National Pumpkin Month…Facts…Trivia…and a delicious Thai Pumpkin Soup…


With Halloween around the corner, Carol Taylor shares some amazing Halloween Trivia and wonderful recipes including those with fabulous Thai twist…

National Pumpkin Month…Facts…Trivia…and a delicious Thai Pumpkin Soup…

Halloween is drawing near and I am sure lots of you have decorated your homes already please send me some photos so I can share your marvellous or scary themes and decorations…We would all love to see them…I would as Halloween is not really celebrated here or only by the American communities so no decorated homesteads just a few Halloween themed parties…

So don’t be shy share away and promote your blog on here…

Does China celebrate Halloween? 

There are several days and a whole entire month in China that are similar to Halloween. These are the Hungry Ghost Festival, the Qing Ming Festival, the last day of the seventh lunar month, and the Spring Festival. …

The UK celebrates Guy Fawkes …However  not so widely celebrated by many although growing in popularity… the manufacturers are jumping on the commercial bandwagon.

witch and black cat-1461961_640

Did you know? The word “witch” comes from the Old English wicce, meaning “wise woman.” The plural for wicce is Wiccan. Wiccan were highly respected people at one time. According to popular belief, witches held one of their two main meetings, or sabbats, on Halloween night.

This recipe is an authentic Thai recipe … Pumpkins and squash grow very well here and are found on every market stall and on every street food stall and so much is done with this versatile  vegetable  lots of lovely Thai desserts and soups…but I digress this lovely soup would look equally at home in your hollowed out Halloween pumpkin shell  and add a bit of Thai spice to your table. If you have little pumpkins then it would look beautiful served as individual portions.


Head over and get that recipe and be entertained..


via National Pumpkin Month…Facts…Trivia…and a delicious Thai Pumpkin Soup…


Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Book Marketing – Online Watering Holes for Authors – Facebook, Exclusive Watering Holes, and LinkedIn by Sally Cronin



So far in this series I have focused on Amazon Author pages, Goodreads and the book marketing potential of your covers, titles, tag lines and key words and making best use of your blog:

This week I am going to Facebook in relation to book marketing and also the benefits of joining an exclusive watering hole on social media platforms.

This is not intended to be the definitive guide to Facebook, but just some suggestions to new authors who are getting started. I am sure that those of you with established pages find them successful for your marketing needs, and am only sharing my own experiences.

When I first joined Facebook ten years ago it was to keep in touch with friends from work and places we had lived. It was a simpler time, and people chatted about their everyday lives and you shared as much or as little as you wanted to.

Over the years it has become increasingly more complicated, especially if you are a blogger and author looking to market your books and blog without creating a page and being constantly hassled to upgrade, pay to advertise etc. Which I did for a year, until I realised that my page was followed by those already following me on my personal page, and therefore I was spending my time growing a following that I already had.

There are new policies introduced on a regular basis that impacts your visibility. Posting and interactions with others is filtered, and not everything that you should be seeing is available to you or your friends. Also Facebook will decide to put posts into places such as Timeline Review for that adds time and additional effort to ensure that they are shared with others.

Another interesting issue that impacted authors was concerning reviews on Amazon, and the purge of hundreds of thousands of reviews from ‘friends’ and therefore assumed to be paid for or fake.




via Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Book Marketing – Online Watering Holes for Authors – Facebook, Exclusive Watering Holes, and LinkedIn by Sally Cronin

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore Book Marketing – Online Watering Holes for Authors – Part One – Is your Blog book marketing ready? – Sally Cronin


So far in this series I have focused on Amazon Author pages, Goodreads and the book marketing potential of your covers, titles, tag lines and key words:

In the next three posts I am going to look at the online social media platforms that are helpful in your efforts to market your books. None of them are perfect, not least of all because of the amount of personal data that is collected, but you are in business as an author and advertising is a key element of your strategy.

This week I am going to focus on blogging which in my experience over the last seven years is the one that offers the most options when it comes to book marketing, as it is combined with another crucial element… the marketing of you the author.

Blogworld is probably the most effective watering hole for writers.

There are an estimated 60 million bloggers on WordPress alone, and I recognise that it can take time to establish your own community of writers and readers. I started my own blog in 2012 but it was not until September 2013 that I really began building my brand consistently.

via Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore Book Marketing – Online Watering Holes for Authors – Part One – Is your Blog book marketing ready? – Sally Cronin

We’re going on a blog tour!


Congratulations again to Jessica Norrie for her latest release The Magic Carpet that I reviewed last week and can highly recommend. She is off on a blog tour taking to some great book blogs and in this post Jessica shares just some of the process involved in launching a book… I am sure it will sound familiar…Please give her a send off by reading and sharing the post.. thanks Sally.

We’re going on a blog tour!

When I published The Infinity Pool in 2015 I barely knew what a blog was, let alone a blog tour. I didn’t envisage blogging myself, and I had no idea of the goodwill, time, energy and commitment put into spreading the word about books by bookbloggers, helping readers choose and writers survive.

More experienced authors pointed me in their direction and I began to get in touch with them, mostly via Facebook. It could be laborious – not because the bookbloggers were obstructive or unhelpful, quite the opposite. They were generous, informative and kind. But life became full of tasks and lists:

  1. Identify and visit blogs.
  2. Get a deeper sense of their flavour by exploring a number of posts.
  3. Read guidelines, consider if they apply to me.
  4. If they do, construct a polite contact email.
  5. Await a reply, consider whether to contact again (most bloggers are very prompt about responding so this wasn’t often necessary. However, a sub task was keeping a record of who I’d contacted.)
  6. Sort out what I had to do when they replied with an invitation, eg write guest post / send blogger a copy for review / answer blogger’s q and a / fit answers to quirky format only used by individual blogger to help them stand out. Send them.

Please head over to read the other steps in the process and to share.. thank you Sally.

via We’re going on a blog tour!

MC blog tour

Book Review: Tales From The Irish Garden by Sally Cronin and Illustrated by Donata Zawadzla


I am so delighted that Tales from the Irish Garden is being enjoyed. I was never really a Fairy Tale sort of person, more into the adventure books, but somehow I got put under a spell.. Karen Anna Demers Dowdall has read and reviewed the book and I hope that you will head over and read the entire post… Thanks Sally

Book Review: Tales From The Irish Garden by Sally Cronin and Illustrated by Donata Zawadzla










Sally Cronin writes a delightful fairytale that children and adults will love. Beginning with the fact, if you don’t know anything about fairies, that fairies are very small beings that have a strong society of their own. They have all the same problems that humans have, but how they deal with their problems are quite different than humans. Their communities are quite diverse and that diversity brings them great strength in dealing with a few outliers that cause problems; like the Winter Fairy whose jealousy, insecurity, and mean spirit fail to give him any kind of reward in the end.

It is the kindness and love from the royal family, headed by Queen Filigree, that save the day when problems arise in her magic Kingdom of Magia. It is quite amazing that so many different beings like honeybees, spiders, voles, rabbits, messenger birds, Fluffy the Dragon, and many other kinds of beings, including stone guardians, manage to live in harmony together.

In Queen Filigree’s magical kingdom, where even Oaks and Elms help keep the Kingdom safe with their pollen. The trees help to prevent mean outliers from harming the Kingdom of Magia by creating dense areas of pollen that cause constant sneezing. However, one very difficult problem is the fact that no amount of help will save the Kingdom in its present location of 700 years.

Humans had decided to clear the entire area where the Palace of the Queen and all of her subjects abide. For 700 years the ancient Magnolia tree with deep roots had keep the fairies and other beings safe, until now. Including, all the honey bees whose honey was a key part of their income as well as a drink that was very important for health if not imbued too much or too often.


Please head over to read the entire review… thanks Sally


via Book Review: Tales From The Irish Garden by Sally Cronin and Illustrated by Donata Zawadzla

Why You Should Turn Your Story into a Screenplay (and how to do it)


I have one book that I would like to take on this route and so found this very interesting and helpful.. Head over to Ari Meghlen’s blog to read the rest of this guest post.

Why You Should Turn Your Story into a Screenplay (and how to do it)

Today I welcome writer A. S. McDermott onto my blog, who is sharing his advice on turning your story into a screenplay.

Big thanks to Arran for being today’s guest poster, please make sure to check out his links and details at the end of this post. 


So you’ve finished your novel or short story. You’re ready to send it out for publishing, either traditional or self-published.

A lot of this time will be spent waiting to hear back about queries you’ve sent out, thinking up ways to market your novel or anthology, and chewing your nails.

But there’s another way you can spend this time between the final draft and your hoped-for publication.

What if you took your story and turned it into a screenplay?

I know what you’re thinking. Isn’t that twice as much work? Isn’t screenplay format really hard to learn?

And aren’t the chances of getting the screenplay actually produced tiny? The answers are yes, not really, and probably. But the benefits of adapting your own story are numerous, regardless of whether it gets filmed. So let’s look at the why, and then we’ll address the how.

Why Should You Adapt Your Story for the Screen?

The main benefit to turning your book into a screenplay is that it’s a great writing exercise. In a novel, or even a longer short story, you have a huge amount of freedom with story structure.

Head over and read the rest of this very helpful post before you begin the process of turning your novel into a screenplay..


via Why You Should Turn Your Story into a Screenplay (and how to do it)

New Series – Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – New Blogger Promotion and Setting up your blog for accessibility, readability and sharing.


If you have been blogging for a year or less, this is a series where you can showcase four of your posts to a wider audience.. promote you blog and writing skills.  Also some tips on how to make your blog reader friendly.

Welcome to the new series of Posts from Your Archives that will run alongside the current series for a couple of weeks.

Before I go into the details of the new series, I thought you might like an update on the series that has been running through the summer and will continue to do so for another four weeks.

80 bloggers participated, with 320 posts covering a wide range of subjects.

I have had an amazing summer reading through 80 archives and I feel that not only have I learnt a great deal, but I have also discovered more about fellow bloggers that I interact with on a regular basis, made new friends and have been motivated by all the amazing work that is being created in our community.

The New Series.

I am sure that like me you remember those first weeks and months of blogging when you wondered if anyone was out there, and interested in what you had to say.   I sometimes still think that after seven years! I was very lucky to be adopted by several seasoned bloggers who gave me support, shared my posts and offered advice.

This series is to promote blogs that have been active for under 12 months so from September 2018. The aim is to boost readership of the blogs, promote the books or other creative work and to welcome the blogger into our community by offering support and encouragement.

Head over and find out more…it will cost you nothing but a little time.


via New Series – Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – New Blogger Promotion and Setting up your blog for accessibility, readability and sharing.

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New Series – Sunday Author Interview – Coming Soon.


Welcome to the new Sunday Interview series, and this time, the focus is on the authors in the Cafe and Bookstore.

At any time there are approximately 150 authors in the Cafe and Bookstore who have new releases or recent reviews. My focus for the rest of the year is going to be on those authors in the Cafe and Bookstore and on promoting new authors who would like to join them on the shelves.

If you are a new visitor to the blog and an author with recently published books or reviews then please pop in to the Cafe and find out how you can submit your books. It is completely FREE, and all I ask is your participation when your books are promoted. This includes responding to individual comments on your posts and sharing on your own social media.

Now to the new Sunday author interview.

I would like you to select five questions from the twenty I have prepared, and please use as many words as you need to answer the questions fully.  It is an example of your writing and therefore should be considered as book marketing.

In addition, I would like you to select one of your books to feature. It can be a new release or might be an older book, perhaps the first in the series that you would like to give a boost to. It is a good idea to select a book that has received some good reviews and you would like to add more recent feedback.

Please select up to 1000 word extract from the book that you feel will encourage the readers to buy the book.. It might be from the first chapter or could be from later in the book when you introduce a major character.

As you are in the Cafe and Bookstore and have already been featured on the blog, I will have all your information, and will check the various links to confirm it is up to day. I will source and insert the cover of the book and  blurb and will select one of the most compelling of the reviews the book has received, and include all the usual buy links. I will also add your biography, photo and social media links.  I will also add your other books with an author page link.

Time for those questions

Head over to read more….


via Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New Series – Sunday Author Interview – Coming Soon.

Smorgasbord Letters from America – A nieces visit, Astroworld, rafting, South Padre and a Royal Wedding.


Coming to the end of my letters from Houston to my parents back in the UK.. just a couple more to go.. My niece spends three weeks with us and we had a great time.. I also go horse riding and fishing….

Smorgasbord Letters from America – A nieces visit, Astroworld, rafting, South Padre and a Royal Wedding.

It is August 1986 to almost 33 years to the week. My niece Emma aged 15, has been with us for three weeks, and I am writing to my parents with all the things we got up to.. well almost all of them.. I would send the photos on to them at a later date, but will share them in the post.

Dear M & D..

Thankfully all went according to plan and I met Emma along with her escort from the place at the airport and whisked her off to Parramatta Lane. Since you know the layout of the apartment you will recognise this favourite photograph spot for newcomers! Of course being fifteen, Emma was raring to go despite jet lag and the last three weeks have not stopped since.

We of course have introduced her to Walter… and David took this photo a couple of days after she arrived. We had lots of invitations to meals at people’s houses but we spent a couple of days by the pool to get used to the heat and we also of course had to go shopping for more clothes for all the social engagements!

Then Anna took Emma and I to Pappasitos for dinner, and our friendly guitarist who you will remember well Mollie for serenading you, found out Emma was your granddaughter and invited her stand up in front of the whole restaurant to sing to her. Two songs later we managed to drag her back to the table to eat her fajitas!


via Smorgasbord Letters from America – A nieces visit, Astroworld, rafting, South Padre and a Royal Wedding.

Paperback writer


The new book by Jessica Norrie is available on July 22nd in Ebook and the print book will not be far behind for those of you who enjoy a hard copy…Here is more about the book… and you can read the complete post by following the link..

Paperback writer

I just received the paperback specifications for The Magic Carpet. Four hundred and twenty pages?! I only wrote 87,000 words. My last book was 82,000 words and came out at 306 pages. So how has this happened?

The Magic Carpet is written in shortish sections. Five characters have a narrating voice. Some days all the narrators pitch in, others only one of them. Even written out like that it sounds confusing for the reader, so to make things as clear as possible I started a new chapter for each autumn day as the story unrolls. Within the chapters, I headed each section with the name of the character who’s narrating. The format I have to use starts each chapter on the right hand page (recto) with the left hand page (verso) blank. Each change of narrator gets a new page too. The added space differentiates each voice and I like it a lot.

Therefore don’t worry, dear reader. You will not be taking on War and Peace. The narrative doesn’t last years. It won’t take years to read either, and although there are five voices they are contemporary and informal – I make these comments with no disrespect to Tolstoy, by the way. The proof hasn’t arrived yet but I calculate at least 30 of those 420 pages are blank, 20 more have only a heading, and at least 40 will not be complete pages. That leaves 330 pages of conversational, familiar language, which sounds much more manageable.

Is 420 pages a problem in any other way? Well, it will increase the paperback delivery cost, except to Prime subscribers. On a Kindle, obviously, it makes no difference at all and the layout is certainly clearer than for my previous book. It wasn’t a problem in terms of adapting the cover – that outlay on a professional designer was money well spent as tweaking the spine was the work of an instant for her (and no, she doesn’t moonlight as an osteopath).



Head over and check out the complete post.

via Paperback writer