November is promotion month here at my blog; and I’m kicking off this week with my dear friend, author/blogger, podcaster, and short story writer extraordinaire, Sally Cronin. Sally is a staunch supporter and promoter of so many writer’s books and blogs. I am also fortunate to be one of Sally’s ongoing guest writers with various columns I write for her on her blog – currently, my spiritual awareness series. My friend Sally tirelessly promotes others and barely a peep from her on the socials about her own new book – Variety is the Spice of Life – A blend of poetry and prose. So I’m happy to share Sally’s book here today along with a little Q & A.
I know most of you here are familiar with Sally and her Smorgasbord Blog Magazine, but she hasn’t been featured here for a while, so today I’m thrilled to have her over and share some more interesting tidbits about Sally and her writing. Enjoy!
Sally Cronin is the author of sixteen books including her memoir Size Matters: Especially when you weigh 330lb first published in 2001. This has been followed by another fifteen books both fiction and non-fiction including multi-genre collections of short stories and poetry.
As an author she understands how important it is to have support in marketing books and offers a number of FREE promotional opportunities on her blog and across her social media. The Smorgasbord Bookshelf
Her podcast shares book reviews, poetry and short stories https://soundcloud.com/sallycronin
After leading a nomadic existence exploring the world, she now lives with her husband on the coast of Southern Ireland enjoying the seasonal fluctuations in the temperature of the rain.
Sally’s blog: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com
Variety is the Spice of Life is a collection of poetry and short stories about relationships with others, including pets and animals inhabiting the world around us. The connection with others brings love and friendship, excitement and sometimes surprises, danger, mystery and sometimes the unexpected.
The poetry explores human nature, the fears, desires, expectations and achievements. Nature offers a wonderful opportunity to observe animals both domesticated and wild. Even in a back garden you can observe a wide variety of creatures and the daily challenges to survive a harsh environment.
The short stories introduces you to a healer whose gift comes with danger, a neighbour determined to protect a friend, a woman on the run, an old couple whose love has endured, an elderly retired teacher who faces a life changing accident, a secret that has been carried for over 70 years and a village who must unite as they face devastating news.
Welcome back to my blog Sal. Thrilled to have you over today and share your good news!
Thank you so much Debby for inviting me over to chat and to share the news about my latest release.
What inspired you to Write this book?
I love writing and over the course of a year I will jot down poetry, sometimes participate in a blog challenge, or an idea will come to me when I am doing tapestry or listening to music. These days I have to write things as they come to me, otherwise they might get lost if I leave it too long. It is the same with short stories, and I throw them down in a rough draft on the computer whilst the muse is with me and then go back and refurbish them down the line.
This is how I ended up with nearly 40 poems and 8 short stories. For the last ten years the tag line for my blog Smorgasbord Blog Magazine, has been Variety is the Spice of Life, so I decided it was time to make that the headline rather than the afterthought.
D.G. – Sal, you and I, once again, with the same working system. My musings go right into a Word doc or forever lost! ❤
What can you tell us you’ve gained from blogging as an author?
I would find it difficult to fully measure the impact being part of the blogging community has made to my life. The first day I began blogging was during the last few months of my mother’s life. I had been living with her full time for two years and had given up my work as a nutritional therapist and my radio and television commitments as she required round the clock care.
I don’t regret that in any way, but it did suddenly shrink my world with a loss of contact with others in the real sense. I had to focus all my physical and emotional efforts on keeping my mother well and in her own home, which was very important to her. To be honest, that was important to me too, as I really didn’t think she would be happy in a care home. At that point my husband David, who had been looking after his father for the last year joined us and that made a huge difference, but I still felt isolated and cut off from the world.
I was reading a blog online one day and realized that I had a lot of health articles that I had published individually, and in a couple of books, that might be of interest to others. I also had my first collection of short stories that I could share. I came up with a couple of names for my blog over the next year and dabbled with a few posts before finally settling on Smorgasbord Blog Magazine in early 2012.
During the last months of my mother’s life, blogging offered me the opportunity to get back out in to the world in a virtual sense at least, and it gave me a huge boost. I began to make connections, chat to people about their lives and swapping stories, it opened the universe back up to me. It provided an outlet for what I have always loved doing, which is writing and telling stories. It also went a long way to reducing the personal pressure that had been building up steadily over the previous two or three years.
To be honest, I probably work as hard at blogging as I did any of my full-time jobs, and I don’t mind in the slightest. I began promoting books for other authors eight years ago in a more organized way and this introduced me to the amazingly generous writing community we are part of today.
I get far more back than I give in terms of support, and this was particularly so during the pandemic, when we were house bound and without the physical connections we all need so badly.
I have gained so much from blogging and apart from the companionship, friendship and support it has also increased my confidence in my own writing, encouraged me to return to poetry and to push myself out of the comfort zone we create as we get older. It is so important to be mentally engaged and participating in the world, even when it is a virtual environment.
It is something I plan on doing until the last possible moment. I would love to be doing this at 100 but might need a little medicinal tequila to keep it up lol.
D.G. – I am certainly with you on the gratefulness of our writer friends and blogging community. I know well of what you speak in dire times of loneliness when being a caregiver. If it weren’t for you and this wonderful community, I shudder to think where I’d be now. And lol on the tequila my Margarita, cohort pal. 🙂
How has writing changed your life?
I had written poems and short stories from a very early age, but without any intention of sharing them to a wider audience.
My first book was never intended to be published, as it began as a journal to record my weight loss in my early forties, and a way to explore why I had become morbidly obese. When I lost 150lbs in 18 months it had a profound impact on my life and health. I had studied nutrition over a two year period in an effort to understand my body and its needs. Then, having developed my own successful eating programme, I wanted to share that with others.
When the manuscript was finished I approached a well-known agent here in Ireland where we were living at the time in the late 1990s. I was running a health food shop and dietary advisory centre, and felt confident that the book was now comprehensive enough to help others lose their weight. My agent approached 7 established publishers in the UK and all said the book was great, but I was an unknown author, and they didn’t feel I would attract the media attention for this book. Also they were concerned that I would only have the one book and would therefore not be profitable in the long run.
That pushed me into self-publishing this book and the following novel Just an Odd Job Girl with Trafford publishing in Canada. I did the promotion for the first book without the benefit of the Internet in those days and with press releases and leg work managed to get some national and local coverage.
David had not only formatted my books, but was also doing so for other authors and we formed Moyhill Publishing in 2004 which gave both of us an opportunity to take full advantage of the emerging self-publishing market. I had taken my books back from Trafford in 2002 and we reformatted them for print and as soon as eBooks became available in that format too. David took care of the technical side and I worked with our authors on their book launches and promotions.
Writing that first book did change my life and sent me in a direction I never imagined I would take. It led to a career on radio and online television. This current book is the 16th and I have a sequel to Size Matters coming out in the New Year 2023 with a couple more in process. After that, who knows but I am looking forward to finding out.
I have no idea where I would be if I had not taken the plunge with my writing, but I have no doubt my life would not be so fulfilled as it is today.
D.G. – No doubts your health articles are very informative. And you are so blessed to have David – not only as a loving husband, but a best friend, and great help for your publishing. 🙂
Do you agree with the general consensus that writers are loners?
The act of writing does tend to be solitary that’s true, but to be creative does require interaction with the world and other people.
I notice that many of the writers in our community are relatively late starters as far as writing their blogs and books is concerned. This usually means that they have experience of the world, relationships both personal and work related, and have come to know themselves well.
Whether it is fiction or non-fiction, it requires a depth of understanding about life, to make it resonate with the reader. Even fantasy authors need to have a good understanding of human nature, even if they are creating fabulous alternative universes.
I don’t believe you can be creative within a vacuum. So being a loner does not necessarily serve a writer well. Solitude on the other matter, when in the process of writing a book, is something to be treasured. But then being able to obtain feedback, support and the confidence it needs to publish that book, requires other people, such as those in our writing community, in blog world and on social media.
I suspect more than one of us is now more inclined to isolate from large crowds, public transport, plane travel and other tight spaces where others gather. I am certainly wearing my mask when I am in a crowded area, although I notice more people smiling with their eyes, nodding to each other and being more courteous than before. That has to be a good thing.
And it is hard to be a loner when part of our writing community. It seems you only have to be missing for a day or two for someone to come knocking on your virtual window and asking what’s going on. As it should be, and I am very grateful for it.
D.G. – I absolutely agree Sally. Writing is a solo invent, but engagement, support, and community are such a big part of our writing world.
I have selected one of the poems to share from the collection
you must first consider
preferences of the baby
a jolly song
aimed to make them chortle
to wave their hands around with glee
slow and gentle
soothing a fractious mood
or the soreness of teething gums
those fearing the shadows
now allayed by a father’s voice
a foreign tongue
but words that mothers sing
to babies all around the world
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