Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Tuesday 10th July 2018 – Sharon Marchisello, Robbie Cheadle and Billy Ray Chitwood


Welcome to the daily post where I share some of the blogs I have visited. Apart from featuring articles that I found interesting, I am also sharing book review posts to entice you to buy more books…..

The first post today is from finance expert Sharon Marchisello who shares her expertise on making the most of your money when traveling especially in relation to booking transport tickets in advance.

The Link Between Fitness and Frugality

Being healthy and physically fit is a blessing. Not everyone has the capability or stamina to walk significant distances. But, as we realized on our recent vacation, taking the “shoe-leather express” whenever possible can save a lot of money.

We just returned from a 16-day cruise along the coast of Norway, stopping in many small to medium-sized towns with compact historical districts. The ship usually docked within a mile or two of the city center if not within easy walking distance of the major attractions. Yet in two of our ports, the ship’s tour desk sold tickets for a shuttle service at $8.50 per person, each way. Tickets had to be purchased in advance from the cruise line; we were warned we couldn’t decide on the spot to buy them from the bus driver once on shore. So, most passengers signed up to buy the transfers before we arrived.

After looking at maps and listening to talks from the destination port lecturer, my husband and I figured we could find better ways to spend $34. So, we walked into town. In both places, there were sidewalks and crosswalks to accommodate the locals and the more adventurous visitors traveling on foot. The areas we traversed seemed relatively interesting and perfectly safe, making the treks reasonably pleasant.

And what were most people who bought the transfers planning to do once they got off the bus in the main square? Walk around and explore the city. Some fellow passengers ended up not using their return tickets because when they’d finished sightseeing, they were closer to the ship than to the pick-up point for their bus.

Head over and read the rest of this useful and interesting post: https://sharonmarchisello.blogspot.com/2018/07/the-link-between-fitness-and-frugality.html?

Sharon is an author in the Cafe and Bookstore

Sharon Marchisello, Buy: https://www.amazon.com/Sharon-Marchisello/e/B00NH6N4WK/
Blog : https://smarchisello.wordpress.com/

Now time to celebrate an award.. Robbie Cheadle was nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award by Robert Goldstein...

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The very talented Rob Goldstein nominated me for this award. You can read his entertaining post here: https://robertmgoldstein.com/2018/06/26/the-sunshine-blogger-award-2/.. While you are visiting be sure to enjoy some of Rob’s wonderful artwork.

I liked Rob’s questions. Here they are with my answers:

Why do you blog?

I blog because I really enjoy the interaction with other, similar minded people. I have met so many wonderful writers, poets, artists, quilters and other artistic people through my blog. I enjoy the array of viewpoints, thoughts and creative outpourings that I read every day as well as all the lovely book reviews which have raised my TBR to house roof height.

What most frustrates you about blogging?

I don’t find blogging frustrating. If I did I probably wouldn’t do it. I sometimes feel annoyed by my own lack of technical expertise when I can’t get something right on my blog.

What do you enjoy most about blogging? I enjoy the lovely bloggers I meet and their interesting posts and ideas.

Head over and discover what else Robbie has to say for herself: https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/2018/07/07/the-sunshine-blogger-award-2/

Robbie and Michael, her son are in the Cafe and Bookstore

Robbie and Michael Cheadle, Buy: https://www.amazon.com/Robbie-Cheadle/e/B01N9J62GQ
Blog: https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/

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Now for a special treat from Billy Ray Chitwood… an excerpt from his latest book ‘Hammer’s Holy Grail’ due out later in July.

Hammer’s Holy Grail” is a relatively short read of 36,000-+ words. It will be published without launch, without fanfare (except for this blog post!) later this month! The book is about a kid who has an emotional family situation – angry father, his critical Appalachian uncertainty, gifted with football talent and a beautiful girlfriend he’s known since junior high.

Wesley Walton is a sophomore at Garden View University in Knoxville, Tennessee, has a great passing arm and faces a great future. The pro-football scouts are already looking at the kid with a golden arm.

Wesley meets a man named ‘Hammer’ who is both a decorated veteran and a person of great wisdom and with a unique hobby. Wes and Hammer become immediate friends.

The short tale follows Wesley’s football season as well as his parental love and woes. The book is not a ‘thriller’ or destined to be a classic by any means, but the pages do carry some interesting moments, and I believe it to be well-written… In any event, it will be an inexpensive read and one I hope the book buyer will like, PLUS, I’m giving you the first chapter free of charge in this post. Feel free in letting me know what you think.

So, no launch, no parades and graffiti, just my usual ‘do nothing’ marketing campaign with a hope some of you will buy the book, give me some ‘reviews’, and ‘PUSH’ it forward.

Here’s the first chapter (working on the cover):

HAMMER’S HOLY GRAIL

Chapter One

The darkness and fog are palpable viscid sweat things crawling all over my flesh! A gentle wind stir comes and my skin does shiver dances. I swallow and it’s like I’m somewhere between passing out and regaining my breath.

My eyes cannot be trusted. I rub my eyes and they project things that are not really there. My mind questions the logic that brought me to that decision. My concentration is drawn to these vague flashing images that keep popping up in spaces to the front, sides, and back of me… I figure it’s the mind doing its reckoning! I’m likely trying too hard to see and my brain is trying to accommodate me.

Okay, I admit it. I’m a big boy, scared. I mean, there is no way this world can be this dark and foggy.

“Why?” Someone might ask, “are you so stupid to be standing where you’re standing?”
 

Head over and read the rest of the excerpt of Billy Ray’s latest book: https://brchitwood.com/2018/07/08/hammers-holy-grail/

Billy Ray is an author in the Cafe and Bookstore.

Website: https://brchitwood.com

Visit Amazon or Billy Ray’s blog to view all his books.

I hope you have enjoyed this small selection of blog posts and will explore them further  thanks Sally

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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.

 

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Spring Showcase – Paulette Mahurin, M. J. Mallon, Sharon Marchisello, Judy Martin, Don Massenzio, Melissa Maygrove, V.L. McBeath, Marcia Meara, Shehanne Moore and Adrienne Morris


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

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

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

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

Here is the next ten featured authors from the Cafe and Bookstore with their recent reviews.

Paulette Mahurin, Buy: http://www.amazon.com/Paulette-Mahurin/e/B008MMDUGO/
Blogsite: https://thepersecutionofmildreddunlap.wordpress.com/

Profits from her books go to help rescue dogs from kill shelters.

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One of the recent reviews for The Day I Saw The Hummingbird

Although I usually don’t like to read books that have a lot of violence and hardship in them, I had a feeling that this book would have a strong core, and wanted to give it a try. It does have a positive core, despite the tragic events. It was a moving story, although definitely very hard to read at times. However, sometimes violence serves its purpose, as it did in this case. This is a story of human strength and power of soul, which is hauntingly real. I suppose the only reason I don’t give it the full five stars is because it was so hard to read at times that it made me want to skip pages, but that is my problem, as I am quite sensitive.

M.J.Mallon, Buy: https://www.amazon.co.uk/M-J-Mallon/e/B074CGNK4L/
Website: https://mjmallon.com/

A recent review for The Curse of Time

Ritu 4.0 out of 5 stars A mystical debut Young Adult fiction book from M.J. Mallon 26 March 2018

It took me a short while to get into the swing of the story, but once I was there, I really enjoyed the tale.

Drawn into the life of the main character, Amelina, you are quickly whisked off into a world filled with supernatural happenings, people in mirrors and crystals. Lots of crystals!
There is an element of change evident in Amelina as the book progresses, showing her development as a person who is capable of having a huge effect on those around her, as she learns of the powers she has had bestowed upon her.

I didn’t like Ryder… not that you are really meant to. Ryder is someone who she meets, and who influences her negatively. The fact that I didn’t like him shows that his character was written well within the story.

Over all, a book brimming with supernatural happenings, a mysterious cottage and a family problem that needs solving.

Sharon Marchisello, Buy: https://www.amazon.com/Sharon-Marchisello/e/B00NH6N4WK/
Blog : https://smarchisello.wordpress.com/

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.

Judy Martin, Buy: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Judy-E-Martin/e/B01CPOB0M0
Blog: http://www.edwinasepisodes.com

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One of the recent reviews for the collection

A most amusing read on October 14, 2017

I love Judy E Martin’s poetry. It is so enjoyable and humorous. Judy has a delightful way of turning everyday situations into a real laugh. Her book of poetry is divided into ten chapters, as follows: Family, Festive, Seasons, Women, Ages, Music, Food, Creativity, Miscellaneous and Sex. This book fairly pulses with vitality and enthusiasm for life and I really look forward to reading a few of her uplifting verses at the end of a hard working day.

One of my absolute favourite poems is Ode to Cadbury’s and my favourite verse is as follows:

“They have moved across the water
To give their sales a Boost
But the chocolate’s taste is different
And the bar size is reduced.”

What absolute fun!

Don Massenzio, Buy: https://www.amazon.com/Don-Massenzio/e/B00JJVN0UI
Blog: https://donmassenzio.wordpress.com

Please visit Don’s Amazon page or his blog to view all his books.

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A recent review for Frank Incensed

The stakes are high as Private Detective Frank Rozzani races against time to save the love of his life. Will Frank rescue her from the terrible man in the trench coat or will this man end the life of yet another person that Frank is close to? Find out who survives in the new Frank Rozzani Detective Mystery (from Amazon)
Frank Incensed is book three in the Frank Rozzani Detective Series by Don Massenzo. It is a perfect continuation of the story. What made it special for me there were new facts about Frank’s personality that came to light. I can’t go into too much detail here but take my word this story will have you on the edge of your seat as Frank tries to work his way through a sinister situation in an attempt save the life of the one he loves.

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes detective stories that have exciting plots and well-developed characters.

Melissa Maygrove, Buy: https://www.amazon.com/Melissa-Maygrove/e/B00JL4UPCY
Website: http://www.melissamaygrove.com/

A recent review for Come Back

I didn’t know what to expect, but by the end of it, it had taken me on a full adventure. There was a perfect amount of everything: Description. Dialogue. Memory stories. Adventure. Romance(both hot and both emotional). Drama. Sadness. Shock. I really liked it.

I kept looking at the percentage expecting to be further into the book, but the author gave us a full story where you were excited to see where she takes you.  

V.L. McBeath, Buy: https://www.amazon.com/VL-McBeath/e/B01N2TJWEX/
Website: http://valmcbeath.com

 A recent review for Only One Winner

Part 4 of the Wetherby-Jackson saga, which spans several generations. William-Wetherby, William’s eldest son, was very close to his parents and worked well with William when William was a partner in Mr Wetherby’s business. Now that William has finally moved on to having his own business, he relied on William-Wetherby to provide the stable income, while he builds his business up, and it would have worked very well if it were not for Lydia, the fragile young beauty who reminds William so much of his dead Harriet that he falls in love with her. Lydia the fun, mischievous girl who is only a few years older than William-Wetherby and has so much in common with the young man that he is also smitten by her. But when William marries Lydia, the relationship between father and son could not take it any more.

The whole series was a well written, well researched piece of work and I have thoroughly enjoyed reading it. The characters are well developed and the storyline is gripping and absorbing. It has been very difficult to step back into 2018 once the book is closed, I could not help but feel so connected and so much part of the story that McBeath has written. Totally 5 stars!

Marcia Meara, Buy: https://www.amazon.com/Marcia-Meara/e/B00EUCXRU4
Bookin’ it blog: https://marciameara.wordpress.com/

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

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A recent review for  The Emissary

This is a well-written, entertaining novella. The author gives one of the characters from her Riverbend series his own story. And it’s a fun one. Gabe is an ordinary fellow who gets caught up in a plan to recruit some newly-deceased humans to help the overwhelmed angels. There’s some amusing dialogue between “boss” angel, Azrael, and sarcastic-yet-nice-guy, Gabe. The story takes readers along for the ride (literally) with this truck-driving angel-helper. No heavy-handed religion here. Just a sweet (slightly angelic) tale. The author tackles some difficult topics but doesn’t delve too deeply into them. Recommended for fans of Marcia Meara’s Riverbend series or anyone wanting a light, enjoyable read.

WordPress: https://shehannemoore.wordpress.com/

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A recent review for The Writer and The Rake

Oct 15, 2017 Fiona Chapman rated it Five Stars

I love a bit of time travel romance, so I was looking forward to falling into this story and discovering how the two main characters would stumble across each other – or, in the heroine’s case, appear in the 18th century in the blink of an eye.

Brittany is your classic heroine; she portrays a strong, don’t-mess-with-me, nothing-can-hurt-me-exterior, but as the story moves on you begin to notice cracks in her resolve.

It took me a while to warm to Mitchell, however, as he came across as conceited and totally void of emotion and empathy. Except this is where Ms Moore has written her colourful, full-bodied characters so well. They are perfectly flawed, because no-one is ever as they seem on the surface.

The overall story arc is beautifully chaotic, comical and a touching read. It left me with that wistful sigh of the happy-ever-after, and tailed-off thoughts of… what happens next?

Adrienne Morris, Buy: https://www.amazon.com/Adrienne-Morris/e/B00CDO9CU
Website/Blog: https://middlemaybooks.com/

A review for The House on Tenafly Road

Compelling! on March 18, 2018

The storyline was incredibly interesting, happy, sad and complex. It was well written and the history was so entertaining. I loved this book.

Thank you for dropping in today and it would be great if you could share the authors and their books on social media. Thanks Sally

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