Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Friday 18th October – Annika Perry #bookreview, Bienvenue Press #Flash with Sharon Marchisello and Joelle LeGendre #Insomnia Humour


This series is an opportunity to showcase posts from around our community and the brilliant bloggers who share with us. It would be amazing if you would follow the links to the post I have highlighted and whilst visiting follow and support the blogger.

The first post is from author Annika Perry with her book review for Sea Prayer by the author of The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini.

On 2nd September 2015 an image flashed around the world that saddened and horrified us all. A young boy, later identified as Alan Kurdi, lay motionless on a pristine beach in Turkey, the dawn sun glowing around him. He was dead. During his three young years he knew only war in Syria; a war his parents fled to find safety. The photo of Alan touched everyone and inspired, nay, I would say, drove one famous writer to pen a short book, Sea Prayer.

Within Khaled Hosseini’s Sea Prayer the words and illustrations are intrinsically linked, creating a wondrous work of art.

The first page starts as a letter (quasi-eulogy) to the narrator’s son, Marwan, and it recalls the beauty of life in Homs. The father describes his childhood when he had woken “to the stirrings of olive trees in the breeze/to the bleating of your grandmother’s goat”.

Head over to read Annika’s review for this wonderful book: https://annikaperry.com/2019/10/17/sea-prayer-a-book-review/

Annika Perry, Buy: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0789KZVF8/
Blog    https://annikaperry.com –  Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17498437.Annika_Perry

The next post is from Bienvenue Press Blog  with the announcement of third place in their flash fiction competition to Sharon Marchisello for Halloween Justice.

Halloween Masquerade Ball (1)

Bienvenue Press is pleased to announce the third place winner in our annual Halloween Flash Fiction contest. This story is by Sharon Marchisello and is titled “Halloween Justice”.

“Halloween Justice”

by Sharon Marchisello

No one in the neighborhood put on a better Halloween display than Diana Hunter. Every year, she added new decorations to scare young children and delight older trick-or-treaters. Last year, she hung a two-foot black velveteen spider from a wispy net between the birch trees; the net’s threads were so fine, trespassers who cut across her grass became entangled in the creature’s web. The mechanical skeleton who cackled maniacally when he popped up from the lawn’s tombstone at irregular intervals was a long-time favorite. A steam machine and haunting music pierced with an occasional scream enhanced the atmosphere.

This year, Diana had purchased a full-size brass coffin, a model being discontinued by the local funeral home. She was still trying to decide where to place it for maximum effect. 

Head over and read all of Sharon’s story: https://bienvenuepressblog.wordpress.com/2019/10/13/halloween-justice/

Sharon Marchisello, Buy: https://www.amazon.com/Sharon-Marchisello/e/B00NH6N4WK/ Blog  https://sharonmarchisello.blogspot.com Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4297807.Sharon_Marchisello

Now for all of those who might have trouble getting off to sleep at night… Joelle LeGendre of Two on a Rant will have you in stitches..

Insomnia came for a visit and refuses to leave, so I’m laughing in its face.

Image may contain: text

Image may contain: text

Head over and see the rest, you should see the last one.. priceless: https://rantingalong.blog/2019/10/18/find-something-to-laugh-at/

Joelle LeGendre buy: https://www.amazon.com/Joelle-LeGendre/e/B00JBQDHWMBlog: https://rantingalong.blog/about/Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7809192.Joelle_LeGendre

Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you will head over to read these posts in full.. thanks Sally.

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Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #Potluck #Finance – The Link Between Financial and Physical Health by Sharon Marchisello


Welcome to the series of Posts from Your Archives, where bloggers put their trust in me. In this series, I dive into a blogger’s archives and select four posts to share here to my audience.

If you would like to know how it works here is the original post: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/28/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-newseries-pot-luck-and-do-you-trust-me/

Today’s contributor is financial expert and author Sharon Marchisello, who shares her down to earth and valuable insights into managing our assets. Sharon has two blogs and I will be focusing on her Countdown to Financial Freedom during this series. In this post Sharon explores the link between financial worries and our health.

The Link Between Financial and Physical Health by Sharon Marchisello

Image from Pixabay.com

Studies have shown a direct correlation between financial fitness and overall health. Think about it. When you worry about how you’re going to pay the bills, when you feel guilty about how much you’ve spent, how you’re buried in debt, your physical well-being may be affected.

Financial stress can cause depression or anxiety. It can elevate your blood pressure, even give you ulcers. You might have trouble sleeping.

Whether it manifests itself in junk food binges or whether your stomach is too nervous to digest a proper meal, your body may be deprived of the nutrition it needs to maintain optimal performance.

Obsessing about money can lead to drug or alcohol abuse. Which in turn can create more problems in your life, both physical and financial.

Your relationships may suffer. At a well-meaning spouse’s mention of the overdue bills, or a child’s need for school supplies, you may lash out without thinking, consequently hurting people you love. Obsession over money can cause you to miss those special moments with family and friends, like watching a child take a first step or celebrating someone’s accomplishment. Important moments that shouldn’t cost anything.

So how do you avoid feeling stressed if your finances are indeed out of control?

Think of the serenity prayer: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

Have the courage to stop the bleeding. Now. Don’t wait until after the holidays. The longer you wait, the harder it will be. Write down everything coming in and everything going out, and then prepare a budget. Cut out unnecessary expenditures like subscriptions to magazines you don’t read, membership in clubs you don’t frequent, premium cable channels you don’t watch, etc. Maybe you can get by a little longer between haircuts, manicures, professional cleanings. Make a list when you go shopping—on a full stomach—and resist the impulse to splurge on items you don’t need. Complete transformation won’t happen overnight, but if you make small, steady, permanent lifestyle changes to help you live within your means, you will soon see progress.

Accept that there will always be someone who lives in a bigger house, drives a newer car, gives better presents, wears nicer clothes than you. Stop trying to keep up with people who have more money than you do. Buy only what you can afford, and learn to be happy with what you have. If you’re reading this, undoubtedly, there are others who have a lot less.

What tips do you have for reducing financial stress? I’d love to hear your comments.

©Sharon Marchisello 2017

About Sharon Marchisello

Sharon Marchisello is the author of “The Ghost on Timber Way,” part of a short story anthology entitled Mystery, Atlanta Style, featuring fellow Sisters in Crime members. She has published a personal finance e-book entitled Live Cheaply, Be Happy, Grow Wealthy, as well as numerous travel articles, book reviews, and corporate training manuals.

Sharon grew up in Tyler, Texas, and earned her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Houston in French and English. She studied for a year in Tours, France, on a Rotary scholarship and then moved to Los Angeles to pursue her Masters in Professional Writing at the University of Southern California. Now she lives in Peachtree City, Georgia, with her husband and cat.

Retired from a 27-year career with Delta Air Lines, she does volunteer work for the Fayette Humane Society. Going Home is her first published novel. The murder mystery was inspired by her mother’s battle with Alzheimer’s, which prompted her to wonder what it would be like to interview a witness or a suspect who could not rely on her memory.

Books by Sharon Marchisello

One of the recent reviews for Live Well, Grow Wealth

Katherine Kinlin 5.0 out of 5 stars Easy Read December 18, 2018

Sometimes it can be hard for me to read books due too much going on with content, but Marchisello’s book was a really easy read for me. I can’t do complicated when it comes to books. She was really relate-able, because I didn’t grow up as a math centric person, and I also came from what would be considered a middle-class family. As a 27-year-old, her advice made me think about my life, and what I could be doing differently (therefore better!) with my money. She also changed the way I think about money. I don’t think a lot of people grow up to consider things like a big picture, or what’s going in and out. It kind of gave made better sense of what’s going on around me. A good perspective shift.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Sharon-Marchisello/e/B00NH6N4WK/

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sharon-Marchisello/e/B00NH6N4WK/

Read other reviews and follow Sharon on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4297807.Sharon_Marchisello

About the book

Live Cheaply, Be Happy, Grow Wealthy is Personal Finance 101, a commonsense guide to shrinking your financial footprint. Sharon Marchisello compares managing your financial life to reaching and maintaining a healthy weight, and in ten easy-to-follow steps, she shows ordinary people how to build wealth by living within their means without compromising their values.

The book is available from Smashwords: Live Cheaply, Be Happy, Grow Wealthy

Connect to Sharon.

Blogspot : https://sharonmarchisello.blogspot.com/
Blog WordPress: https://smarchisello.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SLMarchisello
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Live-Cheaply-Be-Happy-Grow-Wealthy-494073360780648/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SLMarchisello

My thanks to Sharon for opening up her files to enable me to share her posts… we can always use free and unbiased financial advice… Sally.

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #Potluck – #Finance- Paying off your #Mortgage by Sharon Marchisello


Welcome to the series of Posts from Your Archives, where bloggers put their trust in me. In this series, I dive into a blogger’s archives and select four posts to share here to my audience.

If you would like to know how it works here is the original post: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/28/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-newseries-pot-luck-and-do-you-trust-me/

Today’s contributor is financial expert and author Sharon Marchisello, who shares her down to earth and valuable insights into managing our assets. Sharon has two blogs and I will be focusing on her Countdown to Financial Freedom during this series.

Paying off your #Mortgage by Sharon Marchisello

Image Pixabay.com

Several months ago, I wrote a post about the pros and cons of paying off your mortgage early. I promised that in a future post, I’d tell you how to do it. Well, here goes.

The best forty dollars I ever spent was to attend a one-day class at a community college near my Seattle home on how to prepay your mortgage. My husband talked me into going.

I had heard people mention “making double payments” to accelerate repaying their mortgages. But our mortgage payment was already over a thousand dollars a month, a big chunk of our income; how could we possibly make double payments?

Early in the life of a mortgage, the bulk of your payment consists of interest. “Double payments” simply means paying two months’ worth of principal. When you make a principal payment before it is due, you cut out the interest associated with that payment.

When you purchase a house and secure a mortgage, you should receive an amortization schedule from your lender. If it’s not included in the huge packet of papers you receive at closing, ask for one or create your own. An amortization schedule states the amount borrowed, the terms, and the total amount of interest that will be paid by the loan’s end date (assuming you stay in the house and make regular payments throughout the life of the loan, without ever refinancing). There will be a breakdown of each month’s payment showing how much of the total goes to principal, and how much to interest, as well as the loan balance after each month’s payment.

Our teacher ran an amortization schedule for each student in the class, using the loan parameters we provided. We could then use this schedule to track our own prepayments and reconcile with our lender’s statement at the end of each year. Now it’s easy to create your own amortization schedule online, in Microsoft Excel, or using one of many other readily available computer programs or apps.

For example, let’s look at a thirty-year fixed loan for $200,000 with a five-percent interest rate. The payments would be $1073.64 a month, and you would have spent a total of $386,511.57 by the payoff date, assuming you never moved or refinanced. After thirty years, the total interest paid would be $186,511.57, almost as much as the original amount borrowed. Those numbers can be quite intimidating the first time you sign your life away to acquire a mortgage. When my husband and I bought our first home, our interest rate was 10.5 percent on a thirty-year loan, so the figures were even more dramatic.

Here’s what an amortization schedule for the thirty-year, five-percent loan for $200,000 with a monthly payment of $1073.64 would look like:

If you decide to make double payments, you don’t need to pay $1073.64 x 2. You simply pay next month’s principal along with this month’s payment: $1073.64 + 241.31. Now your loan balance has been reduced to $199,518.38 instead of $199,759.69, and you have saved $832.33 in interest. Next month, you will be on payment #3. If you send month #4’s principal (243.33) along with it, you’ll be on payment #5 by the third month of your loan. Continue these steps and in six months you’ll have knocked a full year off your loan payments and saved almost $5000 in interest over the life of the loan. Notice how much faster the loan balance declines; in this example, your balance after six months is the same as it would have been after one year of normal payments:

Of course, when you use this prepayment method, the principal payments increase a little each month, which could become difficult to manage eventually if your income is not going up. But the beauty of this system is that you are not locked into making the additional principal payment, so if money is tight one month, you can skip or reduce it, or you can stop any time and go back to your regular payment schedule. The initial savings has still been realized.

Think about this option when you first apply for a loan; the sooner you begin prepayments, the more interest you’ll save. As you can see from any amortization schedule, the lender collects the bulk of the interest up front, when the loan balance is highest. People who refinance over and over don’t reduce their loan balance much over time; most of what they pay is interest, and they perpetually carry a mortgage. (“But it’s tax deductible!” they argue.) If you’re afraid you might not be able to manage the payments on a fifteen-year loan, take out a thirty-year loan and prepay it, using the double-declining principal strategy to cut your repayment time in half.

You can also customize your amortization schedule to prepay a fixed amount each month, for example, sending your lender an extra $100 toward reducing the principal. Every little bit saves way more interest down the road.

Have you ever thought about pre-paying your mortgage? I’d love to hear your comments.

©Sharon Marchisello 2018

About Sharon Marchisello

Sharon Marchisello is the author of “The Ghost on Timber Way,” part of a short story anthology entitled Mystery, Atlanta Style, featuring fellow Sisters in Crime members. She has published a personal finance e-book entitled Live Cheaply, Be Happy, Grow Wealthy, as well as numerous travel articles, book reviews, and corporate training manuals.

Sharon grew up in Tyler, Texas, and earned her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Houston in French and English. She studied for a year in Tours, France, on a Rotary scholarship and then moved to Los Angeles to pursue her Masters in Professional Writing at the University of Southern California. Now she lives in Peachtree City, Georgia, with her husband and cat.

Retired from a 27-year career with Delta Air Lines, she does volunteer work for the Fayette Humane Society. Going Home is her first published novel. The murder mystery was inspired by her mother’s battle with Alzheimer’s, which prompted her to wonder what it would be like to interview a witness or a suspect who could not rely on her memory.

Books by Sharon Marchisello

One of the recent reviews for Live Well, Grow Wealth

Katherine Kinlin 5.0 out of 5 stars Easy Read December 18, 2018

Sometimes it can be hard for me to read books due too much going on with content, but Marchisello’s book was a really easy read for me. I can’t do complicated when it comes to books. She was really relate-able, because I didn’t grow up as a math centric person, and I also came from what would be considered a middle-class family. As a 27-year-old, her advice made me think about my life, and what I could be doing differently (therefore better!) with my money. She also changed the way I think about money. I don’t think a lot of people grow up to consider things like a big picture, or what’s going in and out. It kind of gave made better sense of what’s going on around me. A good perspective shift.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Sharon-Marchisello/e/B00NH6N4WK/

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sharon-Marchisello/e/B00NH6N4WK/

Read other reviews and follow Sharon on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4297807.Sharon_Marchisello

About the book

Live Cheaply, Be Happy, Grow Wealthy is Personal Finance 101, a commonsense guide to shrinking your financial footprint. Sharon Marchisello compares managing your financial life to reaching and maintaining a healthy weight, and in ten easy-to-follow steps, she shows ordinary people how to build wealth by living within their means without compromising their values.

The book is available from Smashwords: Live Cheaply, Be Happy, Grow Wealthy

Connect to Sharon.

Blogspot : https://sharonmarchisello.blogspot.com/
Blog WordPress: https://smarchisello.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SLMarchisello
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Live-Cheaply-Be-Happy-Grow-Wealthy-494073360780648/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SLMarchisello

My thanks to Sharon for opening up her files to enable me to share her posts… we can always use free and unbiased financial advice… Sally.

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #Potluck – #Money – Navigating New York by Sharon Marchisello


Welcome to the series of Posts from Your Archives, where bloggers put their trust in me. In this series, I dive into a blogger’s archives and select four posts to share here to my audience.

If you would like to know how it works here is the original post: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/28/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-newseries-pot-luck-and-do-you-trust-me/

Today’s contributor is financial expert and author Sharon Marchisello, who shares her down to earth and valuable insights into managing our assets. Sharon has two blogs and I will be focusing on her Countdown to Financial Freedom during this series. This includes, in her first post, when travelling.

Navigating New York by Sharon Marchisello

Image Pixabay.com

New York City has always intimidated me. Exciting, yes, especially during the holidays. But it’s one of those places that stomps all over you while you stop to marvel at the skyscrapers.

My memories from previous trips to New York include getting ripped off by cab drivers who refused to take us the most direct route to our destination. They salivate when they spot a tourist. And everything is so much more expensive in New York!

So I wasn’t thrilled when my husband suggested spending Thanksgiving weekend in New York City. A friend’s daughter was marching in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade and he wanted to go there to show hometown support.

Also, my sister-in-law owns an apartment in the City. She said we could stay there… except… She’d been renovating the bathroom for six months, and it still wasn’t done. Not only was there no shower curtain (or anything to hang it from) but the toilet had not yet been installed.

Not confident that the bathroom would be finished in time for our visit, we decided to book a hotel. My husband shopped around, pronounced the Manhattan hotel rates exorbitant, and booked a Hampton Inn across the river in New Jersey. Nice property, but it was across the river in New Jersey. Even with the bargain rate, we’d be spending almost $400 on accommodations, not to mention transportation to and from the City each day. We were excited that the hotel had a shuttle to the Newark airport. But it was only TO the Newark airport. When we arrived, we’d be on our own to get to the hotel. Ka-ching!

Fortunately, my sister-in-law’s toilet was installed at the eleventh hour, so we were able to cancel our hotel reservations and stay at the apartment. Free accommodations in a central location. Much better. Next problem was figuring out how to get there.

Working for the airlines, we fly space available. We knew there was a train from the JFK airport into Manhattan, but the flights looked better to LaGuardia. No one could tell us anything about public transportation into the City from LaGuardia—other than cabs.

When we arrived LaGuardia, we found a Visitor Information desk. After the attendant got off the phone, she turned out to be quite helpful. She told us we could buy a Metro card from a machine at the airport and then get on the E train; there was a stop only about three blocks from the apartment. A public bus, the Q70, links the LaGuardia airport with the Metro station (Jackson Heights / Roosevelt Avenue).

It costs $1.00 to purchase a Metro card, and then you have to fill it. Ours is good for a little over a year, and we can keep refilling it in ten-dollar increments until it expires. The woman at the Visitor Center suggested starting with the minimum amount since rides are only $2.75 each. The bus link is also $2.75, but supposedly you can get transfers to and from the subway. The bus link was free during Thanksgiving week, so we didn’t have to figure out how to do a transfer. We got into town for $5.50 and walked to my sister-in-law’s apartment from the subway station. I was feeling much better about our trip’s affordability!

New York is a great city for exploring on foot, but it’s huge, so the Metro card came in handy when we had to travel a long distance in a relatively short time. When we went out with my husband’s two sisters, we took cabs. Depending on the distance, a cab was almost as cheap as for the four of us to ride the Metro. The secret was to catch the cab going in the correct direction and get out a block or two shy of the destination if it meant avoiding extra traffic lights and U-turns. It helps to know the City which, fortunately, my sister-in-law does.

We found New Yorkers very helpful—from subway workers, to shopkeepers, to policemen. I left feeling much more comfortable with the city, and willing to go back. After all, I still have a Metro card.

©Sharon Marchisello 2018

About Sharon Marchisello

Sharon Marchisello is the author of “The Ghost on Timber Way,” part of a short story anthology entitled Mystery, Atlanta Style, featuring fellow Sisters in Crime members. She has published a personal finance e-book entitled Live Cheaply, Be Happy, Grow Wealthy, as well as numerous travel articles, book reviews, and corporate training manuals.

Sharon grew up in Tyler, Texas, and earned her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Houston in French and English. She studied for a year in Tours, France, on a Rotary scholarship and then moved to Los Angeles to pursue her Masters in Professional Writing at the University of Southern California. Now she lives in Peachtree City, Georgia, with her husband and cat.

Retired from a 27-year career with Delta Air Lines, she does volunteer work for the Fayette Humane Society. Going Home is her first published novel. The murder mystery was inspired by her mother’s battle with Alzheimer’s, which prompted her to wonder what it would be like to interview a witness or a suspect who could not rely on her memory.

Books by Sharon Marchisello

One of the recent reviews for Live Well, Grow Wealth

Katherine Kinlin 5.0 out of 5 stars Easy Read December 18, 2018

Sometimes it can be hard for me to read books due too much going on with content, but Marchisello’s book was a really easy read for me. I can’t do complicated when it comes to books. She was really relate-able, because I didn’t grow up as a math centric person, and I also came from what would be considered a middle-class family. As a 27-year-old, her advice made me think about my life, and what I could be doing differently (therefore better!) with my money. She also changed the way I think about money. I don’t think a lot of people grow up to consider things like a big picture, or what’s going in and out. It kind of gave made better sense of what’s going on around me. A good perspective shift.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Sharon-Marchisello/e/B00NH6N4WK/

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sharon-Marchisello/e/B00NH6N4WK/

Read other reviews and follow Sharon on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4297807.Sharon_Marchisello

About the book

Live Cheaply, Be Happy, Grow Wealthy is Personal Finance 101, a commonsense guide to shrinking your financial footprint. Sharon Marchisello compares managing your financial life to reaching and maintaining a healthy weight, and in ten easy-to-follow steps, she shows ordinary people how to build wealth by living within their means without compromising their values.

The book is available from Smashwords: Live Cheaply, Be Happy, Grow Wealthy

Connect to Sharon.

Blogspot : https://sharonmarchisello.blogspot.com/
Blog WordPress: https://smarchisello.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SLMarchisello
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Live-Cheaply-Be-Happy-Grow-Wealthy-494073360780648/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SLMarchisello

My thanks to Sharon for opening up her files to enable me to share her posts… we can always use free and unbiased financial advice… Sally.

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #Family- Remembering my Frugal Mother by Sharon Marchisello


Welcome to the third of the posts from Sharon Marchisello’s archives. Last week she shared the financial wisdom by her father. This week Sharon shares her mother’s efforts to make sure money was well spent.

Remembering my Frugal Mother by Sharon Marchisello

My mother liked to be acknowledged on Mother’s Day, but she bristled at the thought of money being spent on her. No gifts, a card was fine.

Flowers (unless picked from one’s garden) were too extravagant. When I got a job and became self-sufficient, I sent her flowers on Mother’s Day and her birthday. “They’re beautiful, honey, but you shouldn’t have.” And she meant it. I don’t think she was ever able to enjoy them, she was so worried about how much the flowers–and the delivery–had cost me. After a while, I stopped sending her flowers, because they made her so uncomfortable.

My mother died before unlimited domestic calling was a common feature of most cell and landline plans. Back then, long-distance phone calls, with the charges escalating by the minute, made her nervous. As soon as she heard my voice on the line, she’d squeal, “Oh Sharon, how nice to talk to you. Thanks for calling.” And sometimes she’d hang up before I had a chance to tell her the reason for my call.

Only the direst of emergencies warranted a long-distance telephone call. When my grandmother died, my mother wrote a letter to give me the news. (To her credit, she splurged on a special-edition, handwritten letter and thus an extra stamp; she didn’t save that piece of information for the monthly family newsletter.) Still, I almost missed the funeral. My brother did miss the funeral, because he had a less-flexible work schedule than I and he didn’t work for an airline that gave him free flight benefits.

When I moved to Los Angeles from Houston and drove with a friend across the desert in my semi-reliable 1976 Subaru, my parents wanted reassurance that I had arrived safely. “But don’t waste money on a long-distance call,” Mom instructed. “Tell the operator you want to make a person-to-person collect call to Sharon. When I answer and the operator asks for Sharon, I’ll tell her Sharon isn’t here. That will be our code. We’ll know you arrived safely, and you won’t have to pay for a long-distance call.”

I inherited frugality from my mother, but I hope mine is less extreme.

My mother’s attitude about long-distance calls changed a little when my brother got a job at Bell Labs. One of his employment perks was reduced-rate long-distance service; I think the company gave him an allotment of free minutes. Gradually, he convinced our mother that it wasn’t breaking the bank for him to have a relaxed long-distance phone conversation with her.

I often wonder what my mother would do now that most cell phone plans offer unlimited domestic calling. Would she ever get used to it? Unfortunately, I’ll never get to find out.

What endearing quirks does/did your mother have to save money? I’d love to hear your comments.

©Sharon Marchisello

About Sharon Marchisello

Sharon Marchisello is the author of “The Ghost on Timber Way,” part of a short story anthology entitled Mystery, Atlanta Style, featuring fellow Sisters in Crime members. She has published a personal finance e-book entitled Live Cheaply, Be Happy, Grow Wealthy, as well as numerous travel articles, book reviews, and corporate training manuals.

Sharon grew up in Tyler, Texas, and earned her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Houston in French and English. She studied for a year in Tours, France, on a Rotary scholarship and then moved to Los Angeles to pursue her Masters in Professional Writing at the University of Southern California. Now she lives in Peachtree City, Georgia, with her husband and cat.

Retired from a 27-year career with Delta Air Lines, she does volunteer work for the Fayette Humane Society. Going Home is her first published novel. The murder mystery was inspired by her mother’s battle with Alzheimer’s, which prompted her to wonder what it would be like to interview a witness or a suspect who could not rely on her memory.

Books by Sharon Marchisello

One of the recent reviews for Live Well, Grow Wealth

Katherine Kinlin 5.0 out of 5 stars Easy Read December 18, 2018

Sometimes it can be hard for me to read books due too much going on with content, but Marchisello’s book was a really easy read for me. I can’t do complicated when it comes to books. She was really relate-able, because I didn’t grow up as a math centric person, and I also came from what would be considered a middle-class family. As a 27-year-old, her advice made me think about my life, and what I could be doing differently (therefore better!) with my money. She also changed the way I think about money. I don’t think a lot of people grow up to consider things like a big picture, or what’s going in and out. It kind of gave made better sense of what’s going on around me. A good perspective shift.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Sharon-Marchisello/e/B00NH6N4WK/

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sharon-Marchisello/e/B00NH6N4WK/

Read other reviews and follow Sharon on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4297807.Sharon_Marchisello

About the book

Live Cheaply, Be Happy, Grow Wealthy is Personal Finance 101, a commonsense guide to shrinking your financial footprint. Sharon Marchisello compares managing your financial life to reaching and maintaining a healthy weight, and in ten easy-to-follow steps, she shows ordinary people how to build wealth by living within their means without compromising their values.

The book is available from Smashwords: Live Cheaply, Be Happy, Grow Wealthy

Connect to Sharon.

Blogspot : https://sharonmarchisello.blogspot.com/
Blog WordPress: https://smarchisello.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SLMarchisello
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Live-Cheaply-Be-Happy-Grow-Wealthy-494073360780648/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SLMarchisello

Thank you for dropping in today and Sharon would love to have your feedback and questions.

Posts from Your Archives and the theme this time is all about family.

  1. Personal memories of childhood or teens that are still fresh in your mind.
  2. Family history, stories of your parents, grandparents and further back if you can.
  3. Fur family past and present.
  4. Favourite recipes.
  5. Memorable holidays.
  6. Places you have lived.
  7. Memorable homes you have lived in.
  8. Grandchildren tales.
  9. Any family related post – education, health, teen years, elderly care, lifestyle.
  10. Please remember that there are some younger readers who visit.

I think you get the idea.

The aim of this series is to showcase your blog and any creative work that you do from books, art, photography and crafts. You pick between one and four links to posts that you have written (poetry too) for your own blog from the day you started up to December 2018, and you simply send the link to those blogs to sally.cronin@moyhill.com

You have to do nothing more as I will capture the post and images from your blog and I will then post with full copyright to you.. with your creative work and your links to buy and to connect. I might sometimes need a little more information but I am quite resourceful in finding out everything I need.

So far in the Posts from Your Archives from September 2017, there have been over 700 posts from 200 + bloggers that have reached a different audience and encouraged more readers for their own blogs and current posts.

Previous participants are more than welcome

Smorgasbord Blogs from Your Archives – #Family – Financial Lessons from my Mother by Sharon Marchisello


The start of a series of posts from the archives of financial expert Sharon Marchisello. Very often we learn our spending habits from our parents… which is probably why I have too many pairs of shoes and handbags! In her first post Sharon shares the financial wisdom she learnt from her mother.

Financial Lessons from my Mother by Sharon Marchisello

Mother’s Day is just around the corner, and although my mother is no longer here, she left me a healthy respect for money. And I still benefit from the financial lessons she taught me. There was really some wisdom behind her platitudes:

“Money doesn’t grow on trees.” My mother let me know that my father worked very hard for what we had, and there was a finite amount of money in the household for discretionary expenditures. Unlike some of my friends (or so I thought), I couldn’t have whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted it. When my allowance was spent, there wasn’t any more until the next week. My mother taught me to live within my means.

“Save for a rainy day.” My mother gave me my first piggy bank when I was three years old. Actually, it was an oil can with a slit in the top that my father cut for me. You could put coins in, but you couldn’t get them out. My father finally cut the can open when I was about ten, and we moved my nest egg to a passbook savings account. My mother taught me about the magic of compound interest, and instilled in me the joy of watching my savings grow.

“Always keep a little ‘mad’ money.” I think what my mother was referring to was a scenario where a girl goes out on a date and decides midway through that it’s not going to work. She should have money to call a cab or otherwise extricate herself from the situation. But this advice can also be applied to long-term relationships. No matter how much you love and trust your spouse, no matter how fiscally secure you are as a couple, it is wise for both parties to have a basic understanding of household finances. Both of you should know what income to rely on, what bills need to be paid, and how to access the necessary funds. If something should happen to one partner, don’t leave the other one clueless. My mother taught me to value financial independence.

How did your mother shape your attitudes toward money? I would love to hear your comments.

©Sharon Marchisello

About Sharon Marchisello

Sharon Marchisello is the author of “The Ghost on Timber Way,” part of a short story anthology entitled Mystery, Atlanta Style, featuring fellow Sisters in Crime members. She has published a personal finance e-book entitled Live Cheaply, Be Happy, Grow Wealthy, as well as numerous travel articles, book reviews, and corporate training manuals.

Sharon grew up in Tyler, Texas, and earned her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Houston in French and English. She studied for a year in Tours, France, on a Rotary scholarship and then moved to Los Angeles to pursue her Masters in Professional Writing at the University of Southern California. Now she lives in Peachtree City, Georgia, with her husband and cat.

Retired from a 27-year career with Delta Air Lines, she does volunteer work for the Fayette Humane Society. Going Home is her first published novel. The murder mystery was inspired by her mother’s battle with Alzheimer’s, which prompted her to wonder what it would be like to interview a witness or a suspect who could not rely on her memory.

Books by Sharon Marchisello

One of the recent reviews for Live Well, Grow Wealth

 

Katherine Kinlin  5.0 out of 5 stars Easy Read December 18, 2018

Sometimes it can be hard for me to read books due too much going on with content, but Marchisello’s book was a really easy read for me. I can’t do complicated when it comes to books. She was really relate-able, because I didn’t grow up as a math centric person, and I also came from what would be considered a middle-class family. As a 27-year-old, her advice made me think about my life, and what I could be doing differently (therefore better!) with my money. She also changed the way I think about money. I don’t think a lot of people grow up to consider things like a big picture, or what’s going in and out. It kind of gave made better sense of what’s going on around me. A good perspective shift.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Sharon-Marchisello/e/B00NH6N4WK/

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sharon-Marchisello/e/B00NH6N4WK/

Read other reviews and follow Sharon on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4297807.Sharon_Marchisello

 

About the book

Live Cheaply, Be Happy, Grow Wealthy is Personal Finance 101, a commonsense guide to shrinking your financial footprint. Sharon Marchisello compares managing your financial life to reaching and maintaining a healthy weight, and in ten easy-to-follow steps, she shows ordinary people how to build wealth by living within their means without compromising their values.

The book is available from Smashwords: Live Cheaply, Be Happy, Grow Wealthy

Connect to Sharon.

Blogspot : https://sharonmarchisello.blogspot.com/
Blog WordPress: https://smarchisello.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SLMarchisello
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Live-Cheaply-Be-Happy-Grow-Wealthy-494073360780648/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SLMarchisello

Thank you for dropping in today and Sharon would love to have your feedback and questions.

When I began my first part-time job at 14, my parents took 25% of whatever I earned, from then until I left home at 20 years old. They did that with all of us and I think it was an excellent idea as it did teach me to budget and appreciated the cost of a roof over my head and food on the table.

How about the financial lessons you learned from your mother and father?

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Buy a Book for Christmas – #Wealth #Relationships #humour – Sharon Marchisello, Lisa Thomson, Barb Taub and Molly Stevens.


We are in the last phase of the Christmas Promotions of books in the Cafe. So far I have tried to group books into genres (loose sometimes) and now I am sharing some of the books that are stand alone or are in a non-fiction category.

Such as the first book, published in November, by Sharon Marchisello and reflects her experience within the financial sector. We all would like to reach a state of financial security or independence, and this book is aimed at guiding us to that state. Live Well, Grow Wealth: A Commonsense Guide to Shrinking Your Financial Footprint.

About the book.

Live Well, Grow Wealth is Personal Finance 101, a commonsense guide to shrinking your financial footprint. Sharon Marchisello compares managing your financial life to reaching and maintaining a healthy weight, and in ten easy-to-follow steps, she shows ordinary people how to build wealth by living within their means without compromising their values.

And early review for the book

Sharon’s writing is warm and friendly as well as instructive. After a few pages, I felt I was sitting in her kitchen, sharing conversation and a cup of coffee. The clearly defined objectives of each chapter resonate with audiences from teens to us “aging baby boomers.” As one of the latter, I appreciated the message that it’s never too late – nor too difficult.

Head over and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1986446123

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Live-Well-Grow-Wealth-Commonsense/dp/1986446123

Also by Sharon Marchisello

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Sharon-Marchisello/e/B00NH6N4WK/

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sharon-Marchisello/e/B00NH6N4WK/

Read other reviews and follow Sharon on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4297807.Sharon_Marchisello

Connect to Sharon via her blog: https://sharonmarchisello.blogspot.com/

Now time for some short stories… from an author who has also written two books on a subject that is not necessary very festive… Divorce. However, this romantic collection of stories may well help prevent reaching that point in a relationship! Lisa Thomson with Hearts Unbroken.

About the collection

Hearts Unbroken is a short story collection about love, loss and healing our broken hearts.
Marriage, love, divorce, and loss are fascinating subjects that provide a sharp backdrop to the human experience. How we love, have our hearts broken, and rebound, create stories that connect us. This collection touches on a variety of scenarios. Extra-marital affairs, abandonment, single parenting, widowhood, and finding love again, are the themes explored.

In the face of loss, we often rise from the ruins, surprised by our own ability to heal, as the characters show us. Mack is a single father, abandoned by his wife. He views himself as a broken down Chevy of a father—yet his two children love him all the same. Rachel is a young widow, having lost the man she loves, unexpectedly. We see her grief unfold and love grow again. Ava, is a married woman with a dirty secret, can her catholic marriage survive? This collection of short stories offers the reader much to contemplate when it comes to love and loss. Above all, it offers hope. Watching the variety of characters putting their broken hearts back together, will inspire the deepest cynic to love again.

One of the early reviews for Hearts Unbroken.

Hearts Unbroken’ by Lisa Thomson is an anthology of short stories that tug at reader’s heart, as they talk about human emotions and relationships, some of them so fragile that they need a solo long drive to figure them out. Sarah’s marriage is a façade and she discovers it the day she decides to attend her family reunion without her husband who has no respect for her emotions and desires. He shrugs her off with an insensitive remark. No less poignant are the questions of Samantha who is too little to understand why her mommy is not coming home to tuck her in her bed.

Lisa excels in bringing out raw emotions without letting them melt into a melodrama. Her characters move on with their life despite heavy baggage of betrayal and internal strife. If Kora felt imprisoned within her own home, she had the courage to break free from the dazzling world of Jack, if Ava had rebuffed men to avoid an affair, she also knew how to calm her carnal desires. Grief stricken Rachel could rise to the occasion to save Alex. All these persons seem to be so familiar. They could be one of our friends, struggling with an unhappy marriage or a neighbor who doesn’t know how to deal with domestic abuse.

Lisa’s stories deal with these realistic problems in the most authentic manner, holding the reader’s interest till the end. If you wonder what good relationships are and how they can be nurtured, read this book. If men fail to appreciate the role of a woman in their homes and how much work is required to keep it blossoming, they would surely learn from Mack. I devoured this book within hours!

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Hearts-Unbroken-Stories-Lisa-Thomson-ebook/dp/B07CV8D2RH

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hearts-Unbroken-Stories-Lisa-Thomson-ebook/dp/B07CV8D2RH

Also by Lisa Thomson

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Lisa-Thomson/e/B007HNG4CQ/

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lisa-Thomson/e/B007HNG4CQ/

Read more reviews and follow Lisa on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6692957.Lisa_Thomson

Connect to Lisa via her website: http://www.lisathomsonlive.com/

Another author who has written a book on one of the phases of life that most of us face is Barb Taub with her humorous book published in January of this year. Life Begins When the Kids Leave Home.. and the dog dies.

About the book

Chapter 1. A California girl named Barb met her prince of a guy. He was tall, dark, and handsome. (Actually, he was a Republican. But he was definitely tall.) They fell in love, and got married. Chapter 2. He brought her to his castle in England and they lived happily ever after. THE END** **Luckily, 35+ years of living happened between Chapters 1 and 2, giving Barb plenty of material for this collection (in no particular chronological order) from her newspaper columns, articles, blog posts, and that time she killed Mom. And that’s before

Chapter 3 even starts. “I have learned to put down the coffee and place breakable objects at a safe distance when a post from Barb Taub comes up. It is very hard to drink coffee and laugh at the same time without redecorating the desk…”—author Sue Vincent Bio: In halcyon days BC (before children), Barb Taub wrote a humor column for several Midwest newspapers. With the arrival of Child #4, she veered toward the dark side (an HR career).

Following a daring daytime escape to England, she’s lived in a medieval castle , a hobbit house, and a Scottish isle with her prince-of-a-guy and the World’s Most Spoiled AussieDog. Considering all her days are now Saturdays, Barb is amazed that this is her sixth book.

One of the reviews for the book.

Ritu 5.0 out of 5 stars Hilariously realistic! 18 August 2018

Now, I am not quite at retirement stage, not looking out for grandchildren, as my own kids are still young, thankfully, but I enjoyed reading Barb Taub’s collection of essays immensely!

The articles about motherhood resonated deeply, and I have to say I snorted with laughter at many! Barb Taub has a way with words, her humour is brilliant and these short essays keep you turning the pages.

You could dip in and out of this book, but I was so immersed, I read it continually (when my own children would allow) until the very last page! Definitely recommended!

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Life-Begins-When-Kids-Leave/dp/1976934125

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Life-Begins-When-Kids-Leave-ebook/dp/B079428DNQ

Also by Barb Taub

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Barb-Taub/e/B00EZP9BS8/

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Barb-Taub/e/B00EZP9BS8

Follow Barb Taub on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7267656.Barb_Taub

Connect to Barb via her website: https://barbtaub.com/about/

The the final author today is Molly Stevens whose created a picture book story for those of us of a certain age. Boomer on the Ledge.

About Boomer on the Ledge.

Do you believe aging is grim? Something to tolerate while waiting for the reaper? Be prepared to challenge this assumption when you read: Introducing: Boomer on the Ledge.™ Molly Stevens observed her grandsons discovering Christmas magic with an elf who monitored their behavior and reported it to Santa. As invasive as that seemed, she realized no one watches people in her age group unless scanning for signs of dementia. She felt invisible and needed validation. So she created a little doll whose daily surprises reminded her how being a boomer is both harrowing and hilarious. From the mundane to the sublime, let Boomer on the Ledge™ help you transform grim into grins while you explore the antics of an aging boomer.

The most recent review for the book

Who is a boomer ? What does a boomer look like ? Is there a stereotype? Would everyone become a boomer sometime or is it the select few ? The answers to all these questions and more are provided through this short and sweet book, almost as small as a comic book of yore. Yes, the book is short, too short for my like, leaving me with the the wish for more. But it is like cranberry sauce, one always feels like going for a second helping. 

Read the reviews and buy the book from Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Boomer-Ledge-Molly-Stevens-ebook/dp/B075YBHMZ7

and at Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Boomer-Ledge-Molly-Stevens-ebook/dp/B075YBHMZ7

Connect to Molly Stevens via her website: http://www.shallowreflections.com

Thank you for visiting today and I hope you leave with a book or two.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – Travel – Navigating Cuban Currency by Sharon Marchisello


Delighted to welcome back author and financial expert Sharon Marchisello with a post for the travel archive series. This week, if you are heading off to Cuba or stopping off when on a cruise, how to navigate Cuban currency.

Navigating Cuban Currency by Sharon Marchisello

I returned last week from a cruise to Cuba, and I wish I had done more research on that country’s currency system before I left.

I knew businesses in Cuba don’t accept credit cards drawn on U.S. banks. And certainly not American Express. So I was prepared to pay in cash for anything I bought. Because we were visiting the country on a cruise ship, taking excursions organized by the cruise line, I didn’t expect to have to buy much. Maybe just a few beverages and a souvenir or two.

And tips. Cubans expect tips for everything. Including using their bathrooms. Once we got on board, the cruise line provided us with a wallet-sized tipping guide.

Friends who had visited Cuba reported that dollars were widely accepted. Yes, at the currency exchange.

Although the cruise line told us we must exchange our money because Cubans are not allowed to accept foreign currency—even for tips—I’m not sure this was entirely accurate. Plenty of cab drivers and vendors approached us and offered their services in exchange for U.S. dollars. But I imagine the cruise line, calling on Cuban ports at the permission of the government, was obligated to communicate official policy.

Cuba has a dual currency system, and neither currency is traded internationally. That means you can’t buy Cuban pesos until you arrive in the country, and you can’t get rid of them when you get home—or on board the cruise ship. (Technically, you’re not even supposed to transport Cuban pesos out of the country.)

The Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC), with a 1:1 exchange rate pegged to the U.S. dollar, is the legal tender given to tourists at banks and currency exchange kiosks. A passport is required to exchange money. The CUC is approximately 25 times more valuable than the Cuban Peso (CUP), the currency used by locals at ration stores. Most state shops, especially those catering to tourists, post prices in both currencies.

There is a 3% service charge on foreign currency exchange. Plus, there is a 10% surcharge/penalty on U.S. dollars. So for my $60 cash, I received only 52 CUCs. My husband flies to Europe frequently and always has euros; too bad we didn’t know to bring them with us to Cuba, as we could have exchanged those and avoided the 10% penalty.

We were warned about a common tourist scam where a vendor will accept payment in CUCs and then when returning change, will substitute lower-value CUPs for CUCs. An easy way to distinguish between the two currencies is that CUPs have faces of people on the bills, and CUCs have pictures of monuments. Fortunately, no one we talked to had fallen victim to this scam.

The closest we came was when we were heading back to the ship in our last port, having spent our last CUC, and a young man greeted us. “I’m a teacher,” he said. “And I’m trying to meet tourists.” He asked us our names and where we were from. “I have a gift for you,” he said, and presented me with one CUP. “A souvenir from my country.” I thanked him and started to walk away. “Wait,” he called. “You can give me a CUC for that.” When we told him we didn’t have any more CUCs, he wanted his “gift” back.

To summarize, here are my suggestions if you plan to visit Cuba:

• Bring adequate cash, as you won’t be able to rely on credit cards or ATMs.
• If you have euros, Canadian dollars, British pounds, or most any currency besides USD, exchange that instead, in order to avoid the 10% fee.
• Exchange as you go, and get only as much local currency as you think you’ll need. (But plan for gratuities.) Our ship ended up skipping one of our planned ports, and many passengers had to wait in line for hours to exchange their Cuban money back into dollars, paying another 3% service charge.
• Learn to distinguish between CUCs and CUPs, and watch your change.

What tips do you have about exchanging currency abroad? I’d love to hear your comments.

Sharon is the author of Live Cheaply, Be Happy, Grow Wealthy.

About the book

Live Cheaply, Be Happy, Grow Wealthy is Personal Finance 101, a commonsense guide to shrinking your financial footprint. Sharon Marchisello compares managing your financial life to reaching and maintaining a healthy weight, and in ten easy-to-follow steps, she shows ordinary people how to build wealth by living within their means without compromising their values.

The books is available from Smashwords: Live Cheaply, Be Happy, Grow Wealthy

About Sharon Marchisello

Sharon Marchisello is the author of “The Ghost on Timber Way,” part of a short story anthology entitled Mystery, Atlanta Style, featuring fellow Sisters in Crime members. She has published a personal finance e-book entitled Live Cheaply, Be Happy, Grow Wealthy, as well as numerous travel articles, book reviews, and corporate training manuals.

Sharon grew up in Tyler, Texas, and earned her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Houston in French and English. She studied for a year in Tours, France, on a Rotary scholarship and then moved to Los Angeles to pursue her Masters in Professional Writing at the University of Southern California. Now she lives in Peachtree City, Georgia, with her husband and cat.

Retired from a 27-year career with Delta Air Lines, she does volunteer work for the Fayette Humane Society. Going Home is her first published novel. The murder mystery was inspired by her mother’s battle with Alzheimer’s, which prompted her to wonder what it would be like to interview a witness or a suspect who could not rely on her memory.

About Going Home

Michelle DePalma expected to jet into Two Wells, Texas, check on her elderly mother, and hurry back to her orderly life in Atlanta, where she has a happy marriage and satisfying career. Instead, she finds her mother, Lola Hanson, hovered over the bludgeoned body of her caregiver, Brittany Landers.

Since the events of 9/11, one month earlier, Lola’s memory loss has amplified, and the family suspects Alzheimer’s. Now Lola can’t tell anyone what happened to Brittany.

The agency that provides home care for Lola promptly withdraws its services. Michelle is stuck in her home town longer than planned as she cares for a mother with whom she has never been close and tries to prove her innocence. The police officers who investigate the crime are old antagonists from grade school.

A secret thought to be long buried—that Michelle bore a son out of wedlock and gave him up for adoption—surfaces when a surprise daughter-in-law and granddaughter show up, distracting Michelle from her quest to solve the murder. And then she stumbles upon a motive which makes Lola look even more guilty.

“Going Home” was inspired by the author’s mother’s battle with Alzheimer’s and explores the challenge of solving a murder mystery when a potential witness cannot rely on her memory. Written from the prospective of a baby boomer forced to reverse roles with her parents, it crosses into the mainstream genre of women’s fiction and touches increasingly common issues such as elder abuse and end-of-life decisions.

One of the reviews for the book

Very Good By Don S and TeamGolfwell on December 4, 2017

I really liked “Going Home” by Sharon Marchisello, and found it to be an excellent and exciting mystery. I am familiar with the devastating effects of Alzheimer’s Disease and the author wrote an excellent mystery with many interesting characters. Ms. Marchisello has a lot of talent as a writer and I enjoyed it very much.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Sharon-Marchisello/e/B00NH6N4WK/

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sharon-Marchisello/e/B00NH6N4WK/

Read other reviews and follow Sharon on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4297807.Sharon_Marchisello

Connect to Sharon.

Blogspot : https://sharonmarchisello.blogspot.com/
Blog WordPress: https://smarchisello.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SLMarchisello
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Live-Cheaply-Be-Happy-Grow-Wealthy-494073360780648/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SLMarchisello

Thank you for dropping in today and Sharon would love to have your feedback and questions. Thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – Travel – Almost Taken by Sharon Marchisello


Welcome to author and financial expert Sharon Marchisello who shares her experiences of Docents… the locals who can see us coming a mile off when we land in a strange country and are not used to the local currency or transport systems.

Almost Taken by Sharon Marchisello

The “docents” saw me coming. I’d stopped to read a sign about ground transportation and got temporarily separated from my husband as we exited the customs area at the Santiago airport.

“Lady, can I help you?” The “docent” reached for my tote bag, which was about to topple from my rolling suitcase. (“Docent” is the term my husband I have assigned to those obsequious locals who suddenly become your best friend and offer to escort you around their city, or the monument you’re trying to visit, usually in expectation of remuneration.)

“Lady, where are you going?” The docent’s partner approached. Sharks were closing in. They had spotted a rich, gullible American tourist, bleary-eyed after an overnight flight, lost and bewildered, definitely in need of some Latin chivalry.

“I’m looking for my husband.”

Helpful docents immediately started assisting in the search for my husband. In a few moments, we were reunited. And surrounded by my new amigos.

“Did you find out where to catch the bus to Valparaiso?” my husband asked me. Fortunately, I had done some research ahead of time about ground transportation options. Taxis from the Santiago airport to Valparaiso cost approximately $150, but there was a public bus from the airport to Pajaritos station, where we could board another bus bound for Valparaiso, for approximately $10 each. Frugal travelers that we are, we had settled on this plan.

One of the docents pointed out the location of the public bus stop. “But you don’t want to do that,” he advised. “To get to Valparaiso, you have to go all the way into Santiago and change buses. And the bus will drop you off downtown, where you’ll have to take a taxi to your hotel. Three changes of transportation, carrying all your own luggage, and it will cost you about 50. For only 60, you can take the mini-bus directly to your hotel in Valparaiso. And you can pay with a credit card!”

Minibus? I hadn’t read about one, but in many of the cities we’ve visited, there are semi-public buses leaving from the airport that make the rounds of area hotels, often for less money than a private cab would cost.

“Come.” Docents started pulling our suitcases toward the minibus boarding area.

“Sixty what?” I asked as I trotted along after my baggage. “Dollars? Pesos?”

“You’ll pay in pesos,” one docent replied. “By credit card.”

“How many pesos to the dollar?” my husband whispered to me.

“The exchange rate is six to one,” said one of the docents.

“Sixty pesos sounds pretty good to me,” my husband said.

But something wasn’t right. I couldn’t remember the exact dollar to peso exchange rate, but it seemed like there were a whole lot of them to the dollar. Sixty pesos was probably less than a dollar. No way was anyone going to drive us two hours to Valparaiso for 60 pesos.

“Do you mean 60 dollars?” I asked. The last time we’d taken a cruise out of Valparaiso—about 10 years ago—we’d taken a shuttle from the airport to the cruise terminal for about 60 dollars each, and my husband still felt like we’d gotten ripped off.

“Six to one,” replied one of the docents.

We passed a currency exchange booth and I glimpsed the rate for U.S. dollars: 656 Chilean pesos. Not easy math to do in your head. “He can’t mean 60 pesos,” I murmured to my husband.

The official taxi stand I had passed at the customs exit posted prices starting at 90. At first glance, my addled brain had assumed 90 dollars but now it sunk in that the price had to be in pesos. The 90 in large print was followed by three tiny zeros. Ninety thousand pesos. But still, a ride directly to our hotel in Valparaiso for 60,000 pesos didn’t sound bad.

We reached the minivan. It looked like a large private taxi, not a community-type minibus like I’d seen in other cities. The docents loaded our baggage into the trunk. The driver opened the passenger door.

“Wait,” I said to the driver. “How much are we paying?”

He grunted and pointed to the credit card machine.

“Sixty dollars,” said my docent friend. “But you pay in pesos. With credit card.”

“Sixty each,” said one of the other docents.

“Sixty each?” I looked at the driver, the one who would be collecting the money and holding our bags hostage until we paid. “Cuantos pesos para las dos?”

He typed into the machine and thrust it toward me: 120,000. Sixty thousand. Each.

“No! Too much.” I didn’t have time to run the numbers through my calculator but I knew that amount was way more pesos than we wanted to spend. We grabbed our bags before the docents could close the trunk and headed back to the public bus stop.

“Lady! Wait! What’s wrong?”

After a stop at an ATM, we boarded a bus for the 20-minute ride to Pajaritos metro station, paying 1200 pesos each. There we purchased tickets for Valparaiso for 3000 pesos each, with comfortable assigned seats for the 90-minute ride. From the downtown bus station where we arrived, we caught another public bus to a major square for 300 pesos, where we hired a taxi for 1100 pesos to take us up the hill to our hotel. A little less convenient than the private taxi directly from the airport, certainly, but our savings covered our two nights in the hotel. Not to mention getting a little local color in the process.

Several lessons we learned—or rather, reinforced—from this experience:

  • Do your homework.
  • Know the exchange rate.
  • Don’t engage the docents.

What rip-offs have you encountered while traveling abroad? I’d love to hear your comments.

Sally: You don’t have to go to a foreign country to be ripped off… our own currency exchange firms do a very good job of that! https://www.lovemoney.com/news/15610/best-foreign-currency-exchange-rates-travel-money-dollar-euro-2018

About Sharon Marchisello

Sharon Marchisello is the author of “The Ghost on Timber Way,” part of a short story anthology entitled Mystery, Atlanta Style, featuring fellow Sisters in Crime members. She has published a personal finance e-book entitled Live Cheaply, Be Happy, Grow Wealthy, as well as numerous travel articles, book reviews, and corporate training manuals.

Sharon grew up in Tyler, Texas, and earned her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Houston in French and English. She studied for a year in Tours, France, on a Rotary scholarship and then moved to Los Angeles to pursue her Masters in Professional Writing at the University of Southern California. Now she lives in Peachtree City, Georgia, with her husband and cat.

Retired from a 27-year career with Delta Air Lines, she does volunteer work for the Fayette Humane Society. Going Home is her first published novel. The murder mystery was inspired by her mother’s battle with Alzheimer’s, which prompted her to wonder what it would be like to interview a witness or a suspect who could not rely on her memory.

About Going Home

Michelle DePalma expected to jet into Two Wells, Texas, check on her elderly mother, and hurry back to her orderly life in Atlanta, where she has a happy marriage and satisfying career. Instead, she finds her mother, Lola Hanson, hovered over the bludgeoned body of her caregiver, Brittany Landers.

Since the events of 9/11, one month earlier, Lola’s memory loss has amplified, and the family suspects Alzheimer’s. Now Lola can’t tell anyone what happened to Brittany.

The agency that provides home care for Lola promptly withdraws its services. Michelle is stuck in her home town longer than planned as she cares for a mother with whom she has never been close and tries to prove her innocence. The police officers who investigate the crime are old antagonists from grade school.

A secret thought to be long buried—that Michelle bore a son out of wedlock and gave him up for adoption—surfaces when a surprise daughter-in-law and granddaughter show up, distracting Michelle from her quest to solve the murder. And then she stumbles upon a motive which makes Lola look even more guilty.

“Going Home” was inspired by the author’s mother’s battle with Alzheimer’s and explores the challenge of solving a murder mystery when a potential witness cannot rely on her memory. Written from the prospective of a baby boomer forced to reverse roles with her parents, it crosses into the mainstream genre of women’s fiction and touches increasingly common issues such as elder abuse and end-of-life decisions.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Very Good By Don S and TeamGolfwell on December 4, 2017

I really liked “Going Home” by Sharon Marchisello, and found it to be an excellent and exciting mystery. I am familiar with the devastating effects of Alzheimer’s Disease and the author wrote an excellent mystery with many interesting characters. Ms. Marchisello has a lot of talent as a writer and I enjoyed it very much.

 

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Sharon-Marchisello/e/B00NH6N4WK/

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sharon-Marchisello/e/B00NH6N4WK/

Read other reviews and follow Sharon on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4297807.Sharon_Marchisello

Connect to Sharon.

Blogspot : https://sharonmarchisello.blogspot.com/
Blog WordPress: https://smarchisello.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SLMarchisello
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Live-Cheaply-Be-Happy-Grow-Wealthy-494073360780648/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SLMarchisello

A thank you to Sharon for this post that is a reminder to  us all that when landing in any strange country if something looks too good to be true.. it probably is. Let us know if you have experienced something similar… it helps all of us stay safe and holding on to our spending money.

Posts from Your Archives and the theme this time is all about travel.

The aim of this series is to showcase your blog and any creative work that you do from books, art, photography and crafts. You pick between one and four links to posts that you have written for your own blog since you began blogging up to October 2017 and you simply send the link to those blogs to sally.cronin@moyhill.com

You have to do nothing more as I will capture the post and images from your blog and I will then post with full copyright to you.. with your creative work and your links to buy and to connect. I might sometimes need a little more information but I am quite resourceful in finding out everything I need.

The deal is that you also help promote the post by sharing on your social media and responding to the comments.

Previous participants are more than welcome

The theme for the new series is travel.

  • Places and countries you have visited,
  • Different cultures,
  • Exotic food you have discovered when travelling,
  • Modes of transport – cars, bikes, horses, RVs
  • Camping Trips,
  • Road trips,
  • On the road for work,
  • Train Journeys,
  • Travel themed music,
  • Planes and airports,
  • Ships and other marine vessels,
  • Humorous adventures etc.

 

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Open House Interview with Author Sharon Marchisello.


Welcome to the Sunday Interview and this week I am delighted to introduce you to Sharon Marchisello who talks about her genre, her publishing adventures, most useful invention and activities she feels we should experience.

Tell us about your chosen genre of books that you write and why?

My chosen genre is mystery. I started out writing “mainstream” fiction, but when I was in graduate school at the University of Southern California, one of my professors suggested I pick a genre, as it would be easier to get published that way. He loved mysteries, but I wasn’t a fan, so I tried to write romance. I found I couldn’t make my stories fit the formula, though.

For my third novel, I got an idea for a mystery, and I had so much fun writing it. It’s like putting together a puzzle. I set up a crime and then created a cast of suspects, all with motive and opportunity. I wasn’t even sure who did it until I’d been writing for a while. Unfortunately, although I found an agent who shopped it around for a while, that book never got published.

Writing mystery teaches you a lot about using suspense, which is needed in any story to keep the reader turning the pages.

My fourth novel, Going Home, the first one to get a publisher, is also a mystery. It was inspired by my mother’s battle with Alzheimer’s disease, which prompted me to wonder what it would be like to interview a witness or a suspect who could not rely on her memory.

What adventures have you had publishing your work?

Publishing my first novel was a long process. I began writing Going Home in 2003; it was 2013 before I finally got a contract, and 2014 by the time the book was released. It went through seven drafts. I pitched to both agents and small publishers that would look at unagented material. I paid $50 for a critique from an agent at a conference and he spent half of our 15-minute session on his cell phone making lunch plans. All he had to say to me was, “I didn’t like your heroine as much as I wanted to, but keep writing.”

The first draft was a cumbersome 100,000 words filled with backstory, flashbacks, interior dialogue, and the protagonist’s opinions about everything. I was lucky to find an excellent beta reader from my Sisters in Crime chapter. Her advice was to cut, cut, cut all the superfluous prose that didn’t advance the plot; what I had was a mystery, so focus on that.

Several drafts later, I had a lean, mean, 75,000-word mystery, but it was still getting rejected. One agent said she loved it, read the whole thing on an airplane. “But,” she said. “It’s not a mystery. It’s more about the relationship between mother and daughter. This needs to be a mainstream novel. Give it more layers, and take it up to about 100,000 words.” She said she’d look at it after I did the rewrite, but suggested I seek other opinions.

My manuscript never made it back to 100,000 words, but I managed to flesh it out to around 89,000. Since I hadn’t really done what she’d asked, I didn’t resubmit to that agent.
I had a small press ask for the full manuscript, and then I didn’t hear from them for six months. When I finally got in touch (at a new email address I’d happened to find online), the editor admitted she’d lost my manuscript before getting a chance to read it. (She still had the SASE.) She’d been afraid to ask me to re-send it, because she kept thinking it would turn up. She let me resubmit electronically, but then she ignored me again. After a few months, I followed up, and she said she’d decided to pass; she wasn’t interested in publishing fiction anymore. I had wasted almost a year with her, for nothing.

When I finally got a contract from Sunbury Press, I was afraid to tell many people, for fear of jinxing things. What if they went out of business or cut their list before they got around to publishing my manuscript? What if they changed their mind? As a result, I made a lot of mistakes regarding marketing: I didn’t build a website or start a blog, didn’t get on social media and create hype, didn’t try to get advance reviews and blurbs. In my contract, I was entitled to some free copies. But I didn’t realize they wouldn’t be sent to me automatically; I had to go to the publisher’s website and order them. So the book had been out more than a month before I had my launch party.

I’ve been in writers groups and networking for years, so I should have known better, but I’m the type who can only learn by making the mistakes myself!

In your lifetime what event or invention has most impacted your own life or work?

I’d have to say the word processor/computer. When I first started writing, I wrote in pencil, long hand, on lined notebook paper. By the time I completed a manuscript, I had so many scratch-throughs and arrows and insertions, I could barely read what I wrote. When I finished, I’d type it up on an IBM Selectric typewriter. That would be the first time it would be possible to show my work to anyone else and get feedback. But once it was typed, I was resistant to making changes, especially those that required major retyping. With Microsoft Word, I can pull up the document and add/delete/move text around and then reprint easily. Makes it much easier to do rewrites, and rewriting is probably the most important part of writing, if you want to produce a book that is fit to publish.

What are the top five experiences or activities that you feel that everyone should complete in their lifetime?

  • Travel – I’ve always been curious about new places and love learning about other cultures. Travel opens your eyes to different worldviews, different ways of doing things. And yet, in some ways, we’re all very similar. My husband and I have visited over 100 countries on six continents. When I finished graduate school, I got a job with an airline, and in my 27-year career, I took full advantage of the travel perks.
  • Reading – I can’t imagine not being able to read. It’s essential to learning, and discovering new worlds. It can take you away from reality for a few hours, into a new world different from the one you’re living in.
  • Having a pet – Nothing beats the unconditional love of a furry creature who can comfort you when you’re down and forgive you when you screw up.
  • Learning another language – Not only does it help you understand another culture, it helps you understand the structure of your own language better. I learned a lot more about verb tenses in English after I studied French and Spanish.
  • Creative Writing – I realize this is not for everyone, but for me, writing is essential to my sanity. I made up stories before I learned to write my name. Writing allows me to create a world where I am in control. Bad things happen to bad people. And the heroine, so much lovelier and more talented than me, can succeed where I fail, always saying the right thing and acting nobly.

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

My work in progress, Secrets of the Galapagos, is a psychological suspense novel with multiple twists and turns. The setting was inspired by a Galapagos cruise I took in 2014.

I also write a blog about personal finance,Countdown to Financial Fitness, and will continue that.

I plan to attend several writers conferences this year. I already registered for Bouchercon, and I may attend Killer Nashville, too.

My Sisters in Crime chapter will participate in the Decatur Book Festival again this year, and I’m on the organizing committee.

About Sharon Marchisello

Sharon Marchisello is the author of “The Ghost on Timber Way,” part of a short story anthology entitled Mystery, Atlanta Style, featuring fellow Sisters in Crime members. She has published a personal finance e-book entitled Live Cheaply, Be Happy, Grow Wealthy, as well as numerous travel articles, book reviews, and corporate training manuals.

Sharon grew up in Tyler, Texas, and earned her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Houston in French and English. She studied for a year in Tours, France, on a Rotary scholarship and then moved to Los Angeles to pursue her Masters in Professional Writing at the University of Southern California. Now she lives in Peachtree City, Georgia, with her husband and cat.

Retired from a 27-year career with Delta Air Lines, she does volunteer work for the Fayette Humane Society. Going Home is her first published novel. The murder mystery was inspired by her mother’s battle with Alzheimer’s, which prompted her to wonder what it would be like to interview a witness or a suspect who could not rely on her memory.

About Going Home

Michelle DePalma expected to jet into Two Wells, Texas, check on her elderly mother, and hurry back to her orderly life in Atlanta, where she has a happy marriage and satisfying career. Instead, she finds her mother, Lola Hanson, hovered over the bludgeoned body of her caregiver, Brittany Landers.

Since the events of 9/11, one month earlier, Lola’s memory loss has amplified, and the family suspects Alzheimer’s. Now Lola can’t tell anyone what happened to Brittany.

The agency that provides home care for Lola promptly withdraws its services. Michelle is stuck in her home town longer than planned as she cares for a mother with whom she has never been close and tries to prove her innocence. The police officers who investigate the crime are old antagonists from grade school.

A secret thought to be long buried—that Michelle bore a son out of wedlock and gave him up for adoption—surfaces when a surprise daughter-in-law and granddaughter show up, distracting Michelle from her quest to solve the murder. And then she stumbles upon a motive which makes Lola look even more guilty.

“Going Home” was inspired by the author’s mother’s battle with Alzheimer’s and explores the challenge of solving a murder mystery when a potential witness cannot rely on her memory. Written from the prospective of a baby boomer forced to reverse roles with her parents, it crosses into the mainstream genre of women’s fiction and touches increasingly common issues such as elder abuse and end-of-life decisions.

Two of the reviews for Going Home.

Going Home is a wonderful example – a fascinating story of family connections By GG Byron on August 18, 2017

I am particularly fond of first-person female narrators. Going Home is a wonderful example – a fascinating story of family connections, both strained and strong, that are reawakened when Michelle, the first-person narrator, returns to her small hometown to visit her forgetful aging mother.As she enters the house she finds a young woman lying in a pool of blood, her mother unaware of what had obviously happened very recently. When first responders arrive, her mother, clearly suffering from dementia, becomes the primary suspect.Soon, another woman and her daughter arrive, seemingly related to Michelle.

The story intensifies as relationships come to light that Michelle had long since done her best to forget.

Without providing any spoilers, let’s just say that Michelle’s relationships with former schoolmates are revealed and intertwined against the backdrop of an increasingly confused woman, suspected of murdering her hired care-giver.I appreciate mysteries that incorporate social issues. “Going Home” is a great read!

Very Good By Don S and TeamGolfwell on December 4, 2017

I really liked “Going Home” by Sharon Marchisello, and found it to be an excellent and exciting mystery. I am familiar with the devastating effects of Alzheimer’s Disease and the author wrote an excellent mystery with many interesting characters. Ms. Marchisello has a lot of talent as a writer and I enjoyed it very much.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Sharon-Marchisello/e/B00NH6N4WK/

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sharon-Marchisello/e/B00NH6N4WK/

Read other reviews and follow Sharon on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4297807.Sharon_Marchisello

Connect to Sharon.

Blogspot : https://sharonmarchisello.blogspot.com/
Blog WordPress: https://smarchisello.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SLMarchisello
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Live-Cheaply-Be-Happy-Grow-Wealthy-494073360780648/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SLMarchisello

My thanks to Sharon for joining us today and she mentioned that one of her favourite music artists is Jackson Browne and I have selected The Road and the Sky from Late For the Sky his 1974 album.

 

You can buy Jackson Browne music here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jackson-Browne/e/B000APV90K

I know that Sharon would welcome your feedback and any questions.. thanks Sally