Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – D. G. Kaye Explores the Realms of Relationships – February 2021 – Online Dating – Staying Safe

Welcome back to my Realms of Relationships Column at the Smorgasbord. In last month’s edition I talked about Online Communications regarding scam emails and how to beware of them. In this issue, I’m going to talk more about Online Romantic Relationships and what to look for when vetting potential mates.

Back in the day, meeting potential love interests entailed going out and meeting people and mingling. Now this could happen anywhere, but in my heydays, going dancing at clubs two-three times a week afforded me the chance to meet many potential dates, despite my policy ‘never to go out with anyone I met in a bar or club’, and I stuck to that. But I sure had my share of romantic relationships – often with the wrong types as I lived and learned, and many of those relationships began with people I met at the workplace.

In those ancient times, like modern times, we dated and rated our suitors through the time we spent in those relationships. Sure, socially active people out in public still do meet their significant others, but with the advent of technology, many more are going to dating sites in search of someone to fill their emptiness, looking for love. And meeting a potential suitor on the internet comes with its own set of rules – because we are getting to know someone online – sight unseen, going on the information we receive from them. But what if they’re lying about who they are? How do we vet these unknown strangers we may become attracted to, to help verify if they are who they say they are?

Let’s dig in!

We’ve come a long way from the days of getting all dressed and looking our best to go out on the town, hoping to make a connection when looking for love. Sure, it still happens, but not as much as internet dating sites and social media apps are common ground now for those searching for a mate.

As a person who studies people for a hobby, I’ve learned to adjust my sails when trying to figure out the validity of online people. I can say with authority, that there are a lot of lurkers on social media who try to hit on women. I have no doubts, that there are just as many women who prey on men too. I’m speaking as a woman who gets stalked occasionally – especially on Facebook, as do quite a few of my colleagues.

I’m going to attribute my vetting experience to being an avid watcher of police procedurals for many years – part of my fascination with studying people, curious to learn what spurs their criminal tendencies.

First up: What to beware of:

Fast Eddies – This is my name for suitors that haven’t spent enough chat time getting to know each other and who go gung-ho for setting up a live meet. Just no! There’s a lot more vetting to do before you should get to that part.

No photo – Anyone who won’t post a photo, in my books, doesn’t have good intentions, or has something to hide. And if they do post a photo, make sure you use an app like Tineye. This app allows you to plug in any photo, whether downloaded or using copy and paste, and checks the origins of the image.

Keep a list Write down facts of discovery through conversations with a potential suitor. When you write things down as you learn them, you have something to go back on when putting together the profile for that person. Make a list of their hobbies, their perspective on issues that are important to you as you discuss. Ask pertinent questions and be subtle when doing so. – For example, asking someone what their religion is might be too forward, but rewording your questions before blurting them out will get you a lot further. Instead, you might ask if the person enjoys celebrating religious holidays with family. This type of question will get you a much better answer than just a yes or no, and leave an open door to elaborate on. Let’s say the suitor responds with, “We only go to church at Christmas or Easter.” That statement allows for you to respond and ask many more questions such as: Who is we? So you’re Catholic? So you aren’t very religious? Be crafty with your questions. And write down responses.

If a potential suitor is gabbing online with you midday and told you he works five days a week, subtly slide in the question – ‘Aren’t you working today?’ It’s totally possible he was thinking about you and wanted to say hello during a break, but asking the question will give you a clearer indication, based on time chatting and what comes out of the conversation helping to determine better, the sincerity of his words.

Beware of being sucked in! It’s astounding to me the amount of people who get swooped into financial scams by fake suitors. If you learn nothing from my post here, learn this – NEVER send money to anyone courting you online. NEVER. There are plenty of scammers and desperate people among those with good intentions, and it’s our job to filter them out to remain safe.

NEVER go it alone when meeting a potential suitor for the first time in person.

Set up a first-time meet in a public place. Make sure to tell a friend or relative where you are going so somebody in your circle knows where you are.

Take your own means of transportation. Do not accept an offer from the suitor to pick you up. There are two potential dangers – getting trapped in their vehicle, and allowing them to know where you live.

If you feel enough time and information has passed between you both and perhaps you’re both ready to meet, again, make sure you set up a meet in a public place, you take your own transportation, and you’ve informed a friend of your whereabouts.

If by chance you’re ready to visit the suitor who lives in another city or country, book yourself a hotel/motel room before you go. It’s important to have a place of shelter if things go wrong. You could book it for a week or two and once you feel comfortable in person, can always cancel the rest of the booking.

What can you do to protect yourself as an online member of a dating site:

Create a new and separate email address and user-name to use for any dating site profiles, that way if things go sour with someone, and you wish to eliminate your original profile and any breadcrumbs of data that attached to your user name profile, you can rejoin with a new email address and user name with no ties to your real everyday email address or any other previously used. This way, if you had a bad experience with another member, they won’t be able to hound you.

Photos – always download a photo from your own direct source – meaning, not a photo taken from your social media that can be tracked back to original source (again, you aren’t the only one aware of apps like ‘tineye’ and others can use it to add your photo and learn more about you on social media before you’re ready for that). And be real. Use a real and ‘somewhat’ current image of yourself – not one of someone else, no other images in place of, or a photo that is decades old. If you are serious about wanting to meet someone, then you’ll eventually want to meet that person live, and ultimately, the gig will be up if you fib.

Checklist of Reminders

• Keep a list of facts, making sure they add up! –
• Financial requests? – Run fast!
• Use your instincts, don’t be gullible.

Make your rules clear. Be upfront about your rules, never agree to meet anyone in person until enough time has passed in the online chat or phone chats, before graduating to any next steps, until a trust can be felt. No throwing caution to the wind.

Learn How to Vet Online suitors

On social media, there’s a plethora of available information on each and every one of us who use the internet. You can do your own people searching by checking their various social media accounts for bios, and reading chat on those forums to get a feel for how they interact, and who they interact with, Googling them, and by checking out any available websites they are on. Remember to use the available tools on each social app to block or report anyone hassling you on any social sites. Also remember to use the settings on these apps to make your own posts available to friends only if you don’t want any lurkers.

This online dating coach, Amie knows the internet dating protocol well:

Last of all, I do want to add that after we’ve done our due diligence in vetting the potentials we chat with online, remember that just because we aren’t talking in person, our personality and character will shine through between the lines and through our words. Have you ever read a comment on social media and can just feel the smile come through? It can! So pay attention to your words and how you evoke them when trying to make a good impression. Below, find a few paragraphs from the chapter, Online Dating, from my book, Words We Carry:

“By talking, we express who we are and what we care about, what interests us. This is all part of personality and character. Maybe our passion is for our children, our hobbies, or a cause we believe in. All these things show heart and compassion. By keeping true to our authentic selves and sharing our enthusiasm with others, although our passions may not appeal to everyone, we will eventually connect with someone who appreciates our attributes.

By sharing our thoughts, we emit character. Not all of this will happen overnight, but if we take this advice in stride and adapt it to our lives, we will attract like-minded people. This applies to dating profiles, blogs, and casual conversations.

Did you know you can actually feel someone smiling through his or her words? It’s true. Smiles aren’t only visual. You can sense them when you’re reading a book or article, the same way you can sense them in a chat box or a personal bio. When somebody reads your bio, he or she receives an evaluation of who you are.

Words are powerful, so use them wisely and to their best potential. Everything you say and write on the internet follows you.”

Now, let’s discuss. Have any of you met your significant other online? Do you use dating apps? Would you like to share a story of an experience you had?


My thanks to Debby for this detailed guide to online dating… in pays to be vigilant

Debby Gies is a Canadian nonfiction/memoir author who writes under the pen name of D.G. Kaye. She was born, raised, and resides in Toronto, Canada. Kaye writes about her life experiences, matters of the heart and women’s issues.

D.G. writes to inspire others. Her writing encompasses stories taken from events she encountered in her own life, and she shares the lessons taken from them. Her sunny outlook on life developed from learning to overcome challenges in her life, and finding the upside from those situations, while practicing gratitude for all the positives.

When Kaye isn’t writing intimate memoirs, she brings her natural sense of humor into her other works. She loves to laugh and self- medicate with a daily dose of humor.
I love to tell stories that have lessons in them, and hope to empower others by sharing my own experiences. I write raw and honest about my own experiences, hoping through my writing, that others can relate and find that there is always a choice to move from a negative space, and look for the positive.

“Live Laugh Love . . . And Don’t Forget to Breathe!”

“For every kindness, there should be kindness in return. Wouldn’t that just make the world right?”

When I’m not writing, I’m reading or quite possibly looking after some mundane thing in life. It’s also possible I may be on a secret getaway trip, as that is my passion—traveling.

Books by D.G. Kaye

One of the recent reviews for Words We Carry

Luv2read 5.0 out of 5 stars A gem of a book  Reviewed in the United States on January 3, 2021

What starts with the author’s explanation of why she wrote the book: namely to share negative experiences and obstacles in which self-esteem issues and insecurities when faced and dealt with blossom to learning self-love; this is a remarkable revolutionary read. One I wish I would have read in my earlier teen years when I struggled with my own self-esteem issues. Self-perception baggage from wounded egos, what weighs us down, fester and damage the soul the author writes. So true.

This is so well written that it’s not just an enlightening educational tool but a wonderful read from a woman not afraid to show her underbelly, huge heart, and she does it with much authenticity and talent. I resonated with so much of what she wrote in these enlightening pages, but what stands out the most is how I slid down the rabbit’s hole due to my desire to want to belong, to socially fit. I suppose all of us who relate to this unfolding have a personal story of our own. Mine was rooted in a family dynamic that made it difficult for me to have friends to my home and consequently I missed out on social bonding that helps develop a strong sense of self. It wasn’t until later in life, in high school and university, that I encountered warm satisfying friendships. By then the damage was done.

I just wish I had this book in my earlier years to have helped my younger, more formative self. Thankfully, it’s never too late to unwind wounds and deepen self-love, which is another thing I found from this beautifully powerful read. In summation, let me say I am grateful I had this recommended to me by a friend, someone whose words I respect. This gem of a book did not disappoint. Highly recommend.

Read all the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – and: Amazon UK – follow Debby: Goodreads – : Blog: D.G. Kaye Writer – Twitter: @pokercubsterLinkedin: D.G. Kaye – Facebook: D.G. Kaye – Instagram: D.G. Kaye – Pinterest: D.G. Kaye


Thank you for joining us today and Debby would love to hear from you.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Weekly Round Up 1st – 7th November 2020 -Interviews, Streisand, War Poets, Short stories, Reviews, Books and funnies

Welcome to the round up of post that you might have missed this week on Smorgasbord..

Well this week has certainly been a rollercoaster ride. Televisions around the world have been overheating and the screens shouted at as the American Election took place and lockdowns and further restrictions were announced to try and harness the rampaging virus. So many lives in the balance for one reason or another and after months of this, it would be really amazing if next week starts to see a de-escalation of hostilities on all fronts.

All we can do is watch and stay safe.

It has been the usual week here on Smorgasbord, but I did get out and about earlier in the week for an interview which was great fun and did me the power of good. A link to that post further down the page.

I am also working on the Christmas promotions. I will be starting the Christmas Book Fair in a couple of weeks as I will be featuring all current authors in the Cafe and Bookstore and in the Children’s Cafe too and that will take several weeks.

William Price King will be sharing some wonderful international carols in two special posts in December. And I am planning on having a Christmas Tea Party for bloggers and authors closer to the holidays.

All the regular posts will be featured with plenty of music and funnies.

I hope that gives you something to look forward to and that you will join us when you can.

Time for the posts from the week and as always my thanks to William Price King and Debby Gies who are this week’s contributors, and to you for all your support.

This week I was delighted to be the guest of author Marcia Meara... I was sharing my thoughts on the gift of blogging and my gratitude for the contributors who bring such interesting and entertaining content to the blog, and those who have supported Smorgasbord for the last 7 years: Marcia Meara Writes Guest Post

Life and Music of Barbra Streisand Part Five – The new millennium..

Chapter Fourteen -Teeth Cleaning and Reflections on Life

Guest Interviews 2015 – #Proofreading and Volcanos with Wendy Janes

Bedroom, Window, Curtains, Dark

#Wartime #Romance – Curtains

Getting ready for Christmas 1985 – Houston, Texas

In Remembrance – The War Poets – Isaac Rosenberg

Past Book Reviews 2019 -Broken Heart Attack (Braxton Campus Mysteries Book 2) by James J. Cudney..

#Dystopian #Elderly – Acts of Convenience by Alex Craigie

Past Book Reviews – #Non-Fiction Words We Carry by D.G. Kaye

#PostApocalyptic – UK2 – Project Renova Book Three by Terry Tyler

#WWII – While the Bombs Fell by Robbie Cheadle and Elsie Hancy Eaton

Common Conditions A-Z – Working from Home – Backache

Feeling sluggish and fatigued? Dehydration or the wrong fluids!

#Aromatherapy – #Eucalyptus – Respiratory, Fevers and Pain

New Books – #Turtles Cynthia Reyes and Lauren Reyes-Grange, #Redhair Joyce Murphy

#Fantasy D.Wallace Peach, #Reviews #Fantasy Charles E. Yallowitz, #Poetry Bette A. Stevens

New #Release Judy Penz Sheluk, Diana J. Febry, #Reviews John Howell, Linda G. Hill

FairyStory Cathy Cade #Reviews #Poetry Geoff Le Pard, #Sci-Fi Richard Dee

November 3rd 2020 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin –Decluttering and the Demon Drink

November 5th 2020 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Evolution and Killer Food

Hosted by Sally Cronin – If nothing else makes you smile today!


Thanks for dropping in today and thank you for all your support during the week. Have a great weekend and may we all wake up on Monday morning with good news on all fronts.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Weekly Round Up – 22nd – 28th March 2020

How are you all doing? A tough week for every country as the virus takes its toll and family and friends around the world are being directly impacted.

We are officially on lock down here in Ireland from today until April 12th initially. No non-essential journeys unless to work, supermarket and medical appointments. All non-essential businesses such as hotels, cafes and restaurants, hair salons etc have been shut down for a couple of weeks now and I think that the current lock down has been timed over the Easter weekend to counteract any thoughts of heading off to the coast or other holiday destinations in the country. I went out early to stock up on fresh fruit and vegetables and everyone was being very respectful of safe distances and I was in and out in 20 minutes, including waiting for the shop to open.

The shelves were all stocked including toilet paper, and it was good to see the check out staff behind perspex, so important to keep them safe. As much as I admire the health care staff, who are amazing, it is the men and women who are turning up to work in our essential services every day and putting themselves at risk that also should be shown absolute courtesy and gratitude.

Here we have around 4,500 living in the area during the off season, but from Easter through to September this usually swells by many thousands more staying in mobile homes along the coast. Unfortunately many of the small businesses rely on this summer trade and will no longer be viable after this virus has passed. When you look at issues such as this on this level it is easy to see how our world on a global scale is going to be changed, possibly for many years.

I do think that on the upside, the majority of people are going to be a lot more self-aware with regard to health, personal space and the way they travel going forward. Perhaps for some it will mean a completely different perspective on priorities and what they can live without.

Anyway I do hope you are staying safe and staying indoors and have access to all the food you need and support. And with that in mind, I have created a new theme for Posts from Your Archives, focused on the family and friends who play such an important role in our lives. I hope you will read the post below and participate.

There is no doubt that during this current health crisis that is on a global scale, with many of us in long term lock down, it is our family and friends that we will be turning to for support. Even if, as in my case, my family are hundreds of miles away in the UK and we are only in touch by email and Skype. The online connection we have with family and friends around the world is very important, and I would personally be lost without it. Social media is also key at this time for helping to maintain connection during the isolation, particularly for those living on their own.

In this new series, I would love you to share your posts from the archives about your family and friends, and that can of course include the very important fur and feather family that provide so much comfort.

It might be historical posts about your family who I am sure in the past have had to show their own fortitude during hard times and conflict. It could be a tribute to parents or grandparents or children or grandchildren. How a pet has brought you joy and connection. Stories of your life over the years and your friendships that have supported and motivated you. In prose or poetry.

Find out more: New Series – Posts from Your Archives April 2020 – #Family and #Friends

Now on with the other posts from the week, and as always, my thanks to all the guests who have contributed and regular contributors who add so much to the blog.

Another two stories from the collection.

Walter – Lost and Alone

Xenia – Beloved

Letters from America A Texas Menace and Realtors.

Doglovers – My Name is Danny – #Doglovers – Tales from Danny the Dog assisted by Andrew Joyce.

Double Etheree – The Night Sky

Double Etheree – The Night Sky

Smorgasbord Health Column – Food Therapy – The pungent defenders Onions and Garlic

Shall We Dance from The King and I

Romance – Sunset Beach (Blue Haven Book 2) by Jacquie Biggar

Sir Chocolate and the icecream rainbow fairies square cover

Sir Chocolate and the Ice cream Rainbow Fairies story and cookbook by Robbie and Michael Cheadle

#Thriller Booms and Busts by Geoff Le Pard

Fantasy The Man Who Found Birds among the Stars, Part Seven: Fifth Island in the River: A Biographical Fiction by Lorinda J. Taylor

Mystery Eloise de Sousa, Afghanistan Patricia Furstenberg, Thriller Daniel Kemp

Memoir D.G. Kaye, Paranormal Roberta Eaton Cheadle, Romance Jeanine Lunsford

Mystery Stevie Turner, Fantasy Fiona Tarr, Memoir Pete Springer

short story Footprints by Jemima Pett


50 Tree Stories by Miriam Hurdle

Oven Sheet Pan Crepes with Strawberry Rhubarb Compote

Recipe – Oven Sheet Pan Crepes by The Frugal Hausfrau

#Marriage – After You Say “I Do” by Cheryl Oreglia

Book Review by Kevin Cooper – Fawn by Nash Summers

More funnies from D. G. Kaye and some new material from Sally

More funnies from D. G. Kaye and some new material from Sally

Smorgasbord Laughter Lines Extra…Keep Dancing

Thank you very much for dropping in during the week and leaving your comments, they are much enjoyed. I hope you will join me and my guests again next week and that you stay safe and well… hugs Sally

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Upate #Reviews – Sally Harris, Angie Dokos and Andrew Joyce.

Welcome to the second of the updates for the week where I share recent reviews for the authors on the shelves of the Cafe and Bookstore.

The first author is Sally Harris who continues to receive great reviews for her debut novel Haverscroft.

About the Book

Kate Keeling leaves all she knows and moves to Haverscroft House in an attempt to salvage her marriage. Little does she realise, Haverscroft’s dark secrets will drive her to question her sanity, her husband and fatally engulf her family unless she can stop the past repeating itself. Can Kate keep her children safe and escape Haverscroft in time, even if it will end her marriage?

Haverscroft is a gripping and chilling dark tale, a modern ghost story that will keep you turning its pages late into the night.

One of the recent reviews for the book

International Cowgirl  VINE VOICE 5.0 out of 5 starsA beautifully written page-turner

5 July 2019

Make sure you’re sitting comfortably before you pick up this chilling little ghost story from debut author S.A. Harris, because you won’t be moving again for a really long time! ‘Haverscroft’ is that rarest of things: a genuinely gripping page-turner that’s so beautifully written you’ll be simultaneously torn between poring over a particularly gorgeous paragraph and racing ever faster towards the story’s frantic end. Well-drawn characters and a fine eye for sensory detail make this a novel you’ll want to return to the moment you’ve finished it. Bound to become a classic of the genre, ‘Haverscroft’ would sit comfortably alongside Susan Hill’s ‘The Woman in Black‘ and Sarah Waters’ ‘The Little Stranger’. Highly, highly recommended.

Read the reviews and buy the book:

and on Amazon US:

Follow S.A. Harris on Goodreads:

Connect to Sally Harris via her website:

The next author with with a recent review is Angie Dokos for her first novel  MacKenzie’s Distraction.

About the book

Mackenzie’s Distraction is a New Adult Romance about a young lady with a rough past and a promising future. Just when he career is within reach, tragedy strikes. A terrible accident and a family secret turn Mackenzie’s world upside down. She’s sure her life can’t become any more complicated, then she meets Trevor. Will he be just what she needs or the distraction that pushes her over the edge?

This book is not erotica, but does have sexual content. It includes some curse words, but not many. It doesn’t have any major violence.

One of the recent reviews for the book.

The story starts with a phone call that Mackenzie receives about her mother’s tragic accident. Her mother struggles to survive. Mackenzie discovers some family secrets and learns things about herself.

Mackenzie had bad relationships in the past. That’s when the man of her dreams appears but she is not ready for him. She struggles in her search for love while feeling she is not good enough.

It is interesting to follow Mackenzie in her need to be loved and understood. Will she be able to let go of her past and move on to a brighter future? If you like New Adult Romance you will enjoy this book.

Read the reviews and buy the book:

And Amazon UK:

Also by Angie Dokos

Read the reviews and buy the books:

And Amazon UK:

Read more reviews and follow Angie Dokos on Goodreads:

Connect to Angie Dokos via her website:

And finally today the latest release from Andrew Joyce – Mahoney which is gathering great review… already on my TBR….

About Mahoney

In this compelling, richly researched novel, author Andrew Joyce tells a story of determination and grit as the Mahoney clan fights to gain a foothold in America. From the first page to the last, fans of Edward Rutherford and W. Michael Gear will enjoy this riveting, historically accurate tale of adventure, endurance, and hope.

In the second year of An Gorta Mhór—the Great Famine—nineteen-year-old Devin Mahoney lies on the dirt floor of his small, dark cabin. He has not eaten in five days. His only hope of survival is to get to America, the land of milk and honey. After surviving disease and storms at sea that decimate crew and passengers alike, Devin’s ship limps into New York Harbor three days before Christmas, 1849. Thus starts an epic journey that will take him and his descendants through one hundred and fourteen years of American history, including the Civil War, the Wild West, and the Great Depression.

One of the recent reviews for the book

I am a big fan of Andrew Joyce’s books, and I think this may be the best one yet. Perhaps it’s because the book is so entertaining, perhaps it’s because I’m part Irish through the migration during an Gorta Mór (the Irish potato famine or great hunger), or perhaps because I am a sucker for history and family sagas – but probably all three.

Mahoney is the story of the family by that name and was written as a trilogy tied together by common ancestry. The reader is first introduced to Devin, who is the last of the Mahoneys, famine and sickness having taken everyone else in his family. He lies on the dirt floor of the single room in his small, dark home in Ireland, waiting to die. When given the opportunity to take a ship to America, which looms large in his mind as a place where he can grow rich, he takes it.

The author has done some incredible research for his book, as he has for all the previous ones. Devin’s voyage to Quebec in the crowded and disease-ridden hold of a ship is richly drawn in its sordid and dangerous details. The story of how Devin makes his way and his living in cities prejudiced against the Irish is intense and his letters as a soldier in the Civil War are heart-breaking.

The next Mahoney we meet is Dillon, son of Devin. His life is a tapestry of adventures, from working on the transcontinental railroad, to becoming a cowboy on a vast cattle ranch, to earning a reputation as a gunslinger in the Wild West, to earning a fortune as an oil wildcatter in California.

Finally there is David, the dissipated and spoiled son of Devin. The disappointment I initially felt with this character is gradually lifted with his foray into the South during the time of the Depression and the Klu Kux Klan.

All in all, an adventurous ride I could not put down. The writer’s strengths are in his ability to paint the history in succinct brush strokes, in the development of his characters, and most of all, in the dialogue. The story of Devin is perhaps the strongest of the three, as this characters has the most to overcome and does it mainly on his own. I wanted to stay with his story, but events of the time interfered. Dillon and David have somewhat miraculous help at critical times (who’s not to say they wouldn’t?) to move their story forward.

Nevertheless, Andrew Joyce gives us a rich and colorful picture of America, with all its faults, from the Irish migration to the Deep South of the 1930s, covering a lot of history with an engrossing story.

I highly recommend Mahoney if you want a great read.

Read the reviews and buy the book :

And on Amazon UK:

Also by Andrew Joyce

Read the reviews and buy all the books:

And Amazon UK:

Find more reviews and follow Andrew on Goodreads:

Connect to Andrew via his blog:

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you are leaving with some books under your arm… Sally.

Tales from the Irish Garden – Serialisation – Summer: Chapter Twelve – The Storyteller to the Rescue by Sally Cronin

Last week we met the foxes who had been changed from their human form by the evil goblin, the female was the Storyteller’s daughter:

Summer: Chapter Twelve – The Storyteller to the Rescue

As the morning light filtered through the branches above her head, Dorothy watched her three cubs as they wrestled and tumbled around her. Eddie was still not home but she knew that he would fight to the end to return to her and their family. Human tears fell from her blue eyes as she contemplated a future for them without his love and support.

Meanwhile, across the forest and only a few feet from the fence that separated the woods from the magic garden, Eddie lay panting in the damp grass. He had been returning from the village, where he had managed to scavenge half a cooked chicken, and some slightly rancid ham from waste bins behind the Inn, when he had suddenly felt a stabbing pain in one of his back legs. As he collapsed into a heap, dropping his precious food, he felt a sense of doom about the future of his small family.

He was losing strength as he had struggled to release his foot from the snare cutting into his flesh. It was hopeless, as the more he fought against the wire, the tighter it became.
Suddenly he heard whistling nearby and snarled, ready to bite the hand of the hunter who had laid this cruel trap. He looked up and saw a pair of leggings above sturdy boots, and a gnarled hand reaching down towards him. He snarled in warning as the flesh neared his nose, but then heard a voice that he knew.

‘There, there lad, don’t fret now, let’s get you out of that wicked thing my boy.’ Eddie lay back down, worn out from the night’s struggles, and also shocked by hearing the Storyteller’s voice after four long years. He had no way to communicate who he was to Dorothy’s father, but he tried to think of a way to get through to him.

Gently the old man held the fox’s leg in his hand whilst he worked the wire until it loosened. He could see that there was damage to the foot that needed to be treated with some of his magic potions, and having released the animal, he picked him up in his arms and carried him to the cottage.

Within minutes of the wound being washed and coated with the wild herb dressing, Eddie was out of pain and eager to be on his way back to Dorothy and the babies. He knew she would be frantic by now and would not be able to leave the den as the pups were far too young. She would be very hungry, and only have enough milk for another day or so. He wanted to express his gratitude to her father in the only way that he could, by gently licking his hand. The Storyteller reciprocated by stroking the dark red fur of his patient’s head and for a brief moment Eddie felt a sense of peace.

The old man picked him up and walked out of the cottage and down the path to the wooden gate. He deposited Eddie next to the chicken and the ham, which miraculously had not been filched in his absence. He stood back and waited to make sure that the fox would be able to move easily, but was taken by surprise as the animal sat down and looked right up at him with strangely human eyes. The Storyteller was a man of magic, and not one to have flights of fancy, and when the fox stood and ran around him several times before picking up the food and moving along the path, he decided to follow him.

Through the forest they moved, sometimes on the path, and at times through the undergrowth. From time to time, Eddie would stop and look over his shoulder to make sure that the old man was keeping up with him. Eventually they emerged into the clearing in front of the den and he pushed aside the bushes concealing the entrance. He was relieved to see his beloved Dorothy gently nuzzling the babies as they drank their milk. She looked up and saw him, and she gave a delighted yip to welcome him home. He dropped the food in front of her but she was too relieved to see him to eat right then. He stood by her side and nuzzled her neck fur, gently licking her ears in devotion.

Eddie rose and indicated that he wanted her to follow him into the sunlight and bring the babies with her. The family emerged, and immediately the cubs, full of milk and ready to play, chased each other in and out of their parent’s legs and biting their feathered tails.

On the edge of the clearing the Storyteller paused and took in the delightful scene in front of him. He didn’t want to startle the vixen and her cubs, but Eddie trotted towards him before turning back again in invitation. The man moved slowly, bending down close to the ground to show that he meant no harm and found himself looking directly into a pair of eyes that he had never forgotten. He fell backwards onto his bottom, staring in shock at the two foxes in front of him. He and Eddie’s family had mourned the loss of their children four years before, thinking that some dreadful accident had befallen them or that they had been killed by some passing vagabonds. No trace of them had ever been found and eventually they had to accept that they were gone forever.

Dorothy had been so intent on her three pups that it took a moment before she looked more closely at the man sat in front of her. Tears formed in her blue eyes, revealing the human hidden beneath the russet fur. She left the cubs with Eddie, approaching hesitantly and stood by her father’s knee. He stretched out his arms and she leapt into them so that she could plaster his face and lick away his own tears.

‘Who did this to you child?’ He gently smoothed the rich red fur of the top of her head.

‘Who could be so wicked as to take you both from us?’ he paused as a thought struck him.

‘The only one who would seek pleasure from this would be the Goblin and I suspect Magnus who left around the same time you disappeared.’ Dorothy, still under the curse of silence, nodded her head slowly and the Storyteller put her back on the ground, stood up and dusted himself off.

‘If I carry the cubs, will you and Eddie come with me to the Goblin’s cave and I will make him reverse his curse that he placed on you?’ He walked over to where the now fed and sleepy cubs were lying next to their father, gently picking them up one my one; tucking the squirming fur bundles carefully into the front of his jumper. Keeping one hand beneath them to keep them safe, he and the two foxes headed off to the other end of the forest and the dank place which stank of rancid goblin.

You have already heard and witnessed the persuasiveness of the Storytellers abilities, and the following day a message was sent to Eddie’s parents to come to the cottage in the magic garden for Sunday lunch. You can imagine their shock on arriving to find their son, now a mature grown man, with his arms around the shoulders of the beautiful Dorothy, alongside three gloriously red-headed triplets, tucking into a chicken purée dinner.

As to the Goblin, he has never been seen again. Those that wander into that part of the forest are amused by the statue of stone that looks like an old ugly monkey squealing in terror. The place is no longer dark and dank, but is sunlit and is always covered in a carpet of foxgloves.

©Sally Cronin2018 Image Tales from the Irish Garden by Donata Zawadzka

One of the reviews for the book

Step into the enchanting fantasy world of Sally Cronin’s Irish garden where beneath the roots of her Magnolia tree resides a magical kingdom filled with fairies, witches, goblins, and leprechauns protected by the wisdom of the magical Storyteller.

This book is part of a continuing saga called “Tales from the Garden,” which originated in the author’s Spanish garden. However, I feel that this book stood alone quite well on its own, as there was a chapter dedicated to catching the reader up with past fairy events.

The story is told in sections denoting each of the four seasons. Each segment of the story shares the lives of magical creatures who with help from the Storyteller and the inhabitants of the fairy kingdom manage to overcome insurmountable odds.

In its way, this book is a triumphant celebration to acceptance and getting along with others who are different from you. It also reinforces the creed that you should love your neighbor as thyself. These are fabulous themes to teach children and as gentle reminders for the rest of us who are enjoying our second childhood.

I spent a blissful three nights reading about Queen Filigree and her magical kingdom beneath the Magnolia tree. The ending was sweet and fulfilling, filled with new dreams and possibilities.

In addition, the reader will find exquisite drawings by the artist, Donata Zawadzka, to make this lovely book complete.

As a Fairy Whisperer myself, I can only say this book gratified my continuing belief in the fairies and all things magical.

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

If you would like to browse my other ebooks.. you can find their reviews and Amazon links:

Thank you for dropping in and I hope you enjoy the rest of the book..Chapter Thirteen tomorrow. Sally.

The previous chapters of Tales from the Irish Garden can be found here:


Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Weekly Round Up.. Gems from your Archives, Universal Energy and All That Jazz

Welcome to the round up of posts here on Smorgasbord that you might have missed…

The week has been unremarkable here except for the fact that it is June and it has not stopped raining for a week, with at least another week to go… and the heating is still on twice a day. This has not helped the work in the back garden which requires a couple of days of dry weather to put down gravel and then cement…

I am officially banning all singing and dancing for the rest of the summer… see what happens when this dance academy puts on a show and perform ‘Singing in the Rain’  I rest my case!. Thanks Lucinda Armstrong

There is nothing more to say… except let’s get on with the week’s posts..thank you for dropping in and also a huge thanks to those who have contributed this week.

A reminder of the new Sunday Interview series beginning at the end of June…I am already receiving some terrific pieces about our senses…

This week William Price King introduces us to a contemporary artist.. Hiromi Uehara Jazz Composer and Pianist.

Two more posts from Paul Andruss...and the first is about a drink with an ancient history.. Mead. Poetic Mead

Coffee a Noxious Concoction.. for coffee lovers everywhere..

This weekend I begin the serialisation of Tales from the Irish Garden... and in the first post a reminder of how the story left off in the previous book.

Chapter One..

Annette Rochelle Aben takes us through the universal energy we can expect in June….

Sherri Matthews joins us for a series of four memoir posts. In her first post.. a little nostalgia about her first meal out with her Dad.

We didn't eat out as kids, but we did enjoy family gatherings, such as this tea party for a cousin. Me on the right. Always the kid with chocolate on my face. Nothing's changed... (c) Sherri Matthews

This week the Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge by Charli Mills  prompt was strawberries and mint… here is my story – The Devilish Mojito…

Welcome to the series  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:

Robbie Cheadle writes for both children and adults, but clearly children’s books are very dear to her heart… here is a post that demonstrates that. The Life of Roald Dahl.

Roald Dahl

Photograph from The Official Roald Dahl Website

Jacquie Biggar with a recipe that brings back memories..also a link to a festive cookbook that looks great.


Financial expert Sharon Marchisello explains the need to identify your tolerance risk when investing.

Diana Wallace Peach treats us to a wonderful short story.. The Optometrist and the Dragon

Carol Taylor is on a short break so I took the opportunity to delve into her archives to find some gems to share with you.. in this post a secret garden…

Koh Samui The Secret Garden

This is the final post from Beetley Pete also known as Pete Johnson who blogs from Norfolk…I could not leave the archives without sharing a post about Ollie.

An inspiring poem from Miriam Hurdle – The Sun Welcomes Me…

Pre-school teacher of over 30 years, Jennie Fitzkee, has been a welcome guest here many times but this time, Jennie has let me loose in her archives… this will be fun. She is always coming up with creative ways to engage the children.. and here is just one. The Stop Game”, From Dinosaurs to Poetry

Olga Nunez Miret gives us a guided tour through her hometown of Barcelona

It was cloudy in the morning but it improved

A new participant to the series with some lovely photographs of wetland wildlife and a cute grandson.. Fraggle Photography.


Another new participant.. Elizabeth Slaughter with a memory that could have ended very differently.

1948-50s 376

Kim of By Hook or By Book is a book reviewer and here is an example.


Gibson Square (pen name) writes The Cabbie Blog and over the next four weeks I will be sharing trivia and little known facts about London.

Susanne Swanson shares her trip to Hawaii.. with some lovely photographs.


Balroop Singh shares the therapeutic benefits of music…. I won’t argue with that… cannot imagine my life without it.

New Book on the Shelves

Author Update: Reviews

The second post in the series on the brain.. and how it develops from conception through life.

Thank you so much for dropping in today and for all the support… I am just off to do my shopping…Sally

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up.. John Wick 3 -Spirits in the Sky, Polar Bears and Apple Daiquiris

Welcome to the round up of posts that you might have missed during the week on Smorgasbord.

We have had another busy week on the back garden work… a little unpredictable but we are fitted in between other jobs, weather dependent such as gathering silage for next winter’s feed. We live in the country and one has to go with the flow… but I will be glad when the job is finished and the digger is gone…We will then be able to sit out and enjoy the summer sun which is there until 10pm at the height of summer.

We also had visitors this week.. old friends from Portsmouth. Adrian and I were co-presenters on radio and on Internet Television and we became friends with his wife Chris too at the same time in 2007. We had a lovely two day catch up… and also rehashing fond memories. We discovered a new place to us locally .. a fabulous spa and hotel with a wonderful grill which we visited for lunch… they all had the tempura batter fish and chips which was apparently delicious and I had the goats cheese, caramalised onion, apple and walnut pizza… They also did a range of non-alcoholic cocktails and we all had Apple Daiquiris which were stunning… a bit of an ice-cream headache but what a way to get your 5 a day..

We then went to see John Wick 3 at our local cinema, both David and I loved John Wick 1 and 2 but were very disappointed with this third outing. We knew there would be a lot of action and quite a bit of violence and the stunts and the effects were amazing, but the fights in particular went on far too long.. 10 minutes and despite complex and brilliant choreography they became boring… It was more of a video game than a movie and the script was sparce. The problem is that is was stand alone, it is two years since the previous film.. and it literally picked up where it left off leaving you trying to remember what happened the last time. So if you have not seen John Wick 1 and 2.. I suggest you do before you see this one at the very least.. and be prepared for lots of action, most that is stretched out too lon and is very much more violent that the previous films.

Anyway a fun week and will be looking to recreate those apple daiquiris asap.

Just a quick note to say that I will be serialising Tales from the Irish Garden from next weekend… it will take around 13 weeks and I am hoping that you enjoy.

There is a new series of the Sunday Interview coming up at the end of June and I have set a slightly different challenge this time… Human in every sense of the word.

As humans there are five main senses that we rely on to navigate through this world.  And there is one that we all possess but do not necessarily use all the time…

Sight, Hearing, Touch, Taste, Smell….Sixth Sense.

For some people however, one or more of those senses do not function and we can only imagine the challenges this results in.

I don’t know about you, but I take my senses for granted, expecting to see my surroundings when I wake up each morning, hear the birds sing, feel the bedclothes as I throw them back, and the carpet beneath my feet. I expect to taste the marmalade on my toast, and smell the coffee I am about to drink. I also rely on my sixth sense, the one that people cannot really define, that somehow keeps me from making an error of judgement.

Scientists believe that we have other senses that are also important but that we have lost touch with over our evolution. But for this interview series I would like to focus on the six senses I have mentioned.

I would like you to write from 300 to 600 words about one or more of these senses.

If you head over to the post you will find my own interpretation of this challenge and details on how to participate… hope you are up for it…

Time for the posts from the week.

As always my thanks to the contributors and everyone who is participating in the current Posts from Your Archives.. 50 bloggers and counting. As you can imagine I am having a blast reading everyone’s archives and I am managing to post 15 authors a week. So apologies if you are not featured yet, but you will be in the coming couple of months.

This week I share another two posts from Paul Andruss on the subject of poetry.. and the first is William Blake.. A man born before his time.

The second is Lord Byron.. a complicated man....

Personal Stuff – Short Stories – Flash fiction stories in response to Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge by Charli Mills

Carved in Wood… a widow returns to a wood and tree with carved initials..

And this week’s Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge by Charli Mills 

A Mother’s Dilemma – Disappearing Ice.

My intention with this blog was to create a watering hole where writers could gather and exchange experiences and knowledge and so delighted with all that I am discovering by delving into your archives.. and finding some gems even you have forgotten!

This week Robbie Cheadle takes us on her trip to London with her husband, and shares three parks and Sherlock Holmes house.

London Day 1

USA Today bestselling author Jacquie Biggar with one of her guests Roxanne St. Clair…

Financial expert Sharon Marchisello explores the link between financial and physical health.

This week Diana Peach shares a rather wet weekend with a grandson in charge of the garden hose and open window… what could go wrong!

I chose a poignant poem by Miriam Hurdle that touched many hearts…

Beautiful Tiny Baby written by Miriam Hurdle at

Pete Johnson, Beetley Pete reviews the original Titanic film from 1958 – A Night to Remember.

Carol Taylor introduces us to their forever dog Saangchai and his early antics…


The Story Reading Ape with another of his guests over the last six years.. author Billy Ray Chitwood, who shares his life story.

D.G. Kaye with another of her down to earth posts on social media and the impact on our lives. Are we getting lost in social oblivion ?

Social media sharing

Darlene Foster gives us a tour of her home town… Medicine Hat in Canada..


A short story from Christine Campbell… The Thing Is.

black lab 2

Charles Yallowitz with another of his compelling poems..Fear

Yahoo Image Search

The final part of D.Avery’s linked story The Fold.

We continue the story of the Hollywood auditions… courtesy of Jane Risdon and it is always useful to have a brown paper bag to hand.

Mary Smith had a wonderful trip to Canada for a special birthday celebration and shares some of her trip with us.

DSC00152 (Custom)

New book on the shelves

Author Update

The estimated consumption of fizzy drinks around the world is 50billion units a day!  The American Soft Drink Association was proud to say a few years ago that the average American consumes over 600, 12oz servings per year. Children are consuming many more fizzy drinks than adults and they estimate that the average teenager drinks an average of 160 gallons of soft drinks per year until their late 20’

The start of a updated series on the major organs of the body.. starting with the brain. This week an introduction and the anatomy.


This rescue cockatoo is found a new loving home and renewed joy of life and music..

Thank you very much for dropping in today and I am off out and will check in on everything this evening.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Sunday Interview – Getting to Know author Sheila Williams

My guest today is author Sheila Williams who lives in France, but in the past has enjoyed several careers, including that of sheep farmer (more about that later!). Sheila shares a mortifying experience in a restaurant, her fashion sense, the contents of her handbag and a tussle with a persistent romeo ram (of the sheep variety!)

First the official word from the author.

About Sheila Williams

Sheila Williams, author, slipped into this world on Guy Fawkes night, under cover of fireworks and bonfires. Outraged to find other nurslings in the nest, she attempted to return to her own world but found the portal closed.

Adopting a ‘make the best of it’ attitude she endured a period of indoctrination to equip her for her place in society. This included learning a language that no-one ever speaks and making complex calculations of no perceivable value.

Freeing herself as soon as possible from such torture, she embarked on a series of adventures – or to use the vernacular – careers; hospital manager, business consultant, life coach, sheep farmer. She attempted to integrate into society by means first of marriage and then partnered before setting out alone to discover another world, known as France, where she now resides.

Always fascinated by these humans amongst whom she dwells, she has developed an interest in psychology, magic, the supernatural, ghosts, Ghoulies and things that go bump in the night. Dark thoughts and black humour lurk within her.

In her quest to understand this world she pursues knowledge of its history; not of kings and queens but of its ordinary people and how they lived and worked. To this end, she haunts events such as boot fairs, vide-greniers and sales rooms where many ancient artefacts can be uncovered.

She lives without the box of sound and pictures known locally as television and hence her already limited social skills are further curtailed not having a clue who came dancing with whom or who had talent…or not. She does however have access to something called DVDs and hibernates over winter with a large stack of them. When spring arrives she may be found cherishing the plants in her garden, whistling with the birds and holding deep meaningful conversations with the resident toad who, one day, she hopes may turn into her prince and keep her in the manner to which she would like to become accustomed

Her outlets from this unfathomable world include nature, animals (especially funny videos of), books and writing stories. This latter occupation enables her to create her own worlds, populate them and dispose of the residents as she thinks fit. She finds holding the fate of these poor souls in her hands immensely satisfying.

Time to find out which of the intrusive and personal questions Sheila has been brave enough to answer…..

Welcome back Sheila and can you describe one of the most embarrassing moment of your life?

I met some friends at a local restaurant. Much wine was consumed, as happens, and I needed to visit the loo. I pushed the door open; great, no waiting, no-one there. I did what I needed to do and was about to leave when I heard voices, men’s voices, lots of men’s voices. I waited, mortified until I thought it was all quiet and then crept out of the stall only to notice what I had not seen before – a row of urinals against the wall, each one occupied. As one, the guys turned their heads and began hissing and booing at me.

How they stayed on target I’ll never know, nor want to. I fled, my face tomato red. I made it back to the table where my friends (nearly wrote fiends there) were falling about laughing and pointing to the ‘gents’ sign on the door.

To compound my embarrassment, as we left the restaurant I could hear the sniggers of other diners. I stopped for a moment at the door and a little old lady walked up behind me. She pulled down the back of my skirt and said severely: ‘You’re not a little girl any more so don’t tuck your skirt into your knickers.’ In my embarrassment in the loo I had left without making sure my clothes were arranged in a seemly fashion. I never went back and these days you’re more likely to find me in trousers or jeans than a skirt.

Tell us about your craziest experience.

In another life I had a sheep farm in the Yorkshire Dales. At ‘tupping time’ – the time when the tups (rams) are turned out with the ewes to mate, I had one of my tups going back and forth; in and out of my neighbour’s fields. The problem was that this great numb creature just didn’t fancy my curly-horned Swaledale ewes. No, this mating season he’d taken a fancy to my neighbour’s, admittedly younger and more stylish, ewes. This was the fifth and definitely the final time that I was going to fetch him away from forbidden fruit. I grabbed the dog collar I’d put around his thick neck and rummaged through my pockets for a length of thick twine. As I began to fasten the twine to the collar. He shifted uneasily; to be led from the only source of nookie for a twelvemonth, it was too much for him to bear. He threw back his great head and propelled himself down the fields at the double.

Somehow, the length of twine wrapped itself tightly around my left wellie and as the ram took the piece of band to its full length, it tautened and upended me, all 140 lbs of too, too solid flesh. I crashed on my back, cracking my head and sending my specs flying whilst a whole galaxy of blue and yellow stars shot across my orbit.

The villain of the piece, now thoroughly frightened by the weight he was towing some ten feet behind him, bolted down the field, heading for the wall at the bottom. It was a frosty morning with the ground iron-hard. I wriggled like a fish on a long-line trying to free myself. I could feel the skin on my back and arms being scraped off. The brute reached the lower boundary wall and took it like a Grand National winner at which point my left wellie detached itself from my foot and I was left a gibbering, sobbing wreck in the wall bottom. The miscreant ram, continued his gallop with a flying green wellie trailing behind him.

It took me some time to collect the remnants of my wits together and even longer to scour the fields groping for my specs, without which I’m the proverbially blind bat. I limped home. In the bathroom I inspected the damage. It was colourful. Face maggot white; back, arms, legs and shoulders a raw red and every shade of purple and blue.

Now I’m not a particularly pretty sight at the best of times, being short, stoutish and sharp-hootered but I would have left Frankenstein’s monster as an also-ran in a ‘most-ugly’contest that morning.

Sally Here: I found this video with a mesmerizing sheep herding sequence that might bring back happier memories of sheep farming for Sheila..

How would you describe your fashion sense?

In a word, I would say ‘eclectic’; some of my very stylish friends would say I didn’t have any fashion sense. However I’ve always replied to their scorn that I dress for the occasion. When I was a business consultant it was all power-dressing – suits, Dallas-style padded shoulders, short skirts, heels that could skewer a wild boar.

When I was farming it was jeans, sweaters, Barbour coats and overalls.

Nowadays, in my writing years, it varies a little. I live in south-west France where the summers are hot and the winters are freezing. Summertime it’s shorts, crops and t-shirts (not the sleeveless ones – too much underarm wobble – and a swimsuit for the mandatory dip in the lake at the end of the day. Occasionally I’ll sport a floaty skirt but mainly on fete days.

In winter it’s a different matter altogether. Up until recently I had no heating in my writing room so a typical wardrobe consisted of vest, long-sleeved t-shirt, sweater no.1, sweater no.2, woolly hat and mittens. The lower half would be fleecy-lined trousers and tights or sometimes padded ski trousers.

All that has changed though because I now have heating in my writer’s room so no doubt a new form of sartorial elegance will evolve but I haven’t quite decided what that might be yet.

What are the five things that you would always find in your handbag or briefcase?

Only five! Firstly my papers (I’ll bundle them together as one) – passport, driving licence and car registration. The French police have this sneaky habit of jumping out of the side of the road, stopping you and asking to see your papers. Without them you face a hefty fine.

Next would be a notebook and pens, several pens in fact. I get wacky ideas at the strangest times and need to write them down. I am, what I call an eariwigger – I can’t help overhearing other folks’ conversations. From time to time I hear a little gem that I can’t resist noting.

Number three is my comb. It is made of boxwood and comes from the village where I now live. A century or so ago it was one of the main industries in the village along with jet working and textiles. The factories are all gone now, save one textile firm. My comb is a very simple one but many of them were intricately carved and quite beautiful.

Next my purse. Although I don’t claim to be stylish really, I am the proud owner of a genuine Chanel purse in black and white leather. It’s a bit battered but it does the job. In truth it doesn’t have much work to do since it’s nearly always empty save for the obligatory carte vitale (health card), my cash card and a credit card that I dare not use.

Finally a relic from my farming days one of those rinky-dinky penknives that are supposed to do everything from cleaning out horses’ hooves to opening a bottle of wine. The only problem with it is that I break a nail trying to ease out each of its component parts.

What is the one ambition that you still have not achieved?

There’s still time yet and I’m a born optimist. I really would like to be traditionally published. I have had articles and short stories published in magazines but not a full length work. My first novel received a number of interested murmurs from agents but alas no takers. I’ve published my three books independently and with a little success.

For all of that I would like to be taken on by a publisher. I’m not sure why it’s so important to me but I believe, deep down it has something to do with validation as a writer. I think many writers probably suffer from self-doubt – some of the time maybe all of the time. I certainly do. I’m not sure if I’ll ever be rid of it – perhaps it’s necessary to the writing process. Even if I were to find a traditional publisher I suspect the self-doubt would still be there?

Do you prefer the big city or country life?

You can probably guess my answer. I’m a country lass at heart. I was brought up in a city in west Yorkshire. I remember as a kid visiting a farm where the farm yard was a glorious mix of hens, ducks, geese and pigs. How I loved the pigs rooting about, wallowing in mud, scoffing windfall apples with happy little grunts. I developed a real passion for pigs but when I suggested keeping one on the tennis court at home the idea was vetoed.

Sally Here:  I found some very happy pigs enjoying life in a sanctuary cooling off.

My adult life has always been spent in the country in ever increasing degrees of country-ness. First in the outer fairly rural suburbs, then in the Yorkshire dales, next it was rural Nottinghamshire, then the Holderness coast in east Yorkshire and finally in a small village close to the Pyrenees in south west France. It’s about having space around me to think; it’s about being able to close the door and have solitude and silence when I want or need it. I love nature in all its guises, the change of seasons and even in the bitter winds that are blowing at the moment, there is exhilaration in being outside. I feel alive.

Certainly a life of adventure and daring, and having had my own experience with rams (the sheep kind) I take my hat off to Sheila….time to find out more about her books.

Sheila’s latest release.

About the Weave – a fantasy mystery…

A Romany Witch, a French Count and an English author, all entangled in a lie told centuries ago…

Struggling author Richard Pease joins the Nonesuch Club – a writers’ retreat in France – run by the inscrutable Oskar. At the club he starts to write again and he thinks his problems are over. In fact they are just beginning. As he uncovers the secrets in the Club he finds himself trapped in a web of intrigue and deception and has more to worry about than writer’s block… such as escaping with his life.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Sheila 5.0 out of 5 stars Intrigue 2 January 2019

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I started to read it aloud to my partner as we were driving overnight, but, after our journeys end, I became intrigued and needed to read it myself. I found myself wanting a character in the book to have revenge, but had no inclination of how it would be achieved, until the latter stages.

There has obviously been a lot of research done, of witches, herbs and potions etc. The imagination of some people, never ceases to amaze me and am always in awe of authors

Read the reviews and buy the book:

And on Amazon US:

Also by Sheila Williams

Read the reviews and buy the books:

And on Amazon US:

Connect to Sheila Williams


My thanks to Sheila for her interesting and lively interview and if you would like to share more about your life and work then please check out how to do so:

If you are an author and would like to be part of a group that supports and promotes other authors then please take a look at this group on Facebook by clicking the image.


Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Numerology with Annette Rochelle Aben – Your monthly Universal energy – January 2019

Welcome to January! The beginning of a brand-new year and of course, a brand-new month.

This is such a powerful time for many of us, as we look forward to the fresh starts and new beginnings of January. We’ll seek to alter our eating habits, sign up at the gym and reset our flagging budgets. Interestingly, all this energy, is connected to the number 1 in numerology.

January, being the first month of the year, rightfully owns that energy. And it is as though we move forward robotically, with every good intention every January. Some find it an easy go, while others seem to struggle.


While the basic energy for January is a 1, we need to take into consideration the energy of the current year, 2019. 2019 is a 3, which has an entirely different vibration than that of a 1. To find the Universal Energy of January 2019, we add the 1 of January to the 3 of 2019 and that gives us 4.

Are you still with me?

The numerology energy of 1 will play a smaller role this month and the numerology energy of 4 will have a greater impact.

A 1 is all about thoughts, ideas, plans and goals. Fantastic! Set them and get it down on paper so you can keep track of your progress.

4 is all about the physical world, stability, and the end results. This is cool because your grand ideas, which may lose steam after a few days, or a couple weeks, could get a kick in the pants from that 4, which will help polarize your energy. Honestly, how many Januarys have you talked yourself into all changes you wanted to make and then talked yourself out of staying the course.

Show of hands?

What is even cooler, is the numerology energy of 3, which is that of 2019, is one of focus, integration and staying in the present moment.

See, even the current year wants to see you succeed!

Now, how does this personally pertain to you?

You need to know YOUR PERSONAL YEAR energy. Add the numbers of your birth month and birth day together, then add that number to the 3 of 2019 and reduce the number to the smallest number between 1 and 9, this will give you your current personal year number.

Knowing the energy of the numbers in your life, provides guidance.

Remember, we are not islands, we interact with family members, co-workers, neighbors, even strangers all the time and each of them is dealing with their own energies. When I would gather with my family for holidays, I would lay out the numerology energy for each of us, so I would be aware of the sensitivities of everyone. I took it upon myself to be forearmed for my sanity, as I was not one to handle surprises well.


The Universal Energy of January 2019 is a 4. This month is a great opportunity to get things done, offering the stability of creating reality based on inner vision.

Annette Rochelle Aben has been a professional numerologist for over 20 years. She offers readings and instruction using numerology. Contact her at innerchildart (at) yahoo (dot) com.

©Annette Rochelle Aben


About Annette Rochelle Aben

Annette has an attitude of gratitude that she spreads around on a daily basis… Annette’s Blog and also by interviewing authors on radio Tell Me A Story with Annette Rochelle Aben | The Magic Happens (TMH)

A love of writing, began for Annette when she was but a small child. Of course, she gives all the credit to her parents, who read to her and her siblings from the moment they were born. Once in school, teachers took over the roles of main influencers, as they required the students to do a lot of (wait for it… wait for it…) WRITING!

Over the years, Annette has been blessed with having both hobbies and jobs that required her to write. This resulted in her winning the admiration of peers and industry professionals alike. Publication lead to awards, which provided even more encouragement and now, Annette Rochelle Aben is a #1 Best Selling Author!

These days, Annette writes poetry books, coaches others through the writing of their books, and edits articles for the digital magazine The Magic Happens.

Along the way, Annette found time to explore the worlds of Aroma Therapy, Astrology, Bach Flower Essences, Crystal Therapy, Feng Shui, Hypnotherapy, Music Therapy, Numerology, Reiki, and Tarot. Guided by her Angels as to what to study and with whom, Annette turned many of her studies into sideline businesses.

Books by Annette Rochelle Aben

One of the recent reviews for A Tanka Picture Book

Annette Rochelle Aben writes the most beautiful and heartfelt poetry, most frequently in the form of tanka and haiku verse. Annette bares her thoughts, feelings and soul to the world with her writing and enables you to experience her joy and delight at living with her. One identifying feature of Annette’s poetry is that she appeals to all five of the senses. I frequently find that poems focus on the visual, what the writer sees, but not that many poets manage to capture the smell, sound and touch of life in quite the way Annette does. One of the poems in this book that filled me with delight is this one: We found paradise Filled with rolling hills of green Houses so cozy Paths strewn with flowers fragrant Watercolor painted skies

Read all the reviews and buy the books:

And Amazon UK:

Find more reviews and follow Annette at Goodreads:

Connect to Annette


My thanks to Annette for this fascinating look at the month and we would be delighted to receive your feedback.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Getting to Know You with Annette Rochelle Aben

Welcome to Getting to Know You where guests pick five questions that reveal a little more about their personality and background. This week my guest is Miss Personality as far as I am concerned. You don’t have to be in the same room with Annette Rochelle Aben to know that she is funny, compassionate, empathetic and generous. That all shines through in her blog posts, social media comments and radio podcasts. And as you will find out… it also shines bright as day in her interview.

Annette is also a talented poet and her latest release Haiku Perspective 2018 has achieved the distinction of becoming a best seller.

Before we look at the questions that Annette has decided to answer, here is the official biography.

Allow me to introduce myself, I am a writer, an author, a wordsmith and perhaps find myself to be more interesting than is necessary. So I shall NOT go into grand detail as to what I have done in my 40 + career of writing and instead shall use various pages of this blog site to reveal this energy. As with most writing it may take some time, so please bear with me.

In addition to writing I am also a guide, a muse and a mentor and to that end I am available to work with YOU! So please reach out when you are in need of my services and allow me to use my talents, skills and above all compassion to help you in your personal or professional life.

For years I have enjoyed being part of the “traditional” broadcasting industry, you know, the kind where one simply turns on a radio or television and there you are! Many people I would interact with would tell me how much THEY wanted the chance to be a part of that world and yet there were only so many jobs, so many chances to work in their own home towns doing something they really wanted to do with their lives. So when I found the world of INTERNET RADIO I was thrilled because here was something people could DO to fulfill their dreams and do it in a way that allowed them to have CONTROL over the broadcasting process. Naturally I started doing my own internet radio program and fell in LOVE with the FREEDOM and EASE of it all and was eventually hired by a company to TRAIN others how to do their own shows and I did this for years with wonderful results. (I will add testimonials soon) and when that company and I parted ways, I decided to continue offering the TRAINING and SUPPORT to those who also wish to CREATE and HOST their own internet radio programs.


You can find out more about Annette’s radio programmes here:

It is now time to find out more about Annette’s most embarrassing moments,

Welcome Annette and can you share your most embarrassing experience?

When I was I my early twenties, I worked as a Release Clerk in the office of a Custom House Broker at the Ambassador Bridge in Detroit, Michigan. We were the largest Custom House Broker in three States, so we were busy, very busy. What our office/company did, was to guarantee to the Federal Government, that we’d pay the duty or any import fees on behalf of the person/company doing the importing. We’d then bill the company for that money and our fees. Truck drivers would bring their paperwork to us and we’d prepare it for processing, then the drivers would submit the paperwork to U.S. Customs, who would release the freight for delivery, should everything be in order.

My co-workers and I sat I in a rather large room, at an L shaped counter. Our desks had counters at eye-level, where the drivers lined up to have one of the seven of us handle their paperwork. In addition to this, one of my roles was to answer the phones. I was placed at the very first desk, very first phone, which meant I got all the calls first and if my phone was in use, the call rolled down the line until someone else answered. Not all the calls were for our location, often calls needed to be directed to our Detroit/Windsor Tunnel office or our main office, which was a few blocks away.

One day, this was the case and the conversation went like this.

“John V. Carr, Bridge Office, this is Annette, how may I direct your call?”

“I need to speak with Dick.”

“Which Dick, sir? We have several Dicks who work for this company.”

“Well, I don’t know, is there a Dick in charge?”

“Yes, the owner is Dick L. Sr., I guess he’d be considered the Dick in charge.”

“That name doesn’t sound familiar. Can you name a someone else?”

“Certainly, there’s Dick L. Jr. Dick H. and Dick D., could one of them be the Dick you remember”

Yes, I believe it is H., let me speak with him please.”

“Right away sir, I’ll connect you.”

I put the call through, hung up the phone and realized that there was dead silence in a room with six other release clerks, a supervisor and probably 20 truck drivers. Out of nowhere, my Supervisor shouts, out, “We have several Dicks who work for this company.” It took only a second before gales of laughter rattled the windows and my face turned as red as my hair. I was the lone female in the place and the men were simply giddy while they repeated my conversation to each other in fake girly voices. It was then that I realized exactly what had happened. I burst into tears, sobbing as though my heart would break. Several of the drivers took pity on me, ruffling my hair from above the counter. A couple of my co-workers threw paper wads at me to get me to lighten up (geesh, men) and one driver dropped a ten- dollar bill on my desk. I looked up at him with tear stained cheeks and wordless, questioning eyes. He smiled and said. “Buy yourself a drink after work. In fact, have a few, on me.”

What would you do with a million dollars?

I am so practical where money is concerned, I have to say that I would make sure my immediate family was comfortable. Everyone out of debt. All health issues addressed and remedied. All vehicles in proper working order. All homes in proper repair (if necessary) and of course, all final expenses financed. That last one comes from my years working in the funeral industry and I could be the poster child for pre-arrangements, as I feel so strongly about the topic. See, much too practical.

I would also set up a Trust Fund for my brother’s eldest son. Shawn is in prison, serving 3 consecutive 25 years terms, which means he will be there for life. As he is 31 years of age right now and my brother and I are in our 60’s, it not likely we will out live him. Our sister is only 4 years behind us, so once again, Shawn could be left completely alone when we are gone. Due to the nature of his offense, his mother and brothers have disowned him.

He requires money for things that are so basic, such as shampoo, soap, toothpaste, etc. If he wants to write a letter, there needs to be money available for all the implements required as well as for the stamp. Even television needs to be paid for, much like cable or internet television in someone’s house. At this time, we keep his account filled with just enough for his needs, as the State takes anything above a certain amount to pay for expenses incurred during his trial. He can work to earn his pocket money, but he must behave to gain work rights; and that doesn’t always happen. He has the maturity of a tween.

My nephew was diagnosed as a Paranoid Schizophrenic with Homicidal and Suicidal Tendencies when he was 12 years of age. At the time, for the safety of his younger brothers, mother and step father, he was placed in an institution, where he lived for 6 years. Once he turned 18, he was released into a world, he knew nothing of and it simply was not a good fit.

See, there are no longer institutions for mentally ill adults in our State. There used to be, but they have long since closed. Because Shawn committed a very serious crime during a time when he was off his medicines, he was put in prison.

We don’t know what would happen to him if he were to be paroled. Living with us, is not an option, not without some serious help from those trained in dealing with people who have Shawn’s condition. Still, it is up to us to provide for him, spiritually, emotionally and physically.

He is our family and while we do not approve of his crime, we love him unconditionally. We write to him every week. He calls us when he can (if he acts up, they take his phone use away) and my brother visits him once a month.

A million dollars cannot bring us back the little boy who brought so much joy into our lives but perhaps it could help him live out the rest of his days somewhat happier.

Did you have a nickname as a child, and if so, what was it?

Yes, I was Pookie! In fact, my dad called me, Annette Rochelle “Pookie” Parent (no, Aben is not my family name, I picked it up from the Federal Marriage protection program).

When I was a very little girl, (mid-fifties) we had a local children’s television show called Lunch with Soupy. The host, Soupy Sales, did sketch comedy, much of which went over our heads, and at least once in every show, he’d end up with a pie in the face for his silliness.

He’d try to teach us manners, reminding us to be “Good Birdbaths” so our parents wouldn’t have to yell at us. And of course, he looked silly, what with this black top hat and crazy, checkerboard, over-sized bowtie he’ d wear. Yes sir, we always enjoyed lunch with Soupy!

There was a lion puppet character on the show, named Pookie. His personality, was that of a 50’s hipster and he Soupy would dialogue all the time. Because Soupy was a jazz enthusiast, he always made sure there was music on the show which included having Pookie “sing” a variety of novelty songs. This is the part of the show that would have me laughing hysterically.

One of the songs was about how Pookie was going to buy himself a Cadillac car by saving up Green Stamps.

*Sung to the tune of Camp Town Ladies

* I’m gonna buy me a Cadillac car, green stamps, green stamps. I’m gonna buy me a Cadillac car, fill up a green stamp book.”

Rumor has it, that as soon as that song would come on, I would try to sing along with him. I remember a photograph of my 2nd birthday cake, with Happy Birthday Pookie written on it.

And I can state, for the record, that I never quite saved up enough Green Stamps for the car. But I got to keep the name!

Sally here:  Just for you Annette  Pookie doing Motown….

What is my favorite vegetable and how do I like it prepared?

BEETS! Yes sir, I love me some beets. We’d have them when I was a kid, and they’d be pickled; sweet and sour flavored. They were okay, I enjoyed them but when we just had a can of them heated up with a bit of butter and salt, I liked them better.

Once I grew up and found them raw in the stores, I fell in love all over again. Now, I could cook them on my own and that was when I began putting them into salads. Oh yum! Didn’t matter to me what kind of salad it was, I added cooked beets. This caused many of my friends to look at me with a bit of curiosity for they were not fond of beets. Good! More for me.

Now, imagine what happened, when I found a juice bar tucked away in a coffee house. They made a drink called a Sunrise and it was filled with a variety of fruits and BEETS! So now, I was into raw beets. Believe it or not, for someone like me, who was born with coffee flowing through her veins, no one could believe I would turn down an espresso for a juiced beet drink.

These days, I have added roasting the whole beets to my weekly routine. Ah yes, whack off the greens, scrub up the root, rub some olive oil on that puppy, toss it on a baking sheet and in to a h-o-t oven long enough for them to become fork tender and I am in heaven. Of course, I peel them when they come out, add some salt and will stand there eating them at the kitchen sink. There is no shame in my beet game.

If animals could talk, which one would I want to talk to?

I think I would like to talk to bears. They have always held a fascination for me, ever since I was a child. We would go on vacation and when we’d stop at little souvenir stores, I would always buy a small, stuffed black bear. Mind you, other than at the zoo, I never saw a bear in person until I was I my twenties, but I knew I loved them.

It would be terrific to know all about their lives. Do they miss their cubs once the little ones grow up? Do they mate with the same partner season after season? What are they doing when they hibernate? I mean, we think they are sound asleep but people who know more than I do, tell us this is not true. So, I would love to hear it from a bear’s point of view. Why do they love salmon? What’s it like to have such a thick, fur coat all the time?

Of course, I would try to answer their questions too. I would think a bear might want to know why we hunt them or why we see them as enemies. Bears might be curious as to why we began to move into their neighborhoods to build not only our cities, but vacation get away spots. And I think they might want an explanation as to whose idea it was to put them into the circus. No fun for the bears at all!

Through the conversations, I would hope I could convince them that we are all NOT nuts. We are all NOT out to harm them. Most of us want to live in harmony with them and would love to be able to sit an enjoy a sunset, side by side. To go for a walk through the woods with each other and learn what the other knows of the terrain. To get to know their little ones and have fun watching them grow up, just as they might want to enjoy watching our little ones grow up.
I especially would love to be able to walk up to a bear, any bear and feel as though I were with a friend. I believe we could be friends with bears, if we could talk to each other.

Sally here:  I have found the perfect place for you to visit Annette…over 2000 bears ready to sit down with you for a one to one…. please take photos.

I think you will agree that Annette has pulled out all the stops for us today and I am sure you will have enjoyed as much as I have.

Books by Annette Rochelle Aben

One of the recent reviews for the collection

American Poet, Annette Rochelle Aben has created a dynamic collection of syllabic poetry and prose that shouts out her unique perspective on everyday life. Her poetry is filled with humor and pathos expressed through various forms of Haiku, Senryu, and Tanka formats covering a wide range of topics.

Aben’s talent lies in her deep understanding of the human psyche expressed through poetic bursts of emotion that reach out and grab the reader. One of the most powerful verses is called, Absolution:


If I let you see
Some parts of my history
Would they set me free
Wiping clean the deeds
See flowers disguised as weeds

Drink blood the soul bleeds

Blended by the shame
Memories screaming my name

Silence, play the game
Help me to save face
Vanquishing nightmares that chase

Seeking love’s pure grace

© 2018 Annette Rochelle Aben

I enjoy poetry that allows me to reflect on my own thoughts and feelings. At the same time, I appreciate the ability to laugh at one’s own foibles, somehow finding the strength to shrug it off and move on. Aben’s poetry gives the reader the inspiration to look within and like what they see.

This book was listed as a #1 New Release in Japanese Poetry & Haiku. I received a copy of the book as a gift. 

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

Read all the reviews and buy the books:

And Amazon UK:

Find more reviews and follow Annette at Goodreads:

Connect to Annette via her blog:

Google +

Thank you for dropping in today and I know Annette would love to receive your comments and questions… it would also be great if you could share. Thanks Sally

If you would like to participate in this interview series then click this link: