Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – #Profiles – Bloggers – Motivators and Inspirers – The Story Reading Ape, Annette Rochelle Aben


Today two more long term supporters of the blog who I believe deserve a special mention. The Story Reading Ape, Chris Graham shares the posts of many of us each week as well as featuring guest writers, post links to all aspects of writing and of course his infamous Monday Funnies that usually star members of his own extended family including Maxine and Aunty Acid…not to be confused with Mary Poppins!!

My literature Hero is Terry Pratchett who, in one of his Science of Discworld books, postulated that Homo Sapiens Sapiens survived all the pitfalls that made other Homo Sapiens species become extinct, by being story telling apes.

If this is the case, then in order to be effective, for every story telling ape there had to be a story listening ape.

I am descended from them, except I read stories instead of listening to them; and author’s are the tellers of the stories I read.

I don’t so much read books as devour them, (sometimes re-devouring them several times), so I’ve set myself a long term task, to list all the books I’ve ever read on Goodreads – trouble is I’ve got the memory of a sieve and I must have read thousands of them!

After years of lugging books around with me when I travelled (pre-internet), or order them to be delivered to wherever I was (post internet), I got an eReader, which enables me to support my local library, as well as giving me access to practically every Kindle, EPUB & PDF format book ever published, via the internet.

Now all I have to do is spend the next several lifetimes reading them (I hope re-incarnation is true, although not having memories from previous lives might be a snag)

What is the purpose of my blog?

1. To introduce YOU to new (to me) authors I’ve come across in my wanderings through books and the cyberforest.

2. To provide a platform (battered old homemade soapbox) for authors to introduce themselves to you. (See my Contact Me Section for Guest Author article Guidelines)

3. As an informal information service to authors, poets, or anyone else who is thinking of becoming a published person of that ilk.

4. To promote FUN and an OASIS OF CALM and Font of useful Knowledge andTips for Indies (please do NOT feed my naughty chimps or they may follow you home) from the woes and stresses of the real world.

The Story Reading Ape buy: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK Blog: The Story Reading Ape Twitter: @StoryReadingApe

Here is this week’s Monday Funnies for you to enjoy and I do hope you will head over if you are not familiar with Chris and his blog and discover more: 24th May Monday Funnnies with The Story Reading Ape

The next person who I would like to place the spotlight on is Annette Rochelle Aben who has been a motivator and supporter to many of us. Her mindful and inspiring daily messages have brightened many a day. You will see evidence of her wide ranging support if you are on twitter @YouAreTheExpert

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.

A selection of  books by Annette Rochelle Aben

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And : Amazon UK – Follow Annette: Goodreads – Blog: Annette Rochelle Aben WordPress – Twitter:@YouAreTheExpert

 

Thanks for dropping in today and I hope that if you are not already following these amazing people you will head over to meet them in person. Thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Monday December 16th 2019 – #Afghanistan Mary Smith, #Advent Sue Vincent, #Funnies The Story Reading Ape


Time to catch up with Mary Smith’s Afghan adventures and this week an experience that must have been both a bit scary and heartwarming….

Afghan Adventures #13 #Babies

Although Hussain didn’t encourage house visits he could never bring himself to refuse, even though experience was teaching him the messenger’s ‘emergency’ was probably nothing worse than an indigestion attack. But there was always the fear that perhaps, this time, it really was a crisis.

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Shortly before dinner, one evening, a man arrived at the clinic to say that his wife was in labour and the ‘baby did not want to come out’. This threw us both into a panic. When visiting Rosanna, I had examined quite a number of women in various stages of pregnancy, but never had anything to do with actually delivering a baby. Before hurrying after the expectant father, we thumbed through the obstetrics books, trying to memorise relevant chapters.

Head over to read the rest of the story and if you have missed the previous episodes check them out:  Mary Smith’s Place Afghan Adventures #13 Babies

Mary Smith, Buy: Amazon US
Website: Mary SmithGoodreads: Goodreads

Please visit Amazon or Mary’s website to view all her books.

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Ani, The Small Black Dog has not only celebrated two book releases this month but has also been let loose by Sue Vincent to post her daily Advent Calendar. With some prestigious guests, including Garfield who owns the hooman author Noelle A. Granger.. expect some shenanigans…

Ani’s Advent 2019! Exploring, Cats and Christmas Trees…with Noelle Granger’s Garfield

Hey Santa!

It’s stopped raining for a bit, so things feel a lot better around here this morning. I don’t mind it being cold after all, even if she does complain when we go out for or early morning romp.

We both need that, to blow the cobwebs away and get our bodies moving on a morning… We don’t run as much as we used to and we’re not as supple as we used to be, but that doesn’t stop us playing like puppies sometimes.

It is too dark just now for her to take the camera thingy when we go out in the mornings, but she says it is good to just enjoy the day breaking and not think about anything else for a while. The sheep are still sleeping when we go out too and the cows are in their shed for the winter, so, unless there is the odd deer or pheasant out early, she doesn’t need to be too careful of me while we are out.

Head over to meet Garfield and enjoy his memories and meet more friends: Ani’s Advent Calendar – With Garfield and Christmas Trees

Sue Vincent  Buy: Amazon UKBlog: S.C. Vincent Goodreads: Sue Vincent

Please visit Amazon or Sue’s blog to view all her books and those written with Stuart France.

And for those of you who don’t like Mondays.. I have the perfect antidote…Funnies courtesy of Chris Graham, The Story Reading Ape…

Head over to enjoy all the funnies and cheer up it will soon be Christmas…lol: https://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/2019/12/16/reserved-for-monday-funnies-10/

The Story Reading Ape buy: Amazon US – Blog: The Story Reading Ape Twitter: @StoryReadingApe

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you will head over to enjoy these posts in full…thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Tuesday November 19th 2019 – #25books Patricia Furstenberg, #99p/99c Bette A. Stevens and #Funnies The Story Reading Ape.


The first post is from Patricia Furstenberg who has compiled a list of 25 books that she recommends having read them in 2019. You will see some familiar names on the list including D.G. Kaye, James J. Cudney, Jacqui Murray  and Brigid Gallagher as well as a mention for one of my books.. Always great to have recommendations and there are plenty here.

25 Books for Christmas, The List #GiftIdeas #FeedYourKindle

25 Books for Christmas celebrates engaging stories by talented authors. If you’re in need of a kids’ gift, a captivating YA or Sci-Fi for your teen, a romance or a Rom-com, a humorous book, poetry or memoir, a captivating historical novel, crime or contemporary fiction -I hope you will find that Christmas stocking filler or last-minute e-Book to feed your kindle right here. The books on this list are written by gifted authors with vibrant personalities and talents that extend beyond these publications.

Happy browsing and a happy holiday! Thank you for visiting.

Choose from:

Books for Children
YA, Science-Fiction and Fantasy
Women’s Romance, Saga and Rom Com
Spiritual, Poetry, Memoir, Short Stories
Historical Fiction
Humorous Fiction
Crime and Contemporary Fiction

Head over and top up your Kindle with some great books: Patricia Furstenberg – Feed your Kindle for Christmas

Patricia Furstenberg, Buy:Amazon US Blog:  Alluring Creations Goodreads: Goodreads

Now more books that are on offer from Bette A. Stevens between now and 21st November – all 99p/99c.

Head over to get more details and the links to buy the books: Free books offer Bette A. Stevens

Bette A. Stevens, Buy: Universal link Website/blog: 4 Writers and ReadersGoodreads: Bette on Goodreads

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And to end the post, a touch of humour from the enclosure of The Story Reading Ape.. and after reading, please check your sofa beds for unwanted visitors…

Check the rest of the funnies…. and the sofa bed: The Story Reading Ape Monday Funnies

I hope that you will head over and enjoy these posts in full… thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Tuesday October 8th – The Story Reading Ape, Alison Williams and Shehanne Moore


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

I know that it is only Tuesday and probably a little early for the mid-week blues… but it is always a good day to share The Story Reading Ape’s weekly funnies.. here are a couple to whet your appetite…

Head over for more Halloween fun and games: https://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/2019/10/07/reserved-for-monday-funnies/

Buy the Book: https://www.amazon.com/Agnes-Mae-Graham/e/B01HAJF4JKBlog: https://thestoryreadingapeblog.comGoodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15428253.Agnes_Mae_Graham

The next post is a book review from Alison Williams…for The Good Daughter by bestselling author Karin Slaughter

One ran. One stayed. But who is…the good daughter?

Twenty-eight years ago, Charlotte and Samantha Quinn’s childhoods were destroyed by a terrifying attack on their family home. It left their mother dead. It left their father – a notorious defence attorney – devastated. And it left the family consumed by secrets from that shocking night.

Twenty-eight years later, Charlie has followed in her father’s footsteps to become a lawyer. But when violence comes to their home town again, the case triggers memories she’s desperately tried to suppress. Because the shocking truth about the crime which destroyed her family won’t stay buried for ever…

Head over and read Alison’s review: https://alisonwilliamswriting.wordpress.com/2019/10/01/the-good-daughter-by-karin-slaughter-tuesdaybookblog-bookreview/

Editing Services: https://alisonwilliamswriting.wordpress.com/editorial-services/Twitter: https://twitter.com/AlisonW_Editor

The final post today is from Shehanne Moore (and the Dudes) who is interviewing Sandy Barker author of One Summer in Santorini..

Head over and read the rest of the interview and don’t let the Hamstahs distract you.. easily done!: https://shehannemoore.wordpress.com/2019/10/07/sandy-barker-and-a-santorini-summer/

Shehanne Moore, Buy: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Shehanne-Moore/e/B00CMBK7BW
Blog: https://shehannemoore.wordpress.com/ – Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7029905.Shehanne_Moore

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

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #PotLuck – The Story Reading Ape and his Guest Billy Ray Chitwood


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

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

Here is the fourth post from Christopher Graham, The Story Reading Ape. He suggested that having such an extensive archive, that I share some of his guest posts. It serves another purpose apart from showcasing that guest, as it is reminder to you that Chris loves having new guest write for his blog. This week I have chosen a guest post from an author who is also in the Cafe and Bookstore over here.. Billy Ray Chitwood.

The Story Reading Ape and his Guest Billy Ray Chitwood.

My name is Billy Ray Chitwood.

Giving my name gives me away…but, then, that’s what I wish to do! That’s what one does when one writes an honest introductory article – ‘rat’ on your life, where you’ve been, the scandals, the ‘ugly rap sheets’, the fourteen books I’ve written, the 350-plus blog posts…

Okay, cute, but leave out ‘scandals’ and ‘ugly rap sheets’ from the last sentence in the preceding paragraph. There are none! Really, there are none! Unless we go way back in time to a Sunday night car wreck caused by Lambda Chi Alpha, my fraternity and its initiation rite.

Okay, not so cute and not so true on the above last line of the preceding paragraph.

Don’t leave, please! I promise to play straight from this point onward.

Here is my true story…

My name does give away my heritage. Born in poverty in an Appalachian Saw Mill Camp prior to mid-century 1900s, there was enough emotional see-saws to ride to keep this young lad confused and immeasurably displaced with all the broken family messes. It was rather common for the time with a lot of good people sick with Malaria, out of jobs, and ‘the creek was rising’…ah, stop it! you can’t put a happy face on that part of your life. It was the pits!

However, I won’t use this space to cover that period, but there is a book I wrote that captures the essence of that memorable childhood and the era (actually, two books) – Woody Guthrie and his son, Arlo, had some songs to sing about those days.

My narrative takes a quick shift as I leave high school and escape the poignancy of youth for the adult world of neon lights, lovely ladies, and too much partying. That is, after my stint in the United States Navy. The old USN corrected my path as much as it could.

After serving part of my enlistment in Adak, a tiny military island in the Aleutian Islands where tundra and whiskey either makes a man or destroys him, my new duty station was Washington, DC where I worked in a security division, feeling somehow special, helping in some small way to keep our nation safe.

Well, the island of Adak and Washington did for me all they could.

Back stateside I became a ‘lotus eater’ for a while, you know, that group Odysseus discovered in mythology who spent their days in languorous daze (another cutesy – days, daze!), eating and imbibing their way to some sort of Nirvana.

Actually, most of that wild living period came after my honorable discharge from the Navy, after 10-years of a failed marriage, after a college degree, during some acting in TV commercials, film, and modeling.

What I ask you to believe in all this is that the ladies I met, some I married, were all beautiful of body and soul, and, for the most part, sensitive to where I had been up to that point in time.

My writing was something placed inside of me by the Almighty and, I suppose, by genetic structuring. I began as a young boy playing with poetry and with songs. I mimicked great vocalists like Nat King Cole and John Gary, like my hero, Frank Sinatra, like Perry Como and legend-still, Tony Bennett. What writing talent was mine stayed ‘on hold’ during the days of WWS – Wine, Women, Song! – to be taken up again in the eighties.

Sure, I’m aware of the portrait I’m painting here but nothing sets you free as well as the truth…and that is what’s being conveyed here.

The portrait is not very attractive, perhaps, but just think of the writing ideas that come to me during those sleepless nights when my demons visit me – and, without a doubt, I know in certainty and in my introspective moments that what has made its home in my Romantic and Wanderlust heart are the meek and humble beginnings in Appalachia.

This might very well surprise you (if you don’t mind being surprised!): despite my wayward journey from the hills of Tennessee lo those many years ago, there is really nothing I would change – even the sometimes agony and angst in my demon visits. It is that fodder for the soul that connects me with the characters and with the lines that embrace the narratives of my books and blog posts.

My writing, I believe to be good if not pure. Many of my novels are inspired by true life criminal acts, gritty and raw. I’ve had this curse of curiosity about the evil in our world, the psychopaths and socio-paths that abuse our children, kill them and so many other innocents. So, I write in the mystery, suspense, and thriller genres, but also write romance novels that have a suspenseful edge, even rich love stories with a ‘time travel’ element.

Of course, I wish my books to sell, but even if there be no best sellers that I pen, it will not stop my writing.

Writing gives me my therapy, my raison d’être, a new life to explore here in ‘Twilight’.

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About The Story Reading Ape

It does not matter if you blog once a week, once a day or several times a day but it does matter that it is consistent. We all love the fact that people who have dropped in on the off chance keep coming back for more. In my opinion it is down to the quality of the posts and also the expectation that readers will find something of interest.

The Story Reading Ape has this down to a fine art and the list of subjects that adorn his enclosure is lengthy. He is certainly a huge supporter of Indie authors across all genres and stages of their career and offers articles and information that is invaluable.

Chris has also published a volume of his mother’s poetry

One of the reviews for the collection

A charming book that reflects a woman’s life and times in verse…and humour. Rosie and Willie had me chuckling, especially as I can see just where Willie is coming from! The poems are written from an Irish perspective, but there is much a Yorkshirewoman can recognise.

The verses about the Troubles made me think. I could feel the pain in the words. “What matters is the depth of God’s sighs.”

There are memories that I seem to remember through my own mother and grandmothers’ tales, of a time now gone and a world awakening before a young woman’s eyes.

And the story of the Old, Old Man had me in tears.

Published by her son as a labour of love, in tribute to his mother, Agnes Mae Graham’s work stands up all on its own.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/My-Vibrating-Vertebrae-other-poems-ebook/dp/B01HA8Q116

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/My-Vibrating-Vertebrae-other-poems-ebook/dp/B01HA8Q116

Part of Chris’s immense enclosure is given over to The Great Hall of Fame This is where Indies can exhibit their work by penning an article talking about themselves and their work. (Talk about a writers dream!) Once posted the author is then elevated to the Hall of Fame to reside with hundreds of other authors from around the world, who have taken that exciting but challenging step of being a published author. http://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/halls-of-fame/tsras-hall-of-fame/

Connect to Chris

Blog: http://thestoryreadingapeblog.com
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/15359652-chris-the-story-reading-ape
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PromotionOfNewAuthorsAndBooks?ref=hl
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Storyreadingape

My thanks to Chris for allowing me to access his archives… and I am sure he would love your feedback.. thanks Sally.

 

 

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #Potluck – The Story Reading and his guest author A.C. Flory


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

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

Here is the third post from Christopher Graham, The Story Reading Ape. He suggested that having such an extensive archive, that I share some of his guest posts. It serves another purpose apart from showcasing that guest, as it is reminder to you that Chris loves having new guest write for his blog. This week I am sharing the guest post in 2017 from author A.C. Flory.

The Story Reading and his guest author A.C. Flory

“Hi, my name is Andrea, and I’m a writer,” she said, stumbling over her words.

That’s me, A.C. Flory, science fiction writer and introvert extraordinaire. I’m not stereotypically shy, and if you ask me about one of my passions, I’ll happily chew your ear off, but talking about myself and my writing still feels…odd. Perhaps that’s why I didn’t start writing fiction until I was forty-eight.

I may have been a late bloomer when it came to storytelling, but reading was another matter entirely. I began reading for pleasure when I was eight, and by twelve I’d read Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment…and loved it. Before anyone gets too excited, I have to point out that education was very different back then, especially in the Catholic school system. We were expected to be really good at ‘reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmetic’ by the time we reached the end of primary school, so I was not all that precocious.

By the time I reached secondary school in the early 60s [1960s] I’d lightened up quite a bit, and I remember writing a brilliant, humorous essay about the digestive system for a school assignment. Well, I thought it was funny. The teacher disagreed, and that was where my fledgling writing career stalled for the next few decades.

When I say ‘stalled’, I don’t mean that I stopped writing; I spent most of my twenties in universities so I did a lot of writing. For my BA., I majored in Philosophy and Japanese. Lots of writing there. Then there was even more writing for my Dip. Ed., followed by lab. reports and statistical analyses for Behavioural Sciences. And finally, there was a decade of user guides for off the shelf computer software. But in all that writing, I didn’t write fiction. At All.

Some authors talk about writing stories from the moment they’re old enough to hold a pen, but I never did. I always saw myself as logical and pragmatic, so my imagination only came out to play in that twilight zone between true wakefulness and sleep. Yet in hindsight, I recognize that even in my day dreams, the story had to make sense.

Meanwhile, out in the real world, my waking self was having some adventures of her own. I spent a year in Europe, learned to ride a motorbike, went up in an unmanned glider [as a passenger] and almost lost my lunch when the pilot of a small aircraft showed me what a barrel roll felt like from the inside. And all the while, I was learning life lessons as well, not all of them pleasant.

Yet, unbeknownst to me, learning about my own strengths and weaknesses was another necessary step on the path to becoming a writer. Research is vitally important, but no amount of second-hand information can provide insights into the human condition. Only empathy and experience can do that. To write about life, you first have to live.

Well, I did my living, and when life became a bit too stressful, I escaped into the worlds of science fiction and fantasy: the Lord of the Rings, Stranger in a Strange Land, Dune, The Left Hand of Darkness, Otherland, The Farseer Trilogy, Wool, Necromancer, Perdito Street Station…all brilliant novels that showed how character, world building, plot and beautiful prose could combine to create something truly extraordinary.

A lot of people think that writing good fiction requires nothing more than a novel idea, a firm grasp of grammar and a decent spell-checker, but they’re wrong. Fiction is all about persuasion, and learning how to persuade is not easy.

It took me thirteen years to learn how to create believable worlds and believable people, but the hardest lesson of all involved unlearning all I thought I knew about writing.

Writing fiction is not about precision and logic, it’s about feelings and effortless, flowing prose that provides the hidden ‘soundtrack’ to the action. It’s not poetry, but the choice of one word rather than another can change the whole rhythm of a sentence. And what is the core of music but rhythm?

I often read my work out loud, much to the confusion of my dog, to ensure the ‘music’ sounds right. And I always write with music, to put the technical writer in me to sleep.

In many ways, I’m still day dreaming for my own enjoyment, but at least now, I’ve found the confidence to share my dreams with others. And who knows? Maybe one day, I won’t stumble when I introduce myself as a writer. 🙂

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Amazon:

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About The Story Reading Ape

It does not matter if you blog once a week, once a day or several times a day but it does matter that it is consistent. We all love the fact that people who have dropped in on the off chance keep coming back for more. In my opinion it is down to the quality of the posts and also the expectation that readers will find something of interest.

The Story Reading Ape has this down to a fine art and the list of subjects that adorn his enclosure is lengthy. He is certainly a huge supporter of Indie authors across all genres and stages of their career and offers articles and information that is invaluable.

Chris has also published a volume of his mother’s poetry

One of the reviews for the collection

A charming book that reflects a woman’s life and times in verse…and humour. Rosie and Willie had me chuckling, especially as I can see just where Willie is coming from! The poems are written from an Irish perspective, but there is much a Yorkshirewoman can recognise.

The verses about the Troubles made me think. I could feel the pain in the words. “What matters is the depth of God’s sighs.”

There are memories that I seem to remember through my own mother and grandmothers’ tales, of a time now gone and a world awakening before a young woman’s eyes.

And the story of the Old, Old Man had me in tears.

Published by her son as a labour of love, in tribute to his mother, Agnes Mae Graham’s work stands up all on its own.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/My-Vibrating-Vertebrae-other-poems-ebook/dp/B01HA8Q116

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/My-Vibrating-Vertebrae-other-poems-ebook/dp/B01HA8Q116

Part of Chris’s immense enclosure is given over to The Great Hall of Fame This is where Indies can exhibit their work by penning an article talking about themselves and their work. (Talk about a writers dream!) Once posted the author is then elevated to the Hall of Fame to reside with hundreds of other authors from around the world, who have taken that exciting but challenging step of being a published author. http://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/halls-of-fame/tsras-hall-of-fame/

Connect to Chris

Blog: http://thestoryreadingapeblog.com
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/15359652-chris-the-story-reading-ape
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PromotionOfNewAuthorsAndBooks?ref=hl
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Storyreadingape

My thanks to Chris for allowing me to access his archives… and I am sure he would love your feedback.. thanks Sally.

 

 

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #PotLuck – The Story Reading Ape with his Guest Michelle Clements James


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

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

Here is the second post from Christopher Graham, The Story Reading Ape. He suggested that having such an extensive archive, that I share some of his guest posts. It serves another purpose apart from showcasing that guest, as it is reminder to you that Chris loves having new guest write for his blog. This week I am sharing the guest post in 2014 of Michelle Clements James who is a wonderful supporter of this blog too and most of yours I would imagine.

The Story Reading Ape – and his guest Michelle Clements James

I am a reader, not a writer. So why am I blogging?

I am a reader, and I blog about sharing the books I love whether romance, historical fiction, chick lit, biography, memoir, fantasy, classic, contemporary fiction, and children’s books. What I will never read are thrillers (I even hid behind a pillow during JURASSIC PARK). My blog is a place to talk about current reads, and many of the wonderful books I’ve read over the years, as well. Occasionally I throw in a post about my family. I recently participated in the A to Z Challenge to write a post every day during April. I invite comments and recommendations to all posts.

A bit about me…

I was born and raised in the suburbs of Cincinnati, Ohio and raised my children here as well. I went to college at the University of Cincinnati and majored in Geology with a minor in German and in English.

After college, I entered the workforce, but soon left that behind when my children were born. While raising my sons, I embarked on a fulfilling volunteer path for such groups as our local children’s hospital, church, neighborhood association, PTA, classroom volunteer, Kindervelt (a local non-profit to benefit Cincinnati Children’s Hospital), military academy parents’ organization, and Make-a-Wish. Volunteering enabled me to develop lifelong leadership skills and establish an extensive professional and social network.

Of course, I have always been a voracious reader, seeking out books that are both satisfying and enjoyable. I have endeavored quite successfully to pass my love of reading on to my sons and grandchildren.

I am married to my soul mate and have three amazing adult sons and two wonderful daughters-in-law. At present count, I have three grandsons and a granddaughter. My grandchildren bring me the greatest joy imaginable.

From a Reader’s Point of View

I started blogging to share my thoughts on books I’ve read and a few other things besides (grandchildren included). But, I am a reader, not a writer as is clearly stated in the first line of the  About page on my blog Book Chat. So why am I writing now? We-e-e-l-l, Chris the Story Reading Ape asked me to write something from a reader’s point of view.

Do I like to read? You bet! I will read anything I can get my hands on – short stories, the newspaper, books, poetry, magazines, cereal boxes. You get my point. I say anything, but that’s not quite true. I don’t particularly like science fiction, and I refuse to read anything spooky. No thrillers for me…none…zilch…nada…NEVER!

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Reading books is by far my favorite, so what do I look for in a book?

  1. Characters that seem real are a must. This to me is the most important attribute. I want to get to know the characters, have a relationship with them whether friend or foe, good guy or bad. I want them to have depth, to be flawed, have the same problems as everyone else. And…I want them to be memorable!
  2. Plot. Plot is the second aspect I look for in a book. I expect something that is plausible and yet intense. I want it to pull me in from the start. I will read as far as a hundred pages, and if it hasn’t hooked me, I will go no further. Hey, there are too many fish in the sea books to settle for something that is sub-par. Give me a unique story line. Nothing is worse than reading a book that retells the same story with different people and places. Surprise me! Be creative! Give me something new! Do your homework. Don’t tell me every detail, lead me there. Just show me the way and leave room for my imagination.
  3. The ending? Again surprise me. Don’t be predictable. I don’t want to figure it out half way through the book (why finish?). Bring your story to an ending that is unforgettable. Leave me with a moral quandary to ponder. Please don’t just ride off into the sunset.

If a book doesn’t hold my interest in the above three areas, I will probably not pick up another by the same author.

Will I read a book that expresses political or religious beliefs, cultural or racial differences? Absolutely, but my reviews are about what is written, and are not necessarily my personal views.

Am I critical of the author? Yes and no. I will tell it as I see (or read) it, but I don’t believe in trashing a book or its author. It is perfectly okay for you to like a book I can’t stand or for me to love one that you couldn’t bring yourself to finish. My goal is that the reader, after perusing my reviews, will find a book worthy of his/her time.

ebook_vs_book

E-Book or Physical Book? I love the feel and smell of a real bound book, but the convenience of being able to take a couple of books (okay, okay – a LOT of books) on my e-reader wherever I go is hard to resist. It is my favorite travel companion. There is no more finishing a book and wondering what to do for the next hour of the flight. I just start the next e-book.

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Ok folks, I’ve got to go. I hear another book begging to be read, but if you’d like to visit with me, you can find me at the following online links:

My WordPress BlogMy Tumblr Blog

FacebookTwitterPinterestGoogle+Goodreads

About The Story Reading Ape

It does not matter if you blog once a week, once a day or several times a day but it does matter that it is consistent. We all love the fact that people who have dropped in on the off chance keep coming back for more. In my opinion it is down to the quality of the posts and also the expectation that readers will find something of interest.

The Story Reading Ape has this down to a fine art and the list of subjects that adorn his enclosure is lengthy. He is certainly a huge supporter of Indie authors across all genres and stages of their career and offers articles and information that is invaluable.

Chris has also published a volume of his mother’s poetry

One of the reviews for the collection

A charming book that reflects a woman’s life and times in verse…and humour. Rosie and Willie had me chuckling, especially as I can see just where Willie is coming from! The poems are written from an Irish perspective, but there is much a Yorkshirewoman can recognise.

The verses about the Troubles made me think. I could feel the pain in the words. “What matters is the depth of God’s sighs.”

There are memories that I seem to remember through my own mother and grandmothers’ tales, of a time now gone and a world awakening before a young woman’s eyes.

And the story of the Old, Old Man had me in tears.

Published by her son as a labour of love, in tribute to his mother, Agnes Mae Graham’s work stands up all on its own.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/My-Vibrating-Vertebrae-other-poems-ebook/dp/B01HA8Q116

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/My-Vibrating-Vertebrae-other-poems-ebook/dp/B01HA8Q116

Part of Chris’s immense enclosure is given over to The Great Hall of Fame… This is where Indies can exhibit their work by penning an article talking about themselves and their work. (Talk about a writers dream!) Once posted the author is then elevated to the Hall of Fame to reside with hundreds of other authors from around the world, who have taken that exciting but challenging step of being a published author. http://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/halls-of-fame/tsras-hall-of-fame/

Connect to Chris

Blog: http://thestoryreadingapeblog.com
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/15359652-chris-the-story-reading-ape
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PromotionOfNewAuthorsAndBooks?ref=hl
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Storyreadingape

My thanks to Chris for allowing me to access his archives… and I am sure he would love your feedback.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – The Story Reading Ape – A selection of Guest Posts – Emily Gmitter


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

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

The first blogger to give me permission to delve into his files is Christopher Graham, The Story Reading Ape. He suggested that having such an extensive archive that I share some of his guest posts. It serves another purpose apart from showcasing that guest, as it is reminder to you that Chris loves having new guest write for his blog.

This first guest post from Chris’s archives is from Emily Gmitter.... and when I read it I was very moved and I think you will be too.

Image from Pixabay, Title: Broken

Who Lives Here? by Emily Gmitter

Who lives here? Everywhere I look, I see boxes. Boxes piled one on the other, against every wall. Boxes delivered but never opened. Things bought but never used. Magazines and mail, unopened, sit in unsteady piles on the coffee table, alongside odds and ends that also did not belong there, but which had no choice but to make that table their home. On every chair sit empty food containers and soda cans … guests who have long since outworn their welcome.

Who lives here? I wondered, as my teary eyes took in the disarray, as my feet wandered cautiously through the cluttered rooms. Pain ripped my heart. I thought I knew who lived here. I did know the name. I even knew the face. But I didn’t know … this.

Her home is full of things old and new; ostensibly, the house is teeming with life. But there was no life. That energy had died long ago. The sights of sadness overwhelmed my senses. Loneliness came out of the shadows, shouting from each corner of every room. But there had been nobody there to hear.

She stood in the doorway now, a brooding, silent shell of the woman I knew. Watching me, sensing my disbelief.

It was a surprise visit. Perhaps I should have called first. But then I would never have known.

I look her way, a question in my eyes, and see despair in hers. But despair could not hide her shame, for all the things she could not honor.

I reach out to her and, without a word, she enters the safety of my arms. I hold her tight and reassure her that everything is all right . . . everything will be just fine.

Who lives here? Depression lives here.

©Emily Gmitter

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sunrise_photo3-758x194I think you will agree with me that this is a very powerful and moving piece from Emily Gmitter.

About The Story Reading Ape

It does not matter if you blog once a week, once a day or several times a day but it does matter that it is consistent. We all love the fact that people who have dropped in on the off chance keep coming back for more. In my opinion it is down to the quality of the posts and also the expectation that readers will find something of interest.

The Story Reading Ape has this down to a fine art and the list of subjects that adorn his enclosure is lengthy. He is certainly a huge supporter of Indie authors across all genres and stages of their career and offers articles and information that is invaluable.

Chris has also published a volume of his mother’s poetry

One of the reviews for the collection

A charming book that reflects a woman’s life and times in verse…and humour. Rosie and Willie had me chuckling, especially as I can see just where Willie is coming from! The poems are written from an Irish perspective, but there is much a Yorkshirewoman can recognise.

The verses about the Troubles made me think. I could feel the pain in the words. “What matters is the depth of God’s sighs.”

There are memories that I seem to remember through my own mother and grandmothers’ tales, of a time now gone and a world awakening before a young woman’s eyes.

And the story of the Old, Old Man had me in tears.

Published by her son as a labour of love, in tribute to his mother, Agnes Mae Graham’s work stands up all on its own.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/My-Vibrating-Vertebrae-other-poems-ebook/dp/B01HA8Q116

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/My-Vibrating-Vertebrae-other-poems-ebook/dp/B01HA8Q116

Part of Chris’s immense enclosure is given over to The Great Hall of Fame… This is where Indies can exhibit their work by penning an article talking about themselves and their work. (Talk about a writers dream!) Once posted the author is then elevated to the Hall of Fame to reside with hundreds of other authors from around the world, who have taken that exciting but challenging step of being a published author. http://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/halls-of-fame/tsras-hall-of-fame/

Connect to Chris

Blog: http://thestoryreadingapeblog.com
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/15359652-chris-the-story-reading-ape
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PromotionOfNewAuthorsAndBooks?ref=hl
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Storyreadingape

Smorgasbord Easter Parade Blog Party – Part One – Eggellent time to add your links!! – Music, Dancing, Food, and Behatted Guests..


Welcome to the Smorgasbord Easter Parade with some behatted guests, music, humour and food. And since you have dropped in today.. please don’t leave without leaving the link to your latest post…. or your Amazon link and a little bit about yourself.

While you are all standing around waiting for the parade to begin.. here is the first of the entertainers…

Here we have Laura Ganley of the Ganley Sisters,  http://www.theganleysisters.com/ performing a Sean-Nos Barrel dance! All on a Wild West Irish Tour!

We have quite a few special guests today who have joined us from all over the world, wearing a hat of their choice or have brought a guest wearing one….and the first to join the parade is children’s author Darlene Foster who has travelled all the way from Spain to take part.

About Darlene Foster

Darlene Foster is a writer, an employment counsellor, an ESL tutor for children, a wife, mother and grandmother. She loves travel, shoes, cooking, reading, sewing, chocolate, music, the beach and making new friends. Her 13-year-old grandson called her “super-mega-woman-supreme”.

“Amanda in Arabia-The Perfume Flask” was her first published novel. Once bitten by the travel bug, Amanda travels to other interesting places, sticking her nose in other people’s problems and getting herself in trouble. Read “Amanda in Spain – The Girl in the Painting”, “Amanda in England – The Missing Novel”, “Amanda in Alberta – The Writing on the Stone”, and “Amanda on the Danube – The Sounds of Music” and “Amanda in New Mexico – Ghosts in the Wind” to find out the adventures Amanda has as she travels the world.

A small selection of books by Darlene.

Discover all of Darlene Foster’s books and reviews: http://www.amazon.com/Darlene-Foster/e/B003XGQPHA Find more reviews on Goodreads: Darlene Foster Visit her website: www.darlenefoster.ca

Please help yourself to a free coffee as you pass by.

The next guest is Science Fiction/Thriller author Richard Dee who has popped over from the South Coast of England..wearing his own version of an Easter bonnet…..

About Richard Dee

Richard Dee is a native of Brixham in Devon, England He left Devon when he was in his teens and settled in Kent. Leaving school at 16 he briefly worked in a supermarket, then went to sea and travelled the world in the Merchant Navy, qualifying as a Master Mariner in 1986.

Coming ashore to be with his growing family, he used his sea-going knowledge in several jobs, including Marine Insurance Surveyor and Dockmaster at Tilbury, before becoming a Port Control Officer in Sheerness and then at the Thames Barrier in Woolwich.

His first science-fiction novel Freefall was published in 2013, followed by Ribbonworld in 2015. September 2016 saw the publication of his Steampunk adventure The Rocks of Aserol and of Flash Fiction, a collection of Short Stories. Myra, the prequel to Freefall was published in 2017, along with Andorra Pett and the Oort Cloud Café, a murder mystery set in space and the start of a series featuring Andorra Pett, an amateur detective. He contributed a story to the 1066 Turned Upside Down collection and is currently working on prequels, sequels, and new projects.

A small selection of books by Richard Dee

Discover all the books and read the reviews: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Richard-Dee/e/B00CN4TTCG/ Read more reviews and follow Richard on Goodreads: Richard Dee – http://richarddeescifi.co.uk/ Connect to Richard via his website: http://richarddeescifi.co.uk/

Debby Gies will be joining the Monday Parade but in the meantime she has found all the funnies shared today. ..D.G. Kaye Writer Blog

Time for another guest and joining the parade is master storyteller Hugh Roberts who looks very Dapper in his boater and who has ferried it across from Wales this morning. Clearly prepared for the vagaries of the Irish weather!

About Hugh Roberts

My name is Hugh. I live in the city of Swansea, South Wales, in the United Kingdom.

My blog covers a wide range of subjects, the most popular of which are my posts on blogging tips. I’ve learned a lot about the world of blogging since I first discovered it in February 2014. All of the tips and advice I give are free of charge and will cost you nothing apart from, maybe, your time. To see all my posts that include blogging tips, click on the ‘Blogging Tips’ button on the menu bar.

I’m a member of the committee of the Bloggers Bash, a group set up to organise annual get-togethers for all bloggers. The next event is 15th June in London and full details can be found on the website about tickets and the awards: https://annualbloggersbash.com/about-the-bash/

Hugh is the author of two multi-genre short story collections and I can recommend both.

Books by Hugh Roberts

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hugh-W.-Roberts/e/B01N40ZABP – Read more reviews and follow Hugh on Goodreads:Hugh W. Roberts Connect to Hugh via his blog: https://hughsviewsandnews.com/

Time for a little more entertainment in the parade and still in Ireland… some music…Celtic dueling violins Smith & Nesbitt. Live from Hyde Park London. Uploaded by AdriFlaherty

If you are now feeling a little peckish.. here are some fresh Hot Cross Buns..please help yourself…

My next guest is Children’s author Victoria Zigler whose delightful books on family pets are very popular. She lives in South East England and has sent over a representative her much loved Kero.

About Victoria Zigler

My name is Victoria, but most of my friends and family call me Tori. Feel free to do the same.

Born in the shadow of the black mountains in Wales, I now live by the sea in the south-east of England with my husband, Kelly, a degu named Joshua, a pair of chinchillas named Mollie and Maizie, and a West Highland White Terrier named Lilie.

Having battled with glaucoma since birth, I now find myself completely blind. But I didn’t let that stop me from chasing the dream I’ve had since I was a young child: the dream of being a published author. I’ve loved to read and write since I learned how, and always wanted to get my work published. Finally, in 2012, I made that dream come true by self-publishing eBooks via Smashwords. Three years later, I began using CreateSpace to make my books available in print. So now I’m a published author of children’s fiction, as well as a couple of poetry collections; all of which are available in multiple eBook formats, and as paperback books.

A small selection of books by Victoria.

You can read reviews and buy the books from Amazon in print and audio: https://www.amazon.com/Victoria-Zigler/e/B00BHS9DQ6 Victoria has many more reviews on Goodreads: Victoria Zigler Connect to Tori via her website: http://www.zigler.co.uk/

My next guest  is the entertaining author Geoff Le Pard whose humour overflows onto social media as well.. I hear that he had the flight crew from Gatwick in stitches on his way over for the parade. I have substituted Geoff’s original hat for this photograph which I think is far more Easter orientated…..and funny.

 

About Geoff Le Pard

I have been writing creatively since 2006 when at a summer school with my family I wrote a short radio play. That led to a novel, some more courses, more novels, each better than the last until I took an MA at Sheffield Hallam. I published my first novel in 2014 – Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle. In 2015 a second followed – My Father and Other Liars. In 2016 I have an anthology of short stories out, Life, in a Grain of Sand. I have now added ‘memoir’ to my list of genres with the launch of Apprenticed To My Mother. Other novels can be found here. I write in a range of genres so there is something for everyone..

Before writing, I was a lawyer, ending up at the London Olympics. Now I mix writing with a range of activities, often walking to find inspiration or taking in a variety of sports events.

A selection of books by Geoff

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Geoff-Le-Pard/e/B00OSI7XA0 – Read more reviews and follow Geoff on Goodreads: Geoff Le Pard  Connect to Geoff via his website: http://geofflepard.com/

Time to join in with the West Coast Swing dancers from Sydney just mind the puddles… thanks to Swing Skool

Following on behind the Easter Bunny we have our next guest in today’s paradeRitu Bhathal lives in London and has joined us with her feline companion today.. As you can see Ritu wears many hats.. including being a published poet.

About Ritu Bhathal

Ritu Bhathal was born in Birmingham in the mid-1970’s to migrant parents, hailing from Kenya but with Indian origin. This colourful background has been a constant source of inspiration to her.

From childhood, she always enjoyed reading. This love of books is mostly credited to her mother. The joy of reading spurred her on to become creative in her own writing, from fiction to poetry. Winning little writing competitions at school and locally gave her the encouragement to continue writing.

As a wife, mother, daughter, sister, and teacher, she has drawn on inspiration from many avenues to create the poems that she writes. A qualified teacher, having studied at Kingston University, she now deals with classes of children as a sideline to her writing!

Ritu also writes a blog, a mixture of life and creativity, thoughts and opinions, which was awarded The Best Overall Blog Award at the Annual Bloggers Bash Awards in 2017.

The poetry collection by Ritu Bhathal

Read the reviews and buy:  https://www.amazon.co.uk/Poetic-RITUals-Ritu-Bhathal-ebook/dp/B01H46DN5Q Read more reviews and follow Ritu on Goodreads: Ritu Bhathal Connect to Ritu via her blog: https://butismileanyway.com/

My next guest is one who is very familiar to most of you.. Chris Graham, The Story Reading Ape who has gone the extra mile with his Easter photograph… thankfully his Cites wildlife permit was up to date to enable him to join us in Ireland today.

About the Story Reading Ape.

My literature Hero is Terry Pratchett who, in one of his Science of Discworld books, postulated that Homo Sapiens Sapiens survived all the pitfalls that made other Homo Sapiens species become extinct, by being story telling apes.

If this is the case, then in order to be effective, for every story telling ape there had to be a story listening ape.

I am descended from them, except I read stories instead of listening to them; and author’s are the tellers of the stories I read. I don’t so much read books as devour them, (sometimes re-devouring them several times), so I’ve set myself a long term task, to list all the books I’ve ever read on Goodreads – trouble is I’ve got the memory of a sieve and I must have read thousands of them!

The Indie author supporter.

Part of Chris’s immense enclosure is given over to The Great Hall of Fame… This is where Indies can exhibit their work by penning an article talking about themselves and their work. (Talk about a writers dream!) Once posted the author is then elevated to the Hall of Fame to reside with hundreds of other authors from around the world, who have taken that exciting but challenging step of being a published author. http://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/halls-of-fame/tsras-hall-of-fame/

Chris and his sister compiled his late mother’s wonderful poems written about growing up in Northern Ireland before, during and after the ‘Troubles’? My Vibrating Vertebrae and other Poems by Agnes Mae Graham

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/My-Vibrating-Vertebrae-other-poems-ebook/dp/B01HA8Q116   Read more reviews on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30845724-my-vibrating-vertebrae Connect to Chris, The Story Reading Ape: http://thestoryreadingapeblog.com

And last but not least in the parade today is Carol Taylor who is the resident foodie here on Smorgasbord. I mentioned the word ‘Partee’ and the she whipped up a bunch of friends, chartered a flight from Thailand and landed this morning…..

About Carol Taylor

Enjoying life in The Land Of Smiles I am having so much fun researching, finding new, authentic recipes both Thai and International to share with you. New recipes gleaned from those who I have met on my travels or are just passing through and stopped for a while. I hope you enjoy them.

I love shopping at the local markets, finding fresh, natural ingredients, new strange fruits and vegetables ones I have never seen or cooked with. I am generally the only European person and attract much attention and I love to try what I am offered and when I smile and say Aroy or Saab as it is here in the north I am met with much smiling.

Some of my recipes may not be in line with traditional ingredients and methods of cooking but are recipes I know and have become to love and maybe if you dare to try you will too. You will always get more than just a recipe from me as I love to research and find out what other properties the ingredients I use have to improve our health and wellbeing.

Exciting for me hence the title of my blog, Retired No One Told Me! I am having a wonderful ride and don’t want to get off, so if you wish to follow me on my adventures, then welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride also and if it encourages you to take a step into the unknown or untried, you know you want to…….Then, I will be happy!

Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology:  https://www.amazon.com/Phuket-Island-Writers-Anthology-Stories-ebook/dp/B00RU5IYNS You can find out more about Carol and catch up with her Food and Cookery Column HERE Connect to Carol via her blog: https://carolcooks2.com/

Please help yourself to a chocolate bunny before you join in the dancing of the incredible Indlondlo Traditional Zulu dance group who have featured as guest here on the blog several times in the last six years. You can find more amazing videos via their YouTube Channel. Indlondlo Zulu Dancers

Thank you for joining us today for part one of the Easter Parade.. Part Two on Monday with more guests and entertainment.

Please drop your links to your latest blog post that you would like to share.. and your Amazon Author Page if you have one… Thanks Sally.

 

Smorgasbord Posts from My Archives – Odd Jobs and Characters – Pub Landlady – Saturday Night Shenanigans #Cowes


This series shares some of the jobs I have turned my hand to over the years, and some were very odd. Not many have sat at a table between two teams of champion dairy cows, selling bull semen!  From those experiences, I have accumulated a massive dossier of characters and events that now take centre stage in my short stories.

If you have read my novel Just an Odd Job Girl you will have met some of them but over the next few weeks I hope to bring you some of the others that inspired and stimulated my imagination.

Not all these posts appeared on Smorgasbord as some fantastic blogging friends allowed me to guest post. If that is the case of course I will include their books and links.

This episode was kindly hosted by Chris, The Story Reading Ape: The Story Reading Ape Enclosure

You can find the previous odd jobs here: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/short-stories-odd-jobs-and-characters-2018/

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Following my management training with a well-known steak house chain and six months as assistant manager at one of their branches in Eastbourne, we were appointed as managers of a pub at the entrance to Cowes Harbour. A yachting centre and home to the Cowes Week regatta each year.

Public House Landlady – Saturday Night Shenanigans

It does amuse me slightly when people tell me that they dream of retiring and running a pub in the country. This is not a job for the faint-hearted and I am afraid the hours you need to put in are far longer than opening times. It is seven days a week and most pubs now are expected to serve food at lunchtimes and evenings, with drinking habits changing considerably over the last couple of decades. It is hard work and with increasing regulations to comply with, it can also be daunting. Not all customers are going to pop in for a quiet pint and go quietly on their way, and in some cases it can turn nasty within a few minutes.

The pub that we were appointed to in Cowes had been run for thirty years by the previous tenants. The clientele out of season, October to June, were the regular yacht crowd and a slightly older generation who came in for half of beer and a sandwich. We took over before Easter and my responsibility was to cook bar snacks at lunchtime and in the evening. I paid the brewery rent, running it as my own business, so had a certain amount of leeway. Having found the formula and tight portion control effective during my time with the steak house, I applied myself to creating a tasty but profitable menu.

Weekends were the busiest times as we had two large balconies that looked over the entrance to the harbour and out into the Solent. As we got into our stride and the summer season began, I could be serving 100 lunchtime snacks from my small kitchen and in the evenings, even more chicken, scampi and sausage and chips in a basket, flew out of the serving hatch from opening to closing time.

This was great, and we congratulated ourselves on our luck of landing such a great pub and its position. Then the summer cruises from Southampton began in the June and we found out what the locals had meant when they said…. ‘Just you wait’!

The trouble actually began on board these cruises as alcohol flowed cheaply and in great quantities. By the time the passengers arrived in Cowes an hour later, most were well inebriated and wanted to continue the spree. They landed at the far end of the high street from us and yet the flood ran unabated the entire length. The first Saturday we experienced this, we had wondered why our regulars, who would come in for their supper and pint were all missing. Then we heard a rumbling roar as if a tidal wave was about to pour through the double doors. Which it did as 200 or so skinheads swept into the bar; lining up noisily to be served more booze.

Luckily we tended to have more staff on for Saturday nights but clearly we were overwhelmed. Our new customers were not in the mood to eat, just to drink, and I went behind the bar to help out. They had about 90 minutes drinking time before embarking on their return cruise, and they had little interest in going out on the balcony to admire the sunset over the Solent. We served beer as quickly as possible, but no sooner had you cleared one wave, there was another shouting and swearing behind them. That first week they came and went without incident but we were not so lucky in following weeks.

Of course not all skinheads were out for a grand finale to the night with a good punch up. However, some were intent on getting drunk as quickly as possible, and things could kick off in an instant. Even then there were strict laws about serving drinks to minors and those who were already legless. The local police were out in force on Saturday nights in the high street, but even they would have found it difficult to determine the age of some of these lads and their ladies, let alone convince one of them that you were not going to serve them any more alcohol. We were legally obliged to be open for business because we belonged to a brewery who expected us to maximise takings. We had little option but to manage staff and security levels to ensure a smooth running operation.

Things came to a head about four weeks in, when the dreaded influx fell into the bar. I had bought a pick axe handle and it was displayed over the entrance to my kitchen in full view. Underneath were the immortal words. Attitude Adjuster. That night a fight broke out in the centre of the bar area and it was mayhem. I grabbed my attitude adjuster and shoved my way into the arena, where all the action was taking place, and managed to get a few of the combatants’ attention by shouting at the top of my voice. All went quiet as they were confronted by a very angry woman circling a pick axe handle around her head slowly but with intent! No doubt today I would be arrested for being in possession of a lethal weapon…but to be honest at the time, I really didn’t care.

In fact after that, word must have got out, that bad behaviour would not be tolerated and things quietened down somewhat. But, over that summer I was threatened by broken beer bottles, a good kicking and other repercussions. The police actually did us a favour by parking their vans outside our pub in the street, which deterred the more belligerent, and my kitchen after hours was used as a tea and sandwich spot for those going off duty.

Cowes Week was another highlight of the year, and we were warned that although the customers during that seven days were of a different age and temperament, that it would at times get very busy and difficult to manage. Firework Night in particular drew a huge crowd because of the two big balconies where you could view all the action. In preparation we had all the furniture taken out, plastic glasses for drinks and the only food served was sandwiches without any potentially hazardous cutlery. All week we had employed bouncers for the door, who were moonlighting wardens from Parkhurst, and doubled this up on Firework Night. Thankfully the two such celebrations during our time running the pub, passed off without major commotions.

I fictionalised this time in the pub in one of my books along with some of the characters that I met. Looking back at myself at twenty-five years old, I wondered at my ability to accept the summer shenanigans in my stride. Despite these incidents most of our days were unadventurous and wonderful experience for my future jobs, where I needed to be able to adapt and react quickly.

However, perhaps you can understand my amusement when people say that they dream of retiring and running a pub. Anywhere where people and booze come together has the potential to become interesting very quickly, even in a sleepy county village.

My short story anthologies.

You can find all my books at these links:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Sally-Cronin/e/B0096REZM2

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sally-Georgina-Cronin/e/B003B7O0T6

Smashwords for Epub: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/SallyGCronin

More reviews can be found on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7979187.Sally_Cronin

My thanks to Chris for his ongoing support for myself and all Indie authors.. we could not do it without him.

About The Story Reading Ape

It does not matter if you blog once a week, once a day or several times a day but it does matter that it is consistent. We all love the fact that people who have dropped in on the off chance keep coming back for more. In my opinion it is down to the quality of the posts and also the expectation that readers will find something of interest.

The Story Reading Ape has this down to a fine art and the list of subjects that adorn his enclosure is lengthy. He is certainly a huge supporter of Indie authors across all genres and stages of their career and offers articles and information that is invaluable.

Chris has also published a volume of his mother’s poetry

One of the reviews for the collection

These are stories or narrative poetry centered in Ireland written metrically with rhyme. The language flows well. Even when the stories seem dark the author’s heart shines through to light the way. For example, in “Ulter’s Shame”, a dark narrative with “blood stained footpaths and bullet spattered walls” we are not left with “screams” and “terror” but a resolution: “What matters is the depth of God’s sighs.”

She describes the people around her with kind brevity. The ending of “The Brownie Pack” states her love and humbly leaves it to God whether it is returned.

She describes the joyful and sorrowful mysteries of life. In “Tender to Touch” an old man buys a medicine from her. In his confusion he rubs it on his pained stomach rather than drinking it. Nonetheless, he’s cured and returns to thank her. In sadness, such as “Life!!”, she prays to God not to let the Devil win.

In the “The Lover” and “Kitty and Joe” we see death and love tied closely together and even though death wins in its ever objective way, I sense love redeeming each such victory as its own. This is a beautiful collection of very short stories or narrative poems that, perhaps because of their brevity, will linger in my mind enriching it.

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/My-Vibrating-Vertebrae-other-poems-ebook/dp/B01HA8Q116

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/My-Vibrating-Vertebrae-other-poems-ebook/dp/B01HA8Q116/

Part of Chris’s immense enclosure is given over to The Great Hall of Fame… This is where Indies can exhibit their work by penning an article talking about themselves and their work. (Talk about a writers dream!) Once posted the author is then elevated to the Hall of Fame to reside with hundreds of other authors from around the world, who have taken that exciting but challenging step of being a published author. http://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/halls-of-fame/tsras-hall-of-fame/

Connect to Chris
http://thestoryreadingapeblog.com
https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/15359652-chris-the-story-reading-ape
https://www.facebook.com/graham.christopher
https://www.facebook.com/PromotionOfNewAuthorsAndBooks?ref=hl
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