Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Weekly Round up – Social Media Woes, Jazz, Gardening, Italian Recipes, Nutritional cooking, Flash Fiction and Books Galore

Welcome to the round up of posts that you might have missed this week… especially if you normally pick them up on Facebook!

I won’t go into detail as I covered it in a post early in the week, but suffice to say that I was in Facebook quarantine for two days with my posts removed as not meeting the community standards and I also received notification that someone has reported my posts as offensive.  I also got this message when I tried to share other blogger’s posts.

Those clicking the Facebook share button were also getting a blocked message and rather than cause them upset, I removed the button until Friday after I had sent numerous appeals to the governing body and emails (still no response) and I was able to finally share from other blogs and those sharing from here got through.

I have not posted any links to the blog posts themselves until today.. and hopefully you are reading this because it has gone onto my timeline.

I am not the only person to be affected this week including Debby Gies who you know as a regular contributor here. It is allegedly down to the new policies on fake news and too many external URLS being posted.

Clearly though someone thought that book promotions and health posts were offensive and rather than hit the unfriend button, decided to report me.

That’s life… Going forward I am restricting my own links to other blogger’s posts and once week my round up and hopefully we can maintain the status quo.

In the meantime several of us have also joined MeWe with is a similar interface as Facebook but is more user friendly. They also guarantee that none of our data will be sold. It is early days, but if you are an author you might like to check it out, as Colleen Chesebro, Debby Gies and myself are part of a Literary Diva’s Library on the new site to help you promote your books, reviews and interviews. Just click the image and it will take you there.. my personal profile is

Anyway.. no more drama…… and on with the week’s posts…

This week William Price King introduces us to the unique talents of jazz bassist and singer Esperanza Spalding.

This week Paul Andruss introduces us to the Hellebores… and some of the poisonous beauties much loved in ancient times as instruments of death…including deadly nightshade.

The next in the series to prevent nutritional deficiency by creating dishes containing the nutrient for the whole family… Carol Taylor has produced some wonderful recipes using ingredients rich in Vitamin B1.

In the second of this series, Silvia Todesco shares a traditional ricotta and beef meatballs in tomato sauce….


My personal stuff – Short stories and poetry

My response to Diana Wallace Peach’s monthly speculative fiction photo prompt..a story titled A Moment of Alignment.

Colleen Chesbro’s weekly poetry challenge is an escape from my WIP that I look forward to…. this week my poem was an etheree… March Hares

This week’s Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction was to create a story about a mouse.. in 99 words, no more, no less….

This week a look at how our childhood can influence both our willpower and how we regard the food that we eat. Understanding your relationship to food is important for health and also for weight loss.

This week a look at more of the official human rights as laid down by the United Nations, and our obligation to protect that right and to abide by the law… and when you look at the mortality rates of car accidents vs. murder rates and the high percentage of fatalities associated with texting and drink driving, you will find it hard to separate the two.

An unexpected gift of a turkey causes untold mayhem in the farmyard which as always creates an entertaining episode from the family archives of Linda Bethea

There are a number of flash fiction challenges on WordPress that are really fun to take part in and certainly do hone our skill at brevity.. Here is a post from Joy Lennick’s archives on the subject and an example of her own flash fiction.

I am delighted to welcome author L.T. Garvin (Lana Broussard) to Smorgasbord with a series of guest posts, and her first is a heartrending poem about the past, her family and the devastating loss of a mother in wartime. Lana will be joining us every two weeks until April 8th.

My guest this week is author Ann Barnes who shares the animal she would like to have a conversation with, her weirdest dream, what is in her handbag, and what she would have done differently.

This series offers you a chance to share posts from your own archives that you would like seen by a new audience. Perhaps a post your wrote a year or so ago. If you are interested you can click on the link in any of the posts below to get the details. It is another opportunity to promote your books or other creative work as well.

Can you remember your first flight in a plane? Poet and author Balroop Singh shares hers which was a magical experience… she would love to hear about yours.

Childrens/YA author Darlene Foster, shares more of her extended family that emigrated to Canada in the 1900s… this time her father’s relatives.

Jennie Fitzkee who has over 30 years experience as a pre-school teacher, and loves sharing stories with her class, shares her childhood in relations to fairy stories and how many have an element of violence. She explores the need for a reality check for children from an early age about life in general, but there need to be guidelines on how they are introduced.

Robbie Cheadle spends a great deal of time tempting us to eat scrumptious baked delights, and this is no exception as she shares the family recipe of Granny Una’s apple pie…bibs on…

Sharon Marchisello learnt some valuable financial lessons from her parents, and this week the advice given to her by her father.

Children’s author Bette A. Stevens shares her poem in tribute to her grandmother.

New Book on the Shelves book on the shelves

Author Updates – Reviews

Thank you very much for visiting today and I hope you have enjoyed the posts. Thank to those who have shared to Facebook, sometimes using alternative methods!  I appreciate the support.

Hopefully all is more or less back to normal!!!!!!



Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Gardening Column with Paul Andruss – Heavenly Hellebores

Welcome to the Gardening Column with Paul Andruss… deft of word and an expert in the plant department, he is sharing bringing glorious colour to our gardens.

Heavenly Hellebores.

Hellebores (Yours Magazine)

Despite flowering early in the year, when there is hardly anything in the garden, hellebores were often ignored. They were considered dull and rather bashfully hung their heads. So much so some gardeners put mirrors under the plants so they could see the flowers.

Hellebores came in two types. There was a white variety (ironically Black Hellebore) optimistically called the Christmas Rose, which never flowers at Christmas, and a pink called the Lenten Rose; blooming from Lent through Spring. In actual fact both varieties bloom during much the same time.

Hellebores are not roses, but part of the buttercup family. The name is because the flowers are a similar shape to dog roses. Flowers are made from tough coloured bud-coatings, called sepals, not flimsy petals. This means they flower for weeks rather than days and can stand anything winter throws at them. I have seen Hellebores frozen to the ground perk up once the weather thaws and look none the worse for wear. Hellebores survive in temperatures low as -26 C (-15F).

Hel, a Norse Death Goddess and daughter of Loki the mischievous wild-fire god, appropriately lived in a frozen realm named after her. Unfortunately she does not lend her name to Hellebores.

The name originates with the Ancient Greeks and means Helle (to injure) and Bora (food) as many species are poisonous. In one Greek legend, attackers used hellebores to poison the water supply of a besieged city; leaving the defenders so weak from diarrhoea they no longer had the strength to man the walls.

Any gardening column will sooner or later talk about poisonous plants: something that will no doubt cheer up all you Jane Marples, or perhaps, more macabrely, Lucrecia Borgias. Unfortunately this is not that column. Not today. But here’s something to be going on with:

Aconite (Gardenaggo)

The shade loving aconite (Monkshood) with its spikes of blue bells is called the witch flower and queen of poisons. The plant, sacred to the witch goddess Hecate, is poisonous in all its parts: stem leaves and root.

It is also called wolf’s bane as the ancient Greeks dipped their wolf hunting arrows in a toxin made from it. Symptoms of aconite poisoning are supposed to resemble rabies: frothing at the mouth and impaired vision leading to coma. Legend has it Wolf’s bane is a cure for werewolves. Hence the poem in the 1941 Universal film The Wolfman: Even a man who is pure in heart and says his prayers by night, may become a wolf when the wolf-bane blooms and the autumn moon is bright

Deadly Nightshade (botanakaiygeia.blogspot)

Another is Belladonna, which comes from the deadly nightshade family that gives us eggplants, tomatoes, potatoes, chili and capsicums. It was called belladonna because in medieval times women used a potion made from its sap to paralyse the pupils, leaving their eyes dilated: a biological sign of sexual arousal.

But enough of sex and murder, let’s get back to Hellebores, shall we?

Over the past decade, breeders have introduced plants with perky upright flowers, fringed, speckled and doubles in a variety of colours ranging from a maroon so deep it appears black to sunshine yellow.

New Variety Hellebores (Savvy Gardening)

As with any new varieties, especially ones that involve a 5 year-long investment from a grower, they are expensive. They can be up over £15, probably translating to about $25 for a reasonable size plant.

I would never pay top dollar buy a hellebore unless it is in flower. I have seen plants bearing no relation to the picture on the label. An alternative is to spend a quarter of the price for smaller plants and be patient. I bought small plants and 3 years later they have filled the pots.

Be warned Hellebore might not look reasonably sized when you buy them in early spring because most of the plant is underground in the pot. What counts is a large healthy root.
Hellebores flower before they get new leaves. Established plants will still have old leaves when they flower. Many gardeners cut back the old leaves, which are looking quite manky, to be frank, to expose the coming flowers. It does no damage to the plant, which will leaf up in late spring.

Hellebores are trouble free. Partial-shade lovers, they do best sheltered from the summer sun. I grow mine in pots; moving them to the back of the garden in summer.

Hellebores are promiscuous, producing seed of different colours. They are easy to grow from seed, but the vast majority of new plants are muddy colours. This is why they are expensive. Growers need to cultivate hundreds of seedlings to flowering size, keeping the best, discarding the rest, then propagating the specular ones through root cuttings.

As you know I am economical gardener. Let’s face it I’m as a tight as a duck’s arse… and that’s water- tight! Now is a great time to buy hellebores from the cheap-seats in the garden centre: better than half-price. If you can, pick those with faded flowers to confirm the colour. Otherwise take pot luck, they might not be exact but then you might not be as fussy as me.

If you want a robust exotic looking summer plant for a semi-shaded place in the garden I recommend Corsican and Stinking Hellebores – it don’t stink!) These sub-shrubs have exotic deeply cut foliage, although their towers of green bell like flowers are not unattractive, if unsecular. They will get winter damage and even die back to the ground but they do return!

Corsican Hellebore (Gardinesta)

Happy poisoning…
Sorry meant to write gardening!

©Paul Andruss 2018

Thank you again to the Paul for sharing his expertise in relation to plants and in this case the murderous history of the Hellebores…. perfect for thriller and murder writers..

About Paul Andruss.

Paul Andruss is a writer whose primary focus is to take a subject, research every element thoroughly and then bring the pieces back together in a unique and thought provoking way. His desire to understand the origins of man, history, religion, politics and the minds of legends who rocked the world is inspiring. He does not hesitate to question, refute or make you rethink your own belief system and his work is always interesting and entertaining. Whilst is reluctant to talk about his own achievements he offers a warm and generous support and friendship to those he comes into contact with.

Paul Andruss is the author of 2 contrasting fantasy novels

Thomas the Rhymer – a magical fantasy for ages 11 to adult about a boy attempting to save fairy Thomas the Rhymer, while trying to rescue his brother from a selfish fairy queen

When Fairy Queen Sylvie snatches his brother, schoolboy Jack is plunged into a sinister fantasy world of illusion and deception – the realm of telepathic fairies ruled by spoilt, arrogant fairy queens.

Haunted by nightmares about his brother and pursued by a mysterious tramp (only seen by Jack and his friends) Jack fears he too will be stolen away.

The tramp is Thomas the Rhymer, who only speaks in rhyme. Lost and frightened Thomas needs Jack’s help to find his way home.

The race is on for Jack and his friends to save Thomas from the wicked Agnes Day (who wants to treat Thomas like a lab rat). And save Jack’s brother from Sylvie.
To do this they need the help of Bess – the most ancient powerful fairy queen in the land.
But there is a problem…
No one knows where Bess is… or even if she is still lives.
And even if they find her… will she let them go?

Read the reviews and buy the book:

And Amazon UK:

Finn Mac CoolFinn Mac Cool – rude, crude and funny, Finn Mac Cool is strictly for adults only.

When the fairy folk deliver a soldier called Finn (the first outsider in plague-stricken Ireland for a decade) Erin believes he is Finn Mac Cool – returned to kill the tyrant King Conor Mac Nessa of Ulster. and free Great Queen Maeve – Ireland’s true ruler & Erin’s dying mother.

The druids kidnap Finn – planning to turn him into the hero Finn Mac Cool – who will save the world by destroying it.

Erin goes in looking for Finn – so he can kill Conor Mac Nessa before her mother’s dream of a free Ireland dies with her.

Erin’s quest draws her ever-deeper into Ireland’s ancient mythological landscape; a place…
… Where dream and reality merge
… Where a man’s fate is written fifteen hundred years before he was born
… Where books are legends & a library a myth
… Where people hate Christians for defying the gods
… Where phony druids use real magic

Find out more and buy the book:

and Amazon UK:

Connect to Paul on social media.

Facebook Page:

My thanks again to Paul for another informative post to help us fill our gardens with colour. If you have any questions for Paul on gardening, please put in the comments.. thanks Sally

You can find Paul’s posts and the Gardening Column in this directory