Christmas…’Tis the season of love and laughter…and a glass of Egg Nog…


I started the day with a Christmas post courtesy of Mike Biles… and it is also a great way to end it with another. This time from Carol Taylor with her Christmas post this week with a look back at family Christmas trees, Carol singers, Father Christmas, a reminder of her traditional Christmas dinner menu and favourite Christmas foods in Brazil..something for everyone..

Christmas…’Tis the season of love and laughter…and a glass of Egg Nog…

The magic which is Christmas...I try although it is hard when it is sunny and no one else celebrates it…But Chrismas is in my soul and I hope that I can share some of the magic I have always felt with you and of course make you remember and smile…

christmas tree and baubles-2939314_640

Image by 5598375 from Pixabay

A real tree was the start of Christmas as a child…the cards strung around the room all counted…haha…and every sender known and duly sent a card back…The paper chains we made and strung across the ceiling no fancy decorations then they were homemade with love and a little glitter…

NB...Please though if you are buying a real tree make sure it is from a sustainable source or buy one well-rooted, keep it watered and away from the central heating then plant for next year this is something my father always did.

The postman, the coalman, and the milkman were duly given their Christmas Boxes and well deserved as they were always on time with a cheery smile…You could set your watch by them…

The Carol Singers who came round at night and stood beneath the lampost and sung their hearts out…


Head over to enjoy the post in full…thanks Sally

via Christmas…’Tis the season of love and laughter…and a glass of Egg Nog…

Reads to give and receive


Jessica Norrie never fails to find the most beautiful books to share and those in this post are no exception.. I hope you will head over to enjoy the complete post and discover all the books that she recommends.

Reads to give and receive

Last December I posted what I’d enjoyed reading in 2018 and kind people have asked for an update. I have three categories for books nowadays – those still to be read, those destined for the charity shop, and those I liked so much they earn a place on my shelves. It’s been a pleasure for this post to look along the rows and find them for you. Most are not recent – if you want to read about flavour of the month books there are always the newspapers and all the wonderful #bookbloggers. But these are what stuck in this reader’s mind.

As I was reading this, imagine my uncanny delight when I discovered in the pocket of the old cardigan I was wearing – an unidentifiable little wheel off something! Anyone who’s ever attempted to amuse sick children, schlepped them round a department store or directed household tasks from the labour suite will identify straight away with Jackson. “So unlike the home life of our own dear Queen,” as my mother would say, raising her head from her book for a moment to consider the pile of undarned socks. (At least women don’t darn husbands’ socks anymore.)


Please head over and enjoy the post and leave your comments for Jessica there.. thanks Sally.

via Reads to give and receive

Old Souls by D.G. Kaye


A fascinating article by D.G.Kaye writing for The Sisers of the Fey… about ‘old souls’. We often use that expression, especially about a very young person who seems wise beyond their years… but what does it actually mean, and could you be an ‘old soul’  Head over to find out more about it from Debby.

Today I’m going to talk about ‘Old Souls’. We hear that term from time to time, usually referred to people who hold the depths of ‘all knowing’ and wisdom at a young age – feeling older and wiser beyond actual years. This isn’t to be misconstrued with ‘chronological age’ as old soul refers more to the experience we’ve gathered through our accrued years of knowledge through past lives.


Those with a higher level of soul are those who have reached the level of many journeys throughout their lifetimes. It is said that memories don’t come with us in each new life, but the knowledge of life experiences grow with us through each journey. It is also said that just by looking in someone’s eyes you can see their wisdom. This doesn’t mean that person is necessarily highly intelligent, but rather has a high level of ‘spiritual’ intelligence.


So how do you know if you are someone you know is an old soul?


Head over to find out if you fit the profile….


via Old Souls by D.G. Kaye

Open Book Blog Hop – 25th November


I do love to hear from authors when they get a response to their promotions on Smorgasbord,  and Stevie has delighted me today with her testimonial…

She also shares her views on book blog tours and she would like your opinion about them too.

I agree with Stevie by the way.


This week on the Open Book Blog Hop the topic is all about the best way to market our books.

I don’t really think that book launches, cover reveals and blog tours help too much with marketing a book.  There can be an overkill where people get sick of the sight of a book and turn away from it if it’s marketed on too many social media sites and for too long.  Hey, this is just my opinion, but feel free to comment if you think otherwise.

To start with I’d ask on WordPress whether anybody would want to review an ARC copy of a new book.  When the review is done and corrections made I usually put the book up for pre-order for a few weeks at a reduced price (usually £0.99/$0.99) and advertise the book on my website.  I will usually send a message about the book to my email subscribers too.

Following this I would then inform Sally Cronin at Smorgasbord of the publication date. Sally is very supportive of indie authors, and she will write a blog about it.  Sally will combine her blog with any reviews received from ARC readers.

I’ve just contacted Sally regarding my new thriller ‘Examining Kitchen  Cupboards‘, which is on pre-order until December 7th.  There have been various re-blogs and enough of a response from subscribers to Sally’s blog that last week the ranking for my new book on AmazonUK stood at 28,000 (paid).  So thanks very much Sally!  Sally included D.G Kaye’s excellent 5 star review too (thanks Debby!).


Head over to offer your views on book blog tours and to enjoy the rest of the post.

via Open Book Blog Hop – 25th November

Electric Car, Anyone?


Beetley Pete Johnson has a terrific post on The Electric Car and he shares several aspects of this ‘planet saving intiative’ that are both unethical and unsustainable, including child labour to provide cobalt for the batteries.

Living rurally where the electricity is overhead wires with a mind of their own, and having experienced the power outage when everyone switches on the ovens to cook the Christmas turkey, I seriously doubt that the grid in the UK could stand the strain of millions of workers returning home at the same time and plugging their cars in to recharge.

Head over to weigh in with your opinion as many have in the comments and I am sure you will come away with a more informed perspective on the cars of the future.

(This post is about all-electric cars, not petrol/electric hybrids)

We keep hearing a lot about electric cars. They don’t pollute, and they are ‘green’, as far as the environment is concerned. Some countries are insisting that all cars have to be electric by a certain date, though that date varies dramatically.

They have drawbacks of course. Limited range, depending on speed, and using lights or accessories. They are not easy to charge either. Very few charging stations have been built so far, and those that exist don’t have that many spaces. That means you might drive to a place, not be able to charge your vehicle, and then be stuck there.

Even charging them at home is a mission. If I had one, I would have to have a cable running from the car to a power source in the garage. Far from ideal, especially in bad weather, if the car doesn’t fit into the garage, or if like most of us, your garage is full of ‘stuff’, and has no room for a car.

And what if I lived in a smart high-rise apartment in London, with no underground car park? Would I drape my charging lead twenty floors down the side of the building, to the car parked outside? Or in a nice Edwardian house on a street. Would people be prepared to step over or under the cable as they walked along? I doubt that. And nobody will vandalise your unattended car as it charges, by pulling out the plug, or breaking the cable.
Believe that, and you’ll believe anything.


Head over to read the rest of the post via Electric Car, Anyone?

November 14: Flash Fiction Challenge


I have been a little short on writing time in the last few weeks and have missed one of my favourite weekly treat of writing some flash fiction for Carrot Ranch under the curatorship of Charli Mills. This week Charli also shares the progress made to her home to provide a residential retreat for writers with an offer to promote them locally as well as offer some guidance on their writing path.. Please head over to enjoy… and I will be participating this week.. and I hope you will too.

November 14th: Flash Fiction – Storm Windows – Charli Mills

Storm windows form an extra layer against the cold like thermal underwear in winter. It’s that time of year when my global positioning triggers EOSO — early-onset-snow-obsession. I recently entered a short story contest dedicated to the theme of snow. I wrote, “I live in a snow globe where a dome of clouds hunkers…” Storm windows buffer my watch over the ever-falling snow glitter.

And they went up this morning with whacks and thunks. When your house has lived through 120 years of storm window seasons, a rubber mallet helps to pound the frames into place. My son-in-law popped by this morning to finish up a few before-winter-hits house projects because winter already hit.

Already, I feel less of a draft with the extra panes. I wonder, when were storm windows invented? We have the original 120-year-old windows with glass imperfections that can warp the view outside. Who were the people who lived here before, and were they window-gazers? As writers, as creatives, as dreamers, we stare out of windows.

“Give me a window and I’ll stare out it.”

~ Alan Rickman

“In the old days, writers used to sit in front of a typewriter and stare out of the window. Nowadays, because of the marvels of convergent technology, the thing you type on and the window you stare out of are now the same thing.”

~ Douglas Adams


Here is the link.. I hope you will head over.. thanks Sally

via November 14: Flash Fiction Challenge

#Bookreview – Broken Heart Attack by James J. Cudney



Robbie Cheadle with a review for Broken Heart Attack by James J. Cudney that I can also recommend..

Bookreview – Broken Heart Attack by James J. Cudney

Book reviews

What Amazon says

When an extra ticket becomes available to see the dress rehearsal of King Lear, Kellan tags along with Nana D and her buddies. But when one of them dies of an apparent heart attack in the middle of second act, Nana D asks Kellan to investigate.

With family members in debt and secret meetings, Kellan learns that the Paddingtons might not be as clean-cut as everyone thinks.

But can Kellan find the killer of Gwendolyn Paddington, or will he get caught up in his own stage fright?


★★★★★ – “Upbeat and entertaining. Cudney’s writing style is warm, vibrant and edgy.”

★★★★★ – “Fast-paced and full of twists you won’t see coming.”

★★★★★ – “A well recommended murder mystery.”

My review

Broken heart attack is the second book in James J. Cudney’s successful Braxton Campus Mysteries series.


Head over to read the rest of Robbie’s review.

via #Bookreview – Broken Heart Attack by James J. Cudney

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