Invasion which included The Beatles, reinforcing the movement towards more rock in the charts.

Tony Bennett was faced with the challenge of maintaining a pop and jazz presence in the changing music scene. He released a number of albums in the next following two years including The Many Moods Of Tony, When The Lights Are Low, Who Can I Turn To in 1964, If I Ruled The World: Songs For The Jet Set in 1965 and The Movie Song Album and A Time For Love in 1966. The Movie Song Album did reasonably well at number 18 in the charts in the US, but the other albums did not perform as well.

His did have a top-40 single in 1965 with If I Ruled The World which reached number 34. Tony decided to expand his popularity into acting and featured in The Oscar in 1966 which was an experience that he neither enjoyed nor repeated. In 1965 along with many artists, Tony participated in the ‘Selma to Montgomery Marches and as a firm believer in the American Civil Rights Movement, he refused to perform in South Africa.

The 60s were to be professionally and personally difficult time for Tony Bennett. His successful collaboration with Ralph Sharon ended in 1965 as did his first marriage to Patricia. I don’t tend to focus on the personal lives of the musical artists that we feature, but I think it is important to acknowledge that the frequent and extended road trips that a performer makes to stay in the public eye, and the distractions that accompany that; put a strain on the strongest of relationships.

Musically there was a rush by the recording companies with artists such as Tony Bennett, Barbra Streisand and others who were more pop and jazz performers to integrate themselves with the new rock culture. This resulted in some ill-conceived projects that rarely did the performers any favours, including the album Tony Sings The Great Hits of Today in 1970. The experience was not a happy one for Tony and eventually resulted in a parting of the ways from Columbia Records in 1972 and a new chapter in Tony Bennett’s career and personal life.

Despite the disappointment of the later 1960s, I thought it would be a good idea to remind us all of what Tony Bennett fans think about his music. After all, at the end of the day, they are the ones who buy the records.

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A Timeless Classic!! By Beverly Praiswater on December 18, 2006

Tony Bennett’s music transcends all generations. This album is full of his finest classics from the 60’s.

The opening cut is the title song “I Left My Heart In San Francisco”. Nobody could match this version of this song. “Once Upon A Time” is heartfelt and full of pathos. “Tender Is The Night” is a glorious ballad with a haunting finale. Tony pulls out all of the stops as he builds the jazzy “Love For Sale”. “Taking A Chance On Love” is upbeat with a rousing classic “Tony” vocal. The finale “The Best Is Yet To Come” is a tour de force celebration!

This album became a Gold Record (there was no platinum in those days) and was on the best seller charts for 2-1/2 years! Need I say more?

Sometimes your parents did know best By Patricia Beninato VINE VOICE on April 8, 2000

As I’m only 33, a lot of people laugh when they see this CD in my collection (particularly among the Def Leppard and Live CD’s!). My mother adored Tony Bennett, and his greatest hits collection was a perennial feature in the car and home 8-track players. I’ve always loved this record–Tony had (and still does have) an incredible voice, and the songs featured here are the crème de la crème of pop songwriting in the 40’s and 50’s, including the immortal “I Left My Heart In San Francisco” and my two personal favorites, “Rags To Riches” and “Just In Time”. Of course, having to be “cool” as a teenager I denied Tony for many years. So laugh away if you want, kids–this album rocks in the truest sense of the word! Long live Tony Bennett!

Buy Tony Bennett Music: http://www.amazon.com/Tony-Bennett/e/B000APGV7G

For a last performance from the 1960s here is The Good Life. Originally La Belle Vie and written and released by French singer Sacha Distel in 1962, it would become better known following the recording by Tony Bennett in 1963; reaching No 18 in the US Pop singles charts and No 27 in the UK charts. Uploaded by justinpow

About William Price King.

williampriceking

William Price King is an American jazz singer, musician and composer. Originally he studied classical music and opera but over the years his style has evolved to what many refer to as the ‘sweet point’ where music and voice come together so beautifully.

His vocal mentors are two of the greatest giants in jazz, Nat King Cole and Mel Torme. His jazz album, ‘Home,’ is a collection of contemporary songs and whilst clearly a homage to their wonderful legacy it brings a new and refreshing complexity to the vocals that is entrancing.

His latest album Eric Sempe and William Price King is now available to download. The repertory includes standards such as “Bye Bye Blackbird” (a jazz classic), Sting’s “Englishman in New York,” Queen’s “The Show Must Go On”, Led Zepplin’s “Stairway to Heaven” and other well-known jazz, pop, and rock classics.

William and Eric Sempe have also brought their own magic to the album with original tracks such as Keep on Dreaming and Red Snow with collaboration with Jeanne King

Download the new album.http://cdbaby.com/cd/williampriceking

William is currently in France where he performs in popular Jazz Venues in Nice and surrounding area.

You can find the other artists in the previous series here:

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/william-price-king-a-man-and-his-music-jazz-classical-and-contemporary-legends/

We would love to have your feedback and also your help in spreading the post around social media for us. We hope you will join us next week for part three of Tony Bennett’s story.  Thanks for stopping by.. Sally

 

 

 

Smorgasbord Summer Jazz 2017 – William Price King meets Tony Bennett


Welcome to the Summer Jazz series with William Price King. For the next few weeks, whilst William his annual break from the blog, we will be enjoying the story and the performances of Tony Bennett, one of the most accomplished showman of the last 100 years.  This series was first posted in February 2016 but one can never have too much of a good thing.

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Born with a beautiful name in August 1926, Anthony Dominick Benedetto’s parents could not have known that by the much simpler name of Tony Bennett, their son would one day be loved by millions around the world. Tony Bennett is 90 years old this year and his singing career spans 80 of those incredible years. This week we will take a look at his early life and Tony’s determination to succeed as a performer.

John Benedetto was a grocer from Podargoini in Southern Italy and had arrived in the United States in 1906. He met and married Anna Suraci who had been born in America shortly after her parents had emigrated, also from Calabaria region, just before the turn of the century. Tony had an elder sister and brother, but his time with his father was too short as John died after a long illness in 1936, when Tony was only ten years old. This meant that his childhood, during what were the devastating years of the depression, were tough; but he was surrounded by a loving and supportive extended family who had all arrived together from Italy.

The music of the time however was anything but depressing and with the advent of sound for film, far more available to everyone. Some of Tony’s early musical influencers were Al Jolsen and Eddie Cantor. Here is the uplifting song Making Whoopee written in 1928 by Walter Donaldson and lyrics by Gus Kahn made famous by Eddie Cantor uploaded by Your Eddie Cantor channel.

Additionally for Tony, his Uncle Dick was in vaudeville as a tap dancer giving him an early introduction to show business. But school was the first priority for the young Tony and he attended the High School of Industrial Arts in Manhattan where he developed his two main passions, singing and painting. Radio was in its heyday showcasing artists such as Judy Garland and Bing Crosby and despite having to drop out of school at sixteen to help support his family, Tony was fixed on a career as a singer.

At the age of ten he had his first taste of performing in front of an appreciative audience when he had sung at the opening of the Triborough Bridge standing next to the then Mayor, Fiorello La Guardia. His drive to take his talent to stardom is demonstrated by his tireless commitment to combine working to support his family and using any remaining hours of the day to perform.

Tony had to focus on getting money for his family and for a time he worked in several low paid jobs including as a copy boy and runner for the Associated Press in Manhattan. He did however get a job as a singing waiter and set about entering any amateur night competitions across the city, which he usually won. This included a successful engagement at a well-known New Jersey nightclub.

However it was wartime and at age eighteen Tony was drafted into the US Army in November 1944. After basic training, Bennett was assigned to the 63rd Infantry Division (the “Blood and Fire” Division) where he served in France and Germany. Army Career

Being in the army also offered Tony the opportunity to perform with a military band and he finished the war touring Europe entertaining the troops. He remained there after the war and studied music at Heidelburg University before returning to the US in 1946. He studied Voice at the American Theatre Wing on the GI Bill. To support himself, he worked as an elevator operator and I am sure that he entertained the occupants as they travelled up and down with him.

Tony was taught the Bel Canto singing technique. Translated from the Italian it means ‘beautiful singing’ but the technique is much more complex than that simple description. Originating from the discipline of Italian opera the technique was used by professional singers around the world. There are certain elements involved which include strengthening the voice so that it does not tire over the course of a long performance. The voice should not be strained and should sound as effortless as speaking, preventing damage to the throat.

With this technique Tony has preserved his singing voice over the following 70 years and if you listen to his performances in his 30s and his more recent performances there is very little difference, which is a testament to the method.

One of his teachers at American Theatre Wing suggested that Tony also develop an unusual approach that involved imitating the style and phrasing of the best musicians of the day which included saxophonist Stan Getz and the piano of Art Tatum. This led to improvised variations to the standards of the day which made his performances stand out from the crowd. At the time he was performing under the name of Joe Bari and in 1949 cut an album under that name for a small label which did not sell terribly well.

However, his unique voice and performances began to get noticed by industry influencers and one of these, Pearl Bailey, asked him to open for her in Greenwich Village. Tony would later reflect on this lucky break.

“Bob Hope came down to check out my act. He liked my singing so much that after the show he came back to see me in my dressing room and said, ‘Come on kid, you’re going to come to the Paramount and sing with me.’ But first he told me he didn’t care for my stage name (Joe Bari) and asked me what my real name was. I told him, ‘My name is Anthony Dominick Benedetto’ and he said, ‘We’ll call you Tony Bennett.’

Bob Hope took Tony on the road with him and in 1950 he cut a demo of Boulevard of Broken Dreams and was signed to Columbia Records by Mitch Miller. Boulevard of Broken Dreams was written by Harry Warren with lyrics by Al Dubin in 1933 and appeared in the 1934 film Moulin Rouge. Uploaded by swan2612

The top performer of the label was Frank Sinatra and his departure from Columbia coincided with Tony Bennett being signed. The label recognised that there was little merit in imitating Frank’s style, so Tony turned his talents to crooning popular and commercial songs. His first big hit was Because of You which was produced by Mitch Miller with a wonderfully rich orchestral backing from Percy Faith. This song was hugely popular on the jukeboxes which now were standard in any coffee bar or club, and in 1951 it reached number one in the charts, staying there for ten weeks and selling over a million copies.

Because of You had been written in 1940 by Arthur Hammerstein and Dudley Wilkinson and it was also used in the 1951 film I Was an American Spy. Here is Tony Bennett with an original recording uploaded by tommy194070

The career of Tony Bennett was now on the fast track.

Buy the music of Tony Bennett: Amazon

Next week The 50s and more fabulous music from Tony Bennett.

About William Price King.

Price tuxedo jazz comedy club

William Price King is an American jazz singer, musician and composer. Originally he studied classical music and opera but over the years his style has evolved to what many refer to as the ‘sweet point’ where music and voice come together so beautifully.

His vocal mentors are two of the greatest giants in jazz, Nat King Cole and Mel Torme. His jazz album, ‘Home,’ is a collection of contemporary songs and whilst clearly a homage to their wonderful legacy it brings a new and refreshing complexity to the vocals that is entrancing.

His latest album Eric Sempe and William Price King is now available to download. The repertory includes standards such as “Bye Bye Blackbird” (a jazz classic), Sting’s “Englishman in New York,” Queen’s “The Show Must Go On”, Led Zepplin’s “Stairway to Heaven” and other well-known jazz, pop, and rock classics.

William and Eric Sempe have also brought their own magic to the album with original tracks such as Keep on Dreaming and Red Snow with collaboration with Jeanne King

Download the new album.http://cdbaby.com/cd/williampriceking

William is currently in France where he performs in popular Jazz Venues in Nice and surrounding area.

You can find the other artists in the previous series here:

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/william-price-king-a-man-and-his-music-jazz-classical-and-contemporary-legends/

I hope that you will enjoy this Summer Jazz series with a reminder of some of the most iconic singers of our time. Thanks Sally

 

Happy 4th July – Part Two – Houston Texas – 1986 – Halley’s Comet -Hawaii – Magnum PI – Top Gun


In celebration of our time in America and the wonderful people we met and still are in touch with, here is our second year living in Houston and some of the adventures we enjoyed. We actually ended up visiting all the East and West Coast as well as driving across country.. On this trip we wanted to see the once in a lifetime visit of Halley’s comet.

It is now 1986 and we were very aware that we only had a year left of David’s contract in America and that we needed to step up our explorations.  In that twelve months we visited the East and West coasts and made the epic road trip from Houston to New Mexico with a friend  to try and glimpse Halley’s Comet: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halley%27s_Comet

Halley’s Comet only appears every 76 years and being such a rare visit we needed to find a very special place to try and view this once in a lifetime event .  We opted for the car park of Carlsbad Caverns which is an enormous underground network of caves.

We explored the 119 caverns hundreds of feet below ground in the day; at night we returned to the car park miles from any light pollution and lay on ground sheets searching the star filled sky above us. The second night we were rewarded with the most amazing, if very tiny, sight of this elusive comet with our low resolution telescopes and just about with the naked eye. We had taken a rucksack with us with hot coffee and snacks and as we watched this astral display, we heard the rucksack being dragged off into the undergrowth. Fearing we had been targeted by large felines; we aimed our combined torches at the predator. A raccoon stared back at us challenging our refusal to pay the car park fees!  We persuaded him that this was not acceptable and were able to enjoy our breakfast at dawn surrounded by deer and a view that stretched for miles across the Chihuahuan Desert.

That year David and I also took advantage of the air miles he had accumulated on all his sales trips and flew to Hawaii for the first of several visits to these magnificent islands. I have to admit at this point that I have always had rather a crush on Tom Selleck…. Magnum P.I and I rather hoped that I might be lucky enough to encounter him on our trip. Whilst waiting for a glimpse of an earthbound comet…. we did some of the usual tourist activities and I splashed out on a wonderful MuuMuu which was set off by my 80s hair.

Sally-Hawaii-Mumu

We also  discovered the delight of rum cocktails and completed pre-dinner tasting sessions. The outright winner is the Molokai Mule which is a drink not to be attempted on an empty stomach with the expectation of being able to stand up again afterwards.. It certainly has a mighty kick…here is the recipe for those of you brave enough to attempt! http://www.sheknows.com/recipes/molokai-mule

Eventually my secret wish was fulfilled and the day before our flight back to Houston, whilst at a four way stop near Diamond Head, I was rewarded with a fleeting encounter with Magnum P.I. He was in a convertible at the stop opposite us and as we glided past each other like ships in the night I knew that 1986 had been a very special year!

The music of that year was great with many hits making their way across the Atlantic in both directions. Here is a small selection: Lionel Ritchie – Say You Say Me, Dionne Warwick & Friends – That’s What Friends are For, Robert Palmer – Addicted to Love, Pet Shop Boys – West End Girls, Steve Winwood – Higher Love, Simply Red – Holding Back the Years, Peter Gabriel – Sledgehammer, Madonna – Don’t Preach, Billy Ocean – When the Going Gets Tough and Bananarama – Venus.

In honour of the passing years I have selected Simply Red for this weeks chart track from 1986.

Films were equally interesting in 1986 and we managed to get in a weekly cinema visit wherever we might be at the time. Aliens, Platoon (stunning) The Mission, Crocodile Dundee, The Name of the Rose (highly recommended) Star Trek IV- The Voyage Home, The Color of Money, and Mona Lisa (amazing). Without a doubt the film that followed in the wake of An Officer and a Gentlemen in the romance category, with action thrown in high in the skies for good measure, was Top Gun with the every youthful Tom Cruise.  Here is the theme song.. and 30 years later the soundtrack is still on my playlist.

Buy Top Gun: http://www.amazon.com/Top-Gun-Tom-Cruise/dp/B001K3K5MO

Halley’s Comet Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License;

I hope you have enjoyed my step back in time in tribute to our American friends and the two wonderful years we enjoyed as guests in Houston.

 

Happy 4th of July Part One – 1985 – Renaissance Fair, Fire Ants and The Alamo


In celebration of July 4th and the wonderful friends we made in the two years that we lived in Houston, I am repeating my memories of some of our adventures. We look on that time with great happiness and are still in touch with our friends from 30 years ago today. This picture is some of the gang with David at the end of the table on the left. Every weekend was an excuse for a party…..

It was amazing how quickly we settled in to life in America. We were determined to make the most of our time there and whenever feasible I would join David for a long weekend in one of his various ports of call. He was on the road most weeks and on the Friday afternoon I would drive to the airport and get a flight to Los Angeles, Washington, Seattle or Boston and we would then spend two days exploring the area and sampling local delicacies. We went to Disney World and on a paddle steamer in New Orleans and sampled the music and the gumbo in small hole in the wall cafes.

My parents, both just into their 70s, wanted to come and see us from the UK. Once we were past the worst of the heat and the hurricane season, they arrived for three weeks a few days before our 5th wedding anniversary. Despite the long flight they were ready and raring to go the next morning and during the week I would drive to various tourist attractions within 100 miles or so in my new car; a metallic pewter Ford Topaz with air conditioning and all mod cons.

At the weekends David would join us and we were lucky enough to have one of the Texas Renaissance Fairs on within driving distance and here is a picture with the three of us tucking into Turkey drumsticks… My father has his hands full as David was taking the photo.

sally wedding day 1980Our fifth anniversary was celebrated in usual Chancellor Apartments style with a party at our place. We asked the neighbours above, below and on each side so that noise would not be an issue and my parents, who had really got into the swing of things, were treated like royalty by our friends. My father who did not normally drink very much was much taken with a new rum drink we had introduced him to… I had never seen him even the slightest bit tipsy in my entire life until that visit!

sally wedding day 1980As the party wound down, David and two other mad friends decided to go for a run to burn off the alcohol whilst some of us retired to the hot tub directly in front of our apartment block. It was quite cool at nights in November and we enjoyed the soak and chat for about five minutes as we sat on the wooden slats surrounding the tub. That is until I felt excruciating bites on my legs. I stood up and went into the hot water to brush off whatever was biting me but it only drove the insects further up my body stinging as they went.

I have always reacted badly to wasp and bee stings but could usually cope with one or two. But this was multiple bites and I started to go into anaphylactic shock. Luckily David and our other friends had just arrived back from their run and headed our way to get into the hot tub. By this time I was finding it hard to breathe. One of our neighbours who was in the crowd, lived on the ground floor; without time to call an ambulance, he dashed inside grabbed his keys and they bundled me in a towel into the back seat.

There was an emergency room about three minutes away and on arrival one of the lads dashed inside and grabbed assistance. I don’t remember much of what took place in the next couple of hours but I do recall feeling as though I was looking down on my body; watching as they pumped me full of epinephrine and kept me breathing. Some say it was a near death experience but it might have just been that my mind was overloaded with venom, tequila and adrenaline!!  Fire ants and tequila is not a recommended combination even on your 5th Wedding Anniversay.

Thankfully the treatment took effect and they eventually allowed me home the next morning. We walked in the front door to find my parents enjoying breakfast thinking we were having a lie in!

My father was a John Wayne and Western film fan and we had promised to take them to San Antonio on that same day to stay in the Marriott Hotel combined with a visit to the Alamo. We couldn’t disappoint him, and despite their insistence on cancelling the trip, we headed off with David driving and me sleeping solidly for the entire journey. I went to bed early and the next morning, still a little shaky, we headed off to relive one of the most historical moments in Texan history. My father was like a small boy in a sweet shop and was simply in his element. Such a pleasure to see his face light up. Here are my parents resting for five minutes before returning to the hotel for more rum cocktails and fajitas.

sally wedding day 1980Here is the music and the films of 1985 again and this week I have chosen two different tracks to share.

Wham and George Michael – Careless Whisper, Madonna – Like a Virgin, Foreigner – I Want To Know What Love Is, Paul Young – Everytime You Go Away, Huey Lewis and the News – The Power of Love, Whitney Houston- Saving All My Love For You, USA for Africa – We Are The World, Phil Collins – One More Night, The Pointer Sisters – Neutron Dance, Billy Ocean – Suddenly, Tina Turner – Better Be Good To Me and the one that I featured last week, Katrina and the Waves – Walking on Sunshine. This week a track that I still play a great deal.. Starship – We Built This City.

And the films.

Top at the Box Office were Back to the Future, The Breakfast Club, Witness, The Color Purple, Rambo -First Blood Part Two and Rocky IV. Cocoon , Commando, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, Mask and an all-time favourite of mine and tissue manufacturers; Out of Africa.

Here is Tina Turner with the hit We Don’t Need Another Hero from Mad Max Thunderdome

More of our American memories tomorrow… I hope you will drop in.. thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Book Promotion – Air Your Reviews – Jacquie Biggar, Sacha Black and Sally Cronin


The first author with a new review is USA Bestselling author, Jacquie Biggar for her latest book released in April 2017 – Hold ‘Em – A Gambling Hearts Novel (Volume 1)

About the book

In the game of love all bets are off

When professional poker player Matthew Shaughnessy wins the pot of a lifetime, he didn’t expect to land himself a fiancée.

Cassandra Gardener is left with little choice but to play the part of a Texan’s fiancée for a week if she wants to clear her father’s gambling debt.

Can two people with so much to lose win the biggest bet of all- love?

The most recent review

on May 15, 2017

I have never read a book by this author but found it to be well written and it held my interest. Professional poker player Matt Shaughnessy wins more than he expected when the one player did not have the means to totally pay up. This player a Canadian diplomat was short the wagered amount, he dug into his jacket pocket and pulled out a diamond ring. Asking Matt if he will accept this as a token? It was a beautiful ring and it was in the family for generations and was for his daughter who was to be getting married soon.
Matt lives in Texas and comes from a good Texas ranch family. His grandmother is dying and her wish is before she dies to see her grandson with a good woman, about to marry.
Gardener from Canada, was feeling like he won and he was about to pull the winnings his way before Matt had a chance to lay down his hand.

Cassandra was Gardener’s daughter and they had just settled on her becoming Matt’s fiancée for a week. To come back to Texas with him, meet the grandma and pretend to be in love with Matt. This was to pay off her fathers $250,000 gambling debt.
Cassandra stepped up to the plate in doing what needed to be done to settle what her father had gotten her into. She would be living in the next room from Matt, with a Jack and Jill bathroom separating them. She had to encounter the whole Shaughnessy family and ranch hands, learning to ride a horse, etc.

You could tell that Matt and his grandmother Madeline had a wonderful strong bond. Madeline firmly believed that Cassandra was the girl that she had dreamt about for Matt.
I hope to be able to read more from this author.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Hold-Em-Gambling-Hearts-Novel/dp/1988126134

A selection of other books by Jacquie Biggar

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Jacquie-Biggar/e/B00MSIJQBG

Read more reviews and follow Jacquie Biggar on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8445812.Jacquie_Biggar

Connect to Jacquie via her website: http://jacqbiggar.com

The next review is for Sacha Black’s debut book How to Craft Superbad Villains – 13 Steps to Evil published last month.

About the book

Your hero is not the most important character in your book. Your villain is.

Are you fed up of drowning in two-dimensional villains? Frustrated with creating clichés? And failing to get your reader to root for your villain?

In 13 Steps to Evil, you’ll discover:

+ How to develop a villain’s mindset
+ A step-by-step guide to creating your villain from the ground up
+ Why getting to the core of a villain’s personality is essential to make them credible
+ What pitfalls and clichés to avoid as well as the tropes your story needs

Finally, there is a comprehensive writing guide to help you create superbad villains. Whether you’re just starting out or are a seasoned writer, this book will help power up your bad guy and give them that extra edge.

These lessons will help you master and control your villainous minions, navigate and gain the perfect balance of good and evil, as well as strengthening your villain to give your story the tension and punch it needs.

If you like dark humour, learning through examples and want to create the best villains you can, then you’ll love Sacha Black’s guide to crafting superbad villains. Read 13 Steps to Evil today and start creating kick-ass villains.

The most recent review on Amazon

Sacha Black makes a great point in the opening of this book – that a villain is at least as important as the hero and rarely gets an equivalent amount of attention as a book is crafted. And we all love a great villain, whether we know it or not, because a great villain makes our hero miserable, which promises a satisfying payoff when the hero prevails!

Black is thorough, elaborating on 13 different factors related specifically to villain development, though many of the points, including those covering motivation, conflict, and authenticity, apply to all characters. Villain-specific chapters address such things as female villains, cliches, the villain psyche, and anti-heroes. There is a thoughtful chapter on mental health challenges in relation to building a villain’s profile.

In general, Black’s presentation is a hoot, witty and conversational, and a joy to read. The book is well-organized with summaries at the end of each chapter and references and appendices in the back. Once read, the book can easily serve as an ongoing resource. 13 Steps to Evil is a must-read for new writers and has some good reminders/tips for seasoned writers as well.

Read all the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0722X7Y4P

and https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0722X7Y4P

Connect to Sacha via her blog: http://sachablack.co.uk/about/

And I am delighted to also include a new review for my latest book What’s in a Name by Marsha Ingrao in her blog this week.

About the book

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?

Marsha’s review on Amazon

What’s in a name? Would you expect a dry rendition of the ancient origins for names? NO! Sally Cronin would not write something that would put you to sleep. What’s in a Name? is Sally’s newest book, published in February 2017.What’s in a Name?

In What’s in a Name? Sally wrote simple stories about people named Anne, who preferred to be called Annie, Alexander Winterbottom, Beatrix, and David. She gave them all interesting lives. Beatrix was a beautiful actress. Even after 40 years, she retained her regal demeanor and her audience appeal. Only at the end do you find out how. Celia buried herself in work for twenty years and then had to leave the nunnery and find a new life outside. Clive had a life-changing run-in with a cobra at age three. Diana Grace, courted by a handsome merchant banker, fell in love and married him in short order. When she got pregnant three years later, her husband did not react the way she expected he would.

Many stories, each with their plot twist that often made me smile, even when the protagonist murdered someone. Yes, there are a couple of murders and a few deaths. Four-year-old Grace went on a hunger strike when a loss broke her heart. I cried at that story. Hector accidentally killed a man who attacked his buddy and had already killed two security officers.

You will not be bored. It is an easy book to put down because each person has their own chapter. However, you will not want to. Can you tell I loved this book?

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

Also by Sally Cronin

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

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Thank you for dropping in today and please let me know if you have a great review that you would like to share. thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Short Story Festival – 9th -12th June – Elaine by Sally Cronin


To end the festival I have one of the stories from What’s in a Name volume one. Elaine is looking forward to a very special celebration with her husband and neighbour.

ELAINE by Sally Cronin

Elaine lay under the warmth of the duvet and her hand crept across the mattress to touch her husband’s hand. Not enough to wake him but just a gentle touch to remind him of her presence. Jack’s even breathing and gentle snore was comforting and Elaine smiled to herself, savouring the delicious secret that she was desperate to reveal.

She had been saving up the news until today as a gift for Jack’s birthday. They had been married for two years and she knew that his greatest wish was for them to have a baby. His large family had already provided his parents with six grandchildren and whilst he might not talk about his desire for a family; he wanted to hold their child in his arms almost as much as she did. She had remembered the look on his face when she had thought that she might be pregnant but it had turned out to be a false alarm.

This is why she had waited until she was absolutely sure; today would be the perfect time to reveal the secret.

Jack stirred beside her she turned her face in anticipation of his usual morning kiss on her brow and lips.

‘Good morning my lovely,’ he gently stroked some stray hairs out of her eyes. ‘How are you today?

Elaine smiled at him lovingly and touched the tip of his beautiful nose. ‘Happy birthday my darling,’ and she leant over to kiss his mouth.

Over breakfast they discussed the final details of the birthday party that afternoon. Jack’s family lived too far away to attend but he had asked one of their neighbours from down the street to join them. Jessica was always in and out and would pop in for coffee most mornings when Jack was at work. Sometimes she would also bring her children in at the weekend and they had a wonderful time playing scrabble and cards.

Elaine had butterflies in her stomach as the urge to blurt out her special secret became too much to bear. It had to be the right moment, when Jack was cutting his birthday cake that Jessica had kindly made for him. She was a much better baker that she was and it looked amazing.

Jack had been in the navy when they met and on top of the white and blue cake, a figure in a sailor’s uniform posed with an anchor. Elaine bet the inside of the cake would be delicious and would taste all the better when she announced her news.

After a quick sandwich for lunch and whilst Jack tidied the living room ready for the party, Elaine popped upstairs quietly to their bedroom and sat at the dressing table. She smiled to herself as she viewed her reflection in the mirror. There was no doubt about it; her skin had a definite glow. Artfully she brushed her blonde hair into a smooth bob and applied her makeup carefully. Not too much, but just enough to enhance her youthful beauty. Laid out on the bed were three outfits and Elaine was having problems deciding which to wear.

Jack would always laugh about her preparations for an evening out. He knew she would try on all the options a couple of times before making her final choice.

This kept her busy for the next half hour and eventually she headed downstairs in her favourite cream dress with pearls at her neck and in the lobes of her ears. Jack took her hands and stepped back for a better look.

‘You look stunningly beautiful sweetheart,’ he gently straightened the string of pearls around her neck; they had been his wedding present to her.

Elaine almost gave the secret away at that point but held the temptation in check. Her plan was perfect and she must wait a few more hours until his birthday cake was cut.

Jack left her sat in the lounge surrounded by plates of neatly cut sandwiches and a pile of festive napkins. In the corner on a cabinet sat the cake surrounded by the birthday cards that had arrived over the last two or three days.

Just then the doorbell rang and it startled Elaine as the sound intruded into her secret daydreams. She pushed herself out of the chair and headed for the hall. Jack was coming down the stairs and held out his hand to her.

‘Don’t worry love I’ll get it,’ and he opened the door to find their three guests on the doorstep.

In they came, bearing brightly coloured bags of gifts and contributions to the birthday tea. There was much hugging and chatter as overcoats were dispensed with and they all headed into the living room. Jack and Jessica took the food she had brought into the kitchen and put the kettle on. Sophie and Ben, who were in their early teens, entertained Elaine with tales of their antics at school during the week.

The food disappeared rapidly and two pots of tea later it was time to cut the cake. This was Elaine’s moment and she stood up to join Jack at the cabinet as he prepared to slice into the blue and white icing.

‘Darling, I have a very special birthday present for you,’ she held out the envelope that clearly contained rather bulky contents. Jack smiled at her eager face and proceeded to open the envelope carefully. He drew out the birthday card that had a huge heart on the front and carefully opened it to reveal the surprise. In his hand were a pair of knitted baby booties decorated with white satin ribbon.

Tears formed in the corners of his eyes as he pulled Elaine to him. ‘Thank you darling for the best birthday present I have ever received.’ Over her shoulder he smiled at their guests and they nodded and smiled in return.

Jessica’s children helped clear away the plates and carried them into the kitchen whilst their mother sat on the sofa holding Elaine’s hand. ‘That is wonderful news and I am so happy for the both of you.’ she smiled gently at the woman at her side. ‘We can talk about it on Monday when I pop in for coffee and we’ll get the baby knitting patterns out to look at.’

An hour later and Jessica kissed Elaine on the forehead and gently stroked her cheek. She headed off to the hall and gathered up the coats and handed them out to Sophie and Ben. When she reached the front door, she turned once more and gave Jack a warm hug and whispered in his ear. ‘It was a wonderful birthday tea Dad and I will come in as usual on Monday when you go out to do the shopping.’

Jack went back into the lounge and stood for a moment looking at his wife, sitting calmly watching the flames flickering in the fireplace. The outfit that Elaine had finally chosen was her wedding dress, and she looked as radiant today as she had forty years ago. He sat beside her and gently moved some stray silver hairs from her forehead and took her face in his hands. He looked into her sparkling blue eyes that no longer recognised her daughter or grandchildren.

The most precious birthday present he had received today, was that his beautiful Elaine still knew him, and that even in the darkness, her light continued to shine brightly.

©sallycronin2016 What’s in a Name. At a special price http://www.moyhill.com/wian/

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

Thank you very much for dropping in and I hope you have enjoyed the short stories over the last few days. Sally