Sunday Book Review – Little Tea by Claire Fullerton

My Sunday Book Review is for Claire Fullerton’s Little Tea. Claire writes fine southern fiction with stellar prose that takes us right into the south alongside her. Three best friends reunite twenty some years later to catch up on their lives through reminiscing the past.





Southern Culture … Old Friendships … Family Tragedy

One phone call from Renny to come home and “see about” the capricious Ava and Celia Wakefield decides to overlook her distressful past in the name of friendship.

For three reflective days at Renny’s lake house in Heber Springs, Arkansas, the three childhood friends reunite and examine life, love, marriage, and the ties that bind, even though Celia’s personal story has yet to be healed. When the past arrives at the lake house door in the form of her old boyfriend, Celia must revisit the life she’d tried to outrun.

As her idyllic coming of age alongside her best friend, Little Tea, on her family’s ancestral grounds in bucolic Como, Mississippi unfolds, Celia realizes there is no better place to accept her own story than in this circle of friends who have remained beside her throughout the years. Theirs is a friendship that can talk any life sorrow into a comic tragedy, and now that the racial divide in the Deep South has evolved, Celia wonders if friendship can triumph over history.


My 5 Star Review:

A tale that encompasses several topics of life – family, friendship, racism, mental health, and tragedy. Southern fiction at its best. We’re introduced to the triangular friendship between Celia, Renny and Ava, friends from childhood, in a reunion visit up to Renny’s lakehouse where the girls recant stories, memories, and unresolved issues from their pasts, introducing the many characters who played parts in their lives.

Celia managed to leave the deep south and is happily married now living in California, but the girlfriend reunion brings up some painful memories that Celia Wakefield finds herself now having to put closure on, including her ex-fiance Tate whose deep south family wasn’t too accepting of Celia’s close friendship with ‘black people’, – mainly her oldest best friend Little Tea and her family. And once tragedy struck within the plantation, a silent slithering away of Tate occurred.

The story goes back and forth through time – current day at Renny’s lake house in Arkansas where the reunion takes place and back in the 1980s when they were younger girls where we’re taken into Celia’s younger life with her family living in Mississippi on their cotton plantation and the black hired help living on that land in a cottage, becoming closer than most with their white bosses in the still divided south. Thelonius and Elvita and their daughter Little Tea who becomes Celia’s best friend, and ultimately, the love interest of Celia’s brother Hayward – still in a dangerous time for mixed races to show themselves publicly, but accepted within the family – except for Celia’s eldest brother John who comes off racist.

In this story, the past comes back to haunt as it does in real life. Celia must find closure, Ava must choose her happiness between two men, and Renny is the host where everyone meets up at her place to mull over their pasts and solidfy their futures. Renny is the group organizer. And nobody knows the deep dark secrets better than the three girls.

Some wonderful prose to quote from this book. Here are just two:

Little Tea and Celia discussing Tea’s plans after graduating high school: “I know times have changed for people of color, but there’s a residue that’ll stick around forever.”

Celia talking to her brother Hayward about their grandmother’s racism, trying to figure why as someone who came from poverty and now riches, why she didn’t have compassion: “People attack what they fear.” “People always have to have something to look down on.”



bitmo live laugh love


#AuthorChat Q & A With D.G. Kaye is Featuring Claire Fullerton and Little Tea

Welcome to the second of my June interviews at my #AuthorChat – Q & A with D.G. Kaye. Today I’m excited to be featuring author Claire Fullerton with her new release, Little Tea.  Claire writes beautiful women’s fiction with a touch of southern charm, and I’m thrilled to have here with us today to talk about her new book, which I can’t wait to sink my eyes into!


author Claire Fullerton


About Claire:

Claire Fullerton hails from Memphis, TN. and now lives in Malibu, CA. with her husband and 3 German shepherds. She is the author of Little Tea, the August selection of The Pulpwood Queens Book Club. Claire is the author of 5-time award winning, Mourning Dove; Dancing to an Irish Reel; and A Portal in Time. Her novella, Through an Autumn Window, is included in the book, A Southern Season. Her work has appeared in Celtic Life International, Southern Writers Magazine, The Dead Mule School of Southern
Literature, and others. She is represented by Julie Gwinn of the Seymour Literary Agency.




One phone call from Renny to come home and “see about” the capricious Ava and Celia Wakefield decides to overlook her distressful past in the name of friendship.

For three reflective days at Renny’s lake house in Heber Springs, Arkansas, the three childhood friends reunite and examine life, love, marriage, and the ties that bind, even though Celia’s personal story has yet to be healed. When the past arrives at the lake house door in the form of her old boyfriend, Celia must revisit the life she’d tried to outrun.

As her idyllic coming of age alongside her best friend, Little Tea, on her family’s ancestral grounds in bucolic Como, Mississippi unfolds, Celia realizes there is no better place to accept her own story than in this circle of friends who have remained beside her throughout the years. Theirs is a friendship that can talk any life sorrow into a comic tragedy, and now that the racial divide in the Deep South has evolved, Celia wonders if friendship can triumph over history.


So let’s get into some Q & A and get to know more about Claire and what fuels her writing!



How many books have you written? Do you have a favorite of your books and if so, why?

I have written four published novels and one novella, all traditionally
published. I have recently completed a manuscript, which I will revisit soon.

D.G. – Wow Claire, you are on fire girl!


Who is your favorite author and why?

I have a few! I’ll mention Ron Rash, for his spare, poetic use of regional
language; Billy O’Callaghan for his stream of consciousness sentences, and Pat
Conroy for his fearlessness, stellar vocabulary, and lyrical sentences.

D.G. – Now, Pat Conroy, oh ya – The Prince of Tides 🙂


Do you watch TV? If so, what is your favorite show and why?

I love the British detective series: Foyle’s War, Inspector George Gently,
Endeavour, Shetland, all those intelligent, well-written shows filmed on

D.G, – I can’t say I’ve ever heard of any of those, so thanks for sharing these shows.


What is the best money you’ve spent with regard to your writing?

Flying to Jefferson, Texas to be a featured author at The Pulpwood
Queens Girlfriend Weekend. The Pulpwood Queens is a book club with 785
chapters, and each January, a three-day book festival unites authors and

D.G. – Wow that sounds amazing!!!


Your recent release, Little Tea, is set in the Deep South. Why do you like the South as a setting?

The South, as a culture, seems to me the last romantic region in America.
It has a storied past and a rich tradition of storytelling, which makes for
engaging, effusive characters. There is a sultriness to the climate, and most
Southerners are tied to the land. Family is important in the South and stories
are passed down. In the South, the past is never really past!

D.G. – You make it sound so intriguing! On my bucket list to get to some big author convention someday.


Claire is sharing one of the new reviews for Little Tea:

P. Woodland
5.0 out of 5 stars Little Tea
Reviewed in the United States on May 15, 2020

This might be the best book I’ve read so far this year. I don’t tend to read friendship type books like this but something about the synopsis called to me so I took a chance and I’m so glad I did. The book is not long at 252 pages but it packs in a lot of emotional storytelling. Three friends, Celia, Ava and Renny gather for a weekend at a lake house in Arkansas ostensibly to help Ava but this is Celia’s story. She is the daughter of the Old South, having grown up on “the farm” but what was a Plantation. Her best friend is a black girl called Little Tea, the daughter of a family that has been “working” for her family for generations. Obviously the arrangements for that work are vastly different in the 1980s than they were in the 1800s.

Not everyone in her immediate social circle agree with her family’s feelings about race relations, nor do the people in Little Tea’s world. When a family tragedy strikes it shows Celia exactly who her friends really are. She ends up leaving the South and moving to California where she finds a whole new life but can she really leave her Southern roots behind. This is a very powerful book about friendship, family, hate, bigotry and ultimately redemption. Ms. Fullerton is never flowery or excessive in her descriptions as one might expect given the topics but her writing is lyrical, spare and so on point you have a hard time putting the book down. I am only sorry that I started it in the evening and was having a bad day and simply could not keep my eyes open so I had to go to sleep. I finished it the following morning and the ending simply blew me away. I did not see it coming.

This is not to say that all of the characters were likable – indeed, some (I’m looking at you Ava) made me want to scream but this is human nature. No circle of friends is one note and if it were it would ring false. I will also note that I am left with questions but perhaps they are better left to my imagination for everything in life is not wrapped up in a neat little bow, is it?

I will be keeping this one for a reread down the road.


Little Tea


Little Tea Excerpt:


“Hey, Little Tea,” Hayward called as she and I sat crossed-legged on the north side of the verandah. “I bet I can beat you to the mailbox and back.” It was a Saturday afternoon in early June, and we’d spread the church section of the Como Panolian beneath us and positioned ourselves beneath one of the pair of box windows gracing either side of the front door. The front door was fully open, but its screen was latched to keep the bugs from funneling into the entrance hall. They’d be borne from the current of the verandah ceiling fans that stirred a humidity so pervasive and wilting, there was no escaping until the weather cooled in early November. The glass pitcher of sweet tea Elvita gave us sat opaque and sweating, reducing crescents of ice to weak bobbing smiles around a flaccid slice of lemon.

Little Tea stood to her full height at Hayward’s challenge, her hand on her hip, her oval eyes narrowed. “Go on with yourself,” she said to Hayward, which was Little Tea’s standard way of dismissal.

“I bet I can,” Hayward pressed, standing alongside Rufus, his two-year-old Redbone coonhound who shadowed him everywhere.

Little Tea took a mighty step forward. “And you best get that dog outta here ’fore he upends this here paint. Miss Shirley gone be pitching a fit you get paint on her verandah.”

“Then come race me,” Hayward persisted. “Rufus will follow me down the driveway. You just don’t want to race because I beat you the last time.”

“You beat me because you a cheat,” Little Tea snapped.

“She’s right, Hayward,” I said. “You took off first, I saw you.”

“It’s not my fault she’s slow on the trigger,” Hayward responded. “Little Tea hesitated, I just took the advantage.”

“I’ll be taking advantage now,” she stated, walking down the four brick steps to where Hayward and Rufus stood.

At ten years old, Little Tea was taller than me and almost as tall as Hayward. She had long, wire-thin limbs whose elegance belied their dependable strength, and a way of walking from an exaggerated lift of her knees that never disturbed her steady carriage. She was regal at every well-defined angle, with shoulders spanning twice the width of her tapered waist and a swan neck that pronounced her determined jaw.

Smiling, Hayward bounced on the balls of his feet, every inch of his lithe body coiled and ready to spring. There was no refusing Hayward’s smile, and he knew it. It was a thousand-watt pirate smile whose influence could create a domino effect through a crowd. I’d seen Hayward’s smile buckle the most resistant of moods; there was no turning away from its white-toothed, winsome source. When my brother smiled, he issued an invitation to the world to get the joke. Typically, the whole world would.

“Celia, run fetch us a stick,” Little Tea directed, her feet scratching on the gravel driveway as she marched to the dusty quarter-mile stretch from our house to the mailbox on Old Panola road. I sprang from the verandah to the grass on the other side of the driveway and broke a long, sturdy twig from an oak branch. “Set it right here,” Little Tea pointed, and I placed it horizontally before her. But Rufus rushed upon the stick and brought it straight to Hayward, who rubbed his russet head and praised, “Good boy.”

“Even that dog of yours a cheat,” Little Tea said, but she, too, rubbed his head then replaced the stick on the ground. “Now come stand behind here. Celia’s going to give us a fair shake. We’ll run when she says run.” Her hands went to her hips. “Now what you gonna give me when I win?” “The reward of pride and satisfaction,” Hayward said, and just then the screen door on the verandah flew wide and my brother John came sauntering out.

“On go,” I called from my position on the side of the driveway, where I hawkishly monitored the stick to catch a foot creeping forward. Looking from Hayward to Little Tea to make sure I had their attention, I used a steady cadence announcing, “Ready …set … go.”

Off the pair flew, dust scattering, arms flailing; off in airborne flight, side by side, until Little Tea broke loose and left Hayward paces behind. I could see their progression until the bend in the driveway obstructed my vision but had little doubt about what was happening. Little Tea was an anomaly in Como, Mississippi. She was the undisputed champion in our age group of the region’s track and field competition and was considered by everyone an athlete to watch, which is why Hayward continuously challenged her to practice. Presently, I saw the two walking toward me. Hayward had his arm around Little Tea’s shoulder, and I could see her head poised, listening as he chattered with vivid animation.

“You should have seen it,” Hayward breathlessly said when they reached me. “She beat me easily by three seconds—I looked at my watch.”

“Three seconds? That doesn’t seem like much,” I said.

“Listen Celia, a second is as good as a mile when you’re talking time. I’m two years older and a boy, so believe me, Little Tea’s already got the makings of a star athlete.” He grinned. “But we already knew this.”

John called from the verandah, “Celia, Mother’s looking for you.” I turned to see John walking to the front steps in his pressed khaki pants and leather loafers, his hand near his forehead shading his eyes.

“Where is she?” I returned.

“Inside, obviously. Last I saw her, she was in your room.”

For some odd reason, whenever my brother John had anything to say to me, he said it with condescension. His was a sneering, disapproving tone for no justification I could discern, beyond our six-year age difference. He was as hard on Hayward as he was on me, but Hayward never took John’s snide remarks personally, nor did he invest in what he called his holier-than- thou demeanor.

It didn’t take much to figure it out. From a young age, Hayward and I both knew he and John were two different kinds of men. Hayward once said to me, “John’s just a mama’s boy, which is why he calls Mom ‘Mother’ as if we’re living in Victorian England instead of Como, Mississippi. Don’t let him bother you. He has his own reality, that’s all.”

I skipped up the verandah’s steps and put my hand on the flimsy screen door.

“You should take that pitcher inside before you forget it,” John dictated, “and y’all need to pick up that paint.”

“I’ll get it in a minute,” I said, just to spite him as I stepped into the entrance hall. I couldn’t help it, it was my natural reflex in our ongoing contest of wills.

The light was always dim in the entrance hall, irrespective of the time of day. The carved crown molding on its high ceiling matched the dark walnut wood of the floor and door casings, which glowed in polished rosettes above the opening to the formal dining room on the right and the ample living room on the left, with the green-tiled solarium behind it. The entrance hall had a central catacomb feel and was always the coolest area of the house. In its cavernous elegance, footsteps were amplified on the maple floors during the months of June through September, then fell to a muted padding when Mom had Thelonious haul the crimson-and-navy runner from the attic and place it beneath the foyer’s round, centered table. At the end of the hall, behind the stairs, was my father’s den and attendant screened porch, but rarely did I visit the interior. My father was a private man, reclusive and solitary by nature, and whether he was in the library or not, the door was always shut. I had to skirt the gladiola arrangement on the entrance hall table. The floral design reached wide with flourishing arms toward the French credenzas against both sides of the walls. My reflection flashed in the ormolu mirror as I ran toward the stairs to find my mother. My hair crowned me with the color of night’s crescendo, dashing so dark it almost looked purple. I am 100 percent Wakefield in all that distinguishes the lineage, from the dark eyes and hair to the contrasting fair skin. There has never been a Wakefield to escape the familial nose; it is severe in impression, unambiguous in projection, straight as a line, and slightly flared. John and I are mirror images of each other, the yin and yang of the Wakefield, English bloodline. But Hayward was born golden, just like our mother, who comes from the Scottish Montgomerys, whose birthplace is Ayrshire. John and I possess an unfortunate atavistic Wakefield trait, though on me the black shadow is a ready silence, but on him it plays out as something sinister. John and I are individual variations of our father’s dark countenance, which is to say in our own way we are loners. People slightly removed. But Hayward got lucky, in possessing our mother’s shining essence. I could always see an internal light in their green eyes that set off their amber- colored hair.

I put my hand on the thick banister and climbed the stairs to the first landing, where my parents’ bedroom and living quarters unfurled like wings. The bay window overlooking the garden had its draperies drawn against the searing, silver sun. Walking into the sitting room at the right, I called for my mother, thinking she may be in the adjoining master bedroom. “I’m upstairs,” her voice descended. “Celia, come up. I want to see you.”

I mounted the stairs to the third-floor landing and found my mother perched lightly on the sofa in the alcove that served as a central area for the other four bedrooms. Behind her, sunlight filtered through the organza window treatments, highlighting the red in her hair. Her slender hands held a three-ringed binder of fabric swatches, the swatch on top a cool, blue toile. She patted the seat beside her and I settled softly. My mother was cultivated, circumspect, and radiated a porcelain femininity. Always, in my mother’s presence, I gentled myself to her calm self-possession. In my heart of hearts, it was my hope that the apple didn’t fall far from the proverbial tree.

“Tell me,” she said, “what do you think of this fabric for your draperies? We could paint the walls a light robin’s egg and put white on the molding. I think it’d be divine.” She looked around the room as if seeing it for the first time. “It’s time we got rid of the wallpaper in there. You’re growing up.” She laid her ivory hand on my cheek. “You’ll want this eventually. I think now’s a good time.”

I knew enough of my mother’s ways to know she was engaged in preamble. She was practiced at the art of delivery by discreet maneuver, and I suspected her impulse to transform my room had hidden meaning. “Why is now a good time?”

My mother looked in my eyes and spoke softly. “Celia, I’m telling you before I tell Hayward because I don’t want this to come from him. Your father’s going to be taking a job in Memphis, so we’ll be moving.”

“We’re moving to Memphis?” I gasped.

“Yes, honey. You’ll be starting school at Immaculate Conception in September,” she answered. “You know the school; its attendant to the big cathedral on Central Avenue.”

“But that’s a Catholic school, Mom. I thought we were Episcopalian.”

“We are, honey, but it’s highly rated academically. Your father and I think being exposed to a different religion will broaden your mind and give you beautiful advantages. We can come back here any weekend we want, and you’ll have a brand-new room when we do. You’ll have the best of both worlds, you’ll see. You’ll make new friends in Memphis, and Little Tea will still be here. It won’t be a drastic change at all. Try to think of it as an addition. There now, sweetie, don’t make that face. It isn’t the end of the world.”

But it was for me; Memphis intimidated me. Memphis was the big city compared to Como, and I found it cacophonous and unpredictable in its patchwork design. There was a disjointed, disharmonious feel to the city, what with its delineated racial relations. Parts of town were autocratic in their mainstay of Caucasian imperiousness and there were dilapidated, unlucky parts of town considered dangerous, which a white person never chanced. This much I’d learned on my visits to my grandparents’ house near the lake in Central Gardens. Blacks and whites never comingled in Memphis, even though they did coexist. But there was an impenetrable wall that separated the races, and I’d been raised in a footloose environment where it didn’t matter so much.

I took my teary eyes and sinking stomach to my bedroom so my mother wouldn’t see me cry. Through the window over the driveway, I watched as Hayward and Little Tea threw a stick for Rufus. I hadn’t the heart to run tell them our lives were about to end.


I thoroughly enjoyed this generous excerpt and can’t wait to read this book. Sadly, the theme of racism is still alive and well today in our societies, which should keep this book always relevant. Thank you Claire. 


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Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – D. G. Kaye Explores the Realms of Relationships – Forming Healthy Relationships – What’s Inside the Box? | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Today I’m sharing my recent article I wrote for my Realms of Relationships Column over at Sally Cronin’s Smorgasbord Blog Magazine. In this article I’m discussing how we often judge people by their appearances without looking in on the inside.


Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – D. G. Kaye Explores the Realms of Relationships – Forming Healthy Relationships – What’s Inside the Box?


Forming Healthy Relationships – What’s Inside the Box?

Welcome back to this month’s edition of Realms of Relationships. In this segment, I’m delving into how we judge and are judged by others – First impressions and Body language and discovering what’s underneath the wrapping.




As humans, we are often judged by our outward appearances first. But if we never gave someone a chance to approach us to potentially form a friendship or relationship just because we couldn’t see beyond appearance, our circles would be pretty limited.

People come wrapped in all assortments. Who and what we attract or gravitate to stems from the vibe we give off – this vibe consists of a combination of traits we emit with our words, body language, and our physical appearance. All these elements comprised will help to determine who chooses to approach us.

Our demeanors and physical appearance send signals to others leading them to form a perception of what we’re all about. But without learning what’s on the inside, and perhaps what’s perceived as a first impression, we may not always adequately represent who we really are. Depending on how we choose to present ourselves on a given day, we’ll undoubtedly be judged by our actions as first impressions, so it’s a good idea not to misrepresent ourselves. Sadly, society does label people based on appearance, and as much as appearances do play a part in determining who we approach and how we’re accepted, appearance alone is not a great indicator of what’s inside our box.

Now we all know the old saying – don’t judge a book by its cover, but sadly, it’s human nature that people are judged by their covers. Yes, it’s unfair, but there are shallow thinking people among us. And pity for those who judge because they may just be missing out on opportunity for a satisfying relationship or friendship because they couldn’t see beyond difference.

What do we want most from a relationship? Acceptance, love compassion, trust, understanding, communication and reciprocation. These are the most important qualities a relationship should offer, and the qualities that will sustain a solid relationship. These aren’t qualities you can necessarily decipher based on looking at an individual. Yes, it’s easy to make judgement, but until we learn about what’s behind the cover, we aren’t able to make a complete assessment.

We are hard-wired for judgement. We all have our own version of what’s acceptable to us and peeves we hold in our mental lists of what we seek out of a relationship. But maybe we need to look beyond those physical peeves and explore personality and values. . . Please continue reading at Sally’s Smorgasbord




Source: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – D. G. Kaye Explores the Realms of Relationships – Forming Healthy Relationships – What’s Inside the Box? | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine



Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – D. G. Kaye Explores the Realms of Relationships – Know when it’s time to go – When giving becomes one-sided by D.G. Kaye | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Today I’m featuring my article written for my monthly column over at Sally Cronin’s Smorgasbord – Realms of Relationships. In this issue. I’m discussing Friendships – how to keep them alive and well. and learning when it’s time to go.


Relationships – Know when it’s time to go –

When giving becomes one-sided


Welcome back to The Realms of Relationships. In this edition, I’m going to talk more about friendships. I talked about keeping friendships healthy in my last column. In this post, I’ll share some of the flags that indicate when friends may be taking advantage of us.

Friendships are special to us because they are the people we choose to let into the most personal and intimate part of our lives, the people we trust most. But sometimes in our lifetime of relationships and friendships we may realize that a certain friendship becomes all give and no get back. Today we’re going to take a look at some of the signs that tell us that a friendship we may have with someone is not as fulfilling as it once may have been, how to attempt to repair, and how to decide if it’s time to sever ties.


relationships hands meeting


Friends are those we permit into our personal spaces and hold dear to us. Friends are the ones we share common bonds with, share our world, our homes and often our hearts with. Friends are ones we can rely on for uplifting, favors, companionship, and the ones who have our backs. Do something to betray any of these bonds, it puts a dent into a friendship, and if we let misgivings escalate without confronting our friend about issues bothering us, or better yet, if we have confronted a friend over an issue and they tend to blow it off or ignore our concerns, consider petty, it may be time to re-evaluate that friendship.

As with everything that works smooth in life, there is balance. We take the good with the bad in stride and go about life. Sometimes there are obstacles we learn to work around, sometimes the obstacles must be confronted in order to resolve issues to restore an even balance. If the balance of a friendship begins to teeter, yet one party of the friendship doesn’t see it, someone must alert that person that more effort must be put into that relationship or it’s going to fizzle out. When one party is doing all the giving and supporting and there’s nothing in return – giving back, this is not a friendship. Make sure you’re not doing all the giving and being sucked into an energy vampire sucking relationship.

As a lover and not a fighter, I require peace in all my relationships. I’m a passionate person who cares about all people. I’m also a great communicator, which I learned to become as I’ve spent most of my life observing people and their behavior. If I detect an imbalance or a missing ingredient within a close friendship, I’m going to bring it up for discussion so we can get to the root of a problem to find resolution to continue on with the friendship, hopefully, strengthening the bond once the imbalance is corrected. But what if the other party doesn’t see our side or perhaps thinks we’re making too much out of something insignificant? Or, what if that person is completely blind to a troublesome situation and what if we become tired of rehashing the same issues that never seem to change? Are we just supposed to sit back and live with the lumpy situation, continuing to make excuses to pardon that friend from their faults, or can we keep making excuses to not be available for them? That becomes our decision. But for me, I learned a few relationships ago, when you become a doormat, it may be time to leave. . . please continue reading at Sally’s blog


Original Source: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – D. G. Kaye Explores the Realms of Relationships – Know when it’s time to go – When giving becomes one-sided by D.G. Kaye | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – D. G. Kaye Explores the Realms of Relationships – Friendships Keeping them Healthy | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

I’m thrilled to be back at Sally Cronin’s Smorgasbord Blog Magazine with my latest edition of my new column – The Realms of Relationships. In this edition, I’m talking about how to keep friendships healthy, and when it just may be time to say good-bye.


Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – D. G. Kaye Explores the Realms of Relationships – Friendships Keeping them Healthy


Never speak ill




Friendships are the most sacred things we can have. Nobody knows us better than our closest friends – sometimes even better than family. And why is that? Because often, most people aren’t comfortable sharing their problems with families for various reasons.

Children may not wish to tell their parents some things because they may fear they’ll get in trouble for something they did or perhaps they’re embarrassed, or maybe even their secret is about a friend they don’t wish to get in trouble. In adulthood reasons may differ, such as: not wanting family to know they’ve failed at something, got in trouble somewhere, etc. But friends, friends are the ones we choose to share with what’s deep in our souls. Friends are the ones we chose to be friends with us because they accept us – broken fences and all, scars and all. They love us unconditionally. Friends support us through our ups and downs in life. We feel much freer to unburden our souls with friends sometimes more than with family.

Friends don’t judge us. Friends hug us when we need it, and friends understand us – sometimes even without words.

Friends are the family we choose. Friends are the ones we share our deepest, darkest thoughts with, our dreams and ambitions, problems and victories. If a friendship is true, there’s an unspoken respect – a code so to speak.





My Story

Even though I have gone through a ‘break-up’ of sorts with one of my two long-time best friends of 35 years, I still think about her. How could one not? Severing a long-time friendship is like a divorce. You miss the kinship and the support and the good times, and the loss of a good friend can break your heart. But, as I wrote in my first edition of this series, if we’ve exhausted all avenues of trying to mend a fence, maybe it’s time to part ways. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t honor the past, honor what we once had and shared, honor deep dark secrets not to be turned into ammunition to smear that person. . . Please visit the entire post over at Sally’s blog.


Source: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – D. G. Kaye Explores the Realms of Relationships – Friendships Keeping them Healthy | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Q and A with D.G. Kaye featuring Author, Blogger and Promoter Sally Cronin

I’m thrilled to be featuring Sally Cronin here today. Sally is always so busy promoting the work of other authors, it’s her turn to shine in the spotlight today! For those of you unfamiliar with Sally (is that possible?), she has authored a dozen books, both fiction and nonfiction. She is a nutritionist who shares lots of health information on her blog – Smorgasbord Invitation, along with featuring authors and their books in  her Smorgasbord Cafe, lots of entertainment and monthly columns from featured guest writers (which I’m delighted to be one of them), and so much more! The title of Sally’s blog was the perfect name for a blog full of so many interesting, informative and delightful articles churned out on a daily basis. You can visit Sally’s blog and learn about all her author promotion offerings.



Sally Cronin Author



About Sally:

I have enjoyed a nomadic existence living in eight countries including Sri Lanka, Malta, South Africa, USA and Spain, before settling back here in Ireland. My work, and a desire to see some of the most beautiful parts of the world in the last forty years, has taken me to many more incredible destinations around Europe and Canada, and across the oceans to New Zealand and Hawaii. All those experiences and the people that I have met, provide a rich source of inspiration for my stories.

After a career in customer facing roles in the hospitality, retail, advertising and telecommunications industry, I wrote and published my first book in 1999 called Size Matters, about my weight loss journey, losing 150lbs in 18 months. This was followed by 11 further fiction and non-fiction books, including a number of short story collections.

My first book release resulted in a radio interview in Spain that led to four years as a nutritional consultant for an English language station, and this was followed by four years with my own health show and Sunday morning show on local radio station in the UK and then as station director, newsreader and presenter for an online television station.

As a writer I know how important it is to have help in marketing books and from 2002 I have been working with authors on their book launches and publicity. At that time it was very much physical book launches and press coverage locally to stimulate national interest.. Today it is very different with a global market via the worldwide web.

As important as my own promotion is, I believe it is important to support others within our community. I offer a number of FREE promotional opportunities on my blog, linked to my social media. If you are an author who would like to be promoted to a new audience of dedicated readers, please contact me via my blog. All it will cost you is a few minutes of your time. Look forward to hearing from you.






My 5 Star Review:

Sally Cronin certainly is a master at weaving with words. No matter how many or few, her words will paint a complete story and leave us with a satisfactory optimism or a tug at our heartstrings.

In this author’s newest release of tales to inspire, we’ll find a smorgasbord of forms of writing from various forms of poetry – Haiku, Etherees and Cinquain poetry to condensed micro fiction, where stories are wrapped up complete despite a minimal word count, to short stories on speculative fiction. A wonderful mixed bag of tales covering topics such as: random thoughts, seasons, aging, nature, holidays, fairies, romance, pets, to the human condition and life lessons.

My favorite Flash Fiction story – The Witch’s Handbook Spell #356 – Removal of Inhibitions for ‘The Devilish Mojito’, and her heartwarming short stories like The Ugly Mutt that will keep you engaged as evil doers try to do harm, kept me cheering for Brian. One story in particular had me glued from beginning to end – Great Aunt Georgina. This story begins with a little girl and her family visiting her Grandma. The little girl looked forward to those visits where Grandma would pull out the old photo albums and introduce her to family of the past era. In later years, after Gran is gone the girl now in her twenties learns a never told family secret, discovered by looking through old letters sent to her Gran Elizabeth by her sister Georgina. From the letters we learn about betrayal, grief, karma, and reckoning (no spoilers), and ultimately, forgiveness.

The last half of the book is focused on the short stories. Among them, I also enjoyed the story about Onions that ended a marriage, a magical tale – A Moment of Alignment – about love, loss and a chance to meet up with a lost loved one when the sun and the moon align, and The Enhancement Project– a sci-fi short where Cronin manages to zing in her ‘known for’ sentimental ending.

Sally Cronin has the knack for bringing in emotions to her stories no matter the genre. She wraps up the book beautifully with a fashionable tribute to ‘The Duchess‘, a tribute to Cronin’s mother.

A wonderful book with something to satisfy all genre readers. I highly recommend.


Now, let’s see what Sally is up to!


How lovely to be invited over to your house Debby and thank you for the opportunity to talk about myself and my writing.

D.G. – My absolute pleasure to have you over and share some new things about yourself and your work Sal. It’s a treat to put you in the spotlight after all you do for so many of us at your Smorgasbord Invitation.


If you weren’t a writer what else do you think you would do?

I think that ship might have sailed now, as apart from being a bit long in the tooth to be embarking on a new full-time career, I am obsessed with writing. However, despite working in a number of different industries, if I had my time over again, I would have chosen the police force as my career. It was an option when I was 18 years old, but women in the police force nearly 50 years ago did not have the same opportunities as they do today. However, if I was that age again, I would certainly apply to be a police officer and would welcome the opportunity to work hard and become a detective. I have always enjoyed reading detective and crime novels and also real crime stories. I find it fascinating and I think I would have been good at the job.

D.G. – Whodathunk? I would have never figured you for a police officer – but a detective – oh ya! Lol.


What can you tell us you’ve gained from blogging as an author?

As an author and a person I have gained a huge amount from blogging over the last seven years. And you Debby have been a major part of that journey for the last five years, and along with other supportive and generous bloggers, it has provided a safe and creative environment to write and experiment with different styles and genres.

Interaction with others is so inspiring and motivating, and the encouragement of people you respect is essential for a writer. Importantly, especially for those just starting out in blogging or their writing career in general, it must be a two way street. That is the only way strong and long lasting relationships are developed. If you want to reap the benefits of blogging you need to reach out, connect, and offer the same level of support to others that they offer in return.

I feel very strongly that moving passed our immediate circle of friends and family, out into the global village of blogging, is a way to keep young in heart, body and mind. It is a social, stimulating way to build friendships and keep learning and writing our entire lives.

D.G. – Thanks for the kudos Sal. But, it’s no wonder you and I connected because we have so many of the same beliefs in common, especially when it comes to blogging protocol. Like anything in life – you get what you give. 🙂


Do your books have messages in them? If so, what are the messages you feel are well received by your readers?

Being a perfectly flawed example of humankind myself, I am reluctant to preach to others on any subject. I do however feel that as a writer we have a responsibility to ensure that whilst there is evil in the world, there is also justice. Not all my stories are happy ever after, but I do hope there is satisfactory closure.

Far too many people these days think they can behave as they wish without consequences, and it is not a good message to spread. You cannot love or agree with everyone, but I was brought up to believe that ‘If you cannot say something nice about someone, don’t say anything.’

This is not to say that I don’t occasionally have a rant about some things on my blog, but hopefully I also offer what I consider a suitable solution to unacceptable behavior. I will admit to being a little non PC with some of my forms of retribution!

D.G. – Lol, sorry, just had to laugh, because, well, you know me! We are both justice seekers and I too sometimes have a very difficult time keeping my opinions to myself, lol.


Do you watch TV? If so what is your favorite show and why?

We have not had mainstream television service for over twenty years. Living in Madrid we were not interested in having local programming so invested heavily in DVDs including boxed sets for wonderful shows such as the West Wing. We don’t watch soaps or sport…shock and horror… but we do enjoy good quality drama series and films.

I cannot abide the adverts and with some stations as it is every ten minutes for five minutes. I have bought all the major items that I am going to buy in my lifetime and I don’t need to be reminded to buy toilet paper, bleach or chocolate. I certainly don’t need the drug peddling that is carried out from pain relief to pre-dinner antacids! (Sorry, I did say that I do have a rant sometimes!)

With streaming services now it is easy to grab a whole series when you find one with high ratings, and recently we have become addicted to the Scandinavian television series and I can highly recommend them. They do have sub-titles but after a few minutes you really don’t notice, and they are well written, great story lines and cast. And best of all…there are no adverts.

We will binge watch a series in the evenings and weekends and have a movie night a week.

Michael Connelly


And as to the question about which is my favourite series…. Tough one but I get quite excited when I see there is another series of Bosch…based on the series of books by Michael Connelly (one of my favourite authors) about an offbeat L.A. Detective.


D.G. – I hear you loud and clear Sal. I catch my series I enjoy on HBO – particularly documentaries, my fav. If I add any other streaming channels, I may never get anything done, lol.


Which author friends of yours inspire you by being supportive to your writing?

Well, where do I start…I feel like I am doing an acceptance speech and terrified I am going to leave everyone out! Going back to my note on the benefits of blogging, it is amazing the people you meet who are so supportive and generous with their time and willingness to promote you. I think that holds true for the vast majority of authors who connect on blog sites and social media.

There are also writers who challenge you to step outside your comfort zone, such as Colleen Chesebro with her Tuesday Tanka Challenge – and Charli Mills of Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction – .

I am grateful to both, as my latest book Life’s Rich Tapestry, would not have been created without my accepting their challenges over the last two years.

Many others spring immediately to mind but I would be here until next Christmas if I was to mention everyone, but I hope I show how grateful I am to them on a regular basis.

But without a doubt, and not just because I am here as a guest today, one of the most generous and supportive authors for me and so many of you reading this is D.G Kaye… Debby Gies. A one woman PR machine who relentlessly spreads our work around social media… brilliant.

D.G. – You are good for the soul Sal. I’m truly humbled. Yes, maybe I got in the wrong business too, as I am a bit of a social butterfly, lol. But thank you. And I agree, Colleen’s poetry challenges have taught me a lot about poetry, still a long way to go. ❤


Thanks Debby for this opportunity to talk about things close to my heart.

My absolute pleasure having you over today Sally


Now Sally is generously sharing an excerpt from her newest book – Life’s Rich Tapestry


The Superiority of Cats

The Maine Coon King

There was no doubt that Napoleon, the Maine Coon cat, was from a long line of aristocrats. His owner Hermione Jackson had gone to great lengths when searching for the perfect kitten, to obtain one with the right pedigree. She had in fact travelled to Maine after consultation with a renowned breeder and had paid a small fortune for a male ball of fluff. She was looking for a companion after her husband Warren had wandered off with his personal assistant, so enamoured that he had happily allowed her to keep their magnificent home and a substantial annual income. Whilst she was happy to be relieved of his more boorish behaviours, she did miss the presence of another being in the massive mansion, and she reasoned that a cat would be less arduous than a dog, and better company than her erstwhile spouse.

Napoleon had grown into a stunning adult with the breed’s large, wide ears with soft hair tufts and regal lynx tufts attached to the tips. Even as a kitten he had assumed an all knowing expression that could convey pleasure or displeasure depending on his mood. He would turn his head and stare at you with his coppery gold eyes and bore deep into your soul. Woe betide any delay in producing his favourite lunch of fresh sardines.

Every summer day, Hermione would spend an hour or so in her expansive walled Florida garden in a hammock slung between two convenient coconut palms and Napoleon would vocalise his request to join her, at first politely and then more emphatically if he was ignored. His mistress was grateful that he chose to ask rather than pounce, as he was the weight of a medium sized dog by the age of two. She would struggle to lift him up into the hammock without falling out of the contraption, but once settled they would nap for an hour before their late afternoon dip in the pool.

It had become the custom early on in their relationship to swim a few lengths as the day cooled down, before lying out in the final rays to dry themselves off. Napoleon would then lead the way into the house for dinner. The menu usually included some carefully prepared chicken or beef ground up with a few recommended additions, such as spinach and fish oils. Hermione even began to follow the same diet to make food preparation less complex, and would simply add some rice or pasta to the same dish.


Thank you so much for being my guest today Sal. It’s always a pleasure to have you over.


Visit Sally on all her social platforms:


Blog: Smorgasbord Invitation


Some of my printed books are available from me directly at, but here are the books that you can buy from Amazon in E-book.

Visit Sally’s Amazon Author Page where you will find all her books.

Books by Sally Cronin


© D.G. Kaye and, 2014 – 2021. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to D.G. Kaye


Sunday Movie Review – Green Book – Best Picture 2019

Today’s Sunday Movie Review is for Best Picture – Oscar winning movie Green Book. As many of my readers here know, besides the books I prefer to read for light entertainment and escape, my favorite books and movies all have the components of the human spirit and condition based story lines. This is a factual based story of classical American jazz pianist, Dr. Don Shirley on his roadtrip tour with a most unlikely character – Italian, mob-like Tony the Lip as his hired driver who drives Shirley around on tour in the deep south in 1962, at a time where blacks were being segregated. After watching this movie, it’s isn’t difficult to see why it won for best picture.


Story line: – As written by

Story line

In 1962, Tony “Tony Lip” Vallelonga, a tough bouncer, is looking for work when his nightclub is closed for renovations. The most promising offer turns out to be the driver for the African-American classical pianist Don Shirley for a concert tour into the Deep South states. Although hardly enthused at working for a black man, Tony accepts the job and they begin their trek armed with The Negro Motorist Green Book, a travel guide for safe travel through America’s racial segregation. Together, the snobbishly erudite pianist and the crudely practical bouncer can barely get along with their clashing attitudes to life and ideals. However, as the disparate pair witness and endure America’s appalling injustices on the road, they find a newfound respect for each other’s talents and start to face them together. In doing so, they would nurture a friendship and understanding that would change both their lives.



My 5 Star Review:

New York city, 1962, the Copa nightclub where Tony Lip’s job as ‘bouncer’ comes to a halt because of renovations to the club, leaving him looking for odd jobs to fill in his time and paycheck until the renovations are finished. At the same time, Afro-American classical  pianist,  Dr. Don Shirley is in search of a driver who can safely drive him throughout the deep south for his road tour.

Tony, as we are first introduced to him would seem the most unlikely character Shirley would pick for the task, but ultimately, Tony becomes the best pick Shirley could have hoped for as demonstrated through the story line. Tony is given the ‘Green Book’ to help him navigate the journey, which includes maps and offers ‘places to stay for black people’ while traveling.

Tony’s low-class, loud mouthed, uncultured, racketeering persona is very off-putting for esteemed Dr. Shirley, yet, as the movie progresses, the two form a bond of friendship, and a learning and acceptance for one another’s plight in life. Tony’s terrible use of language and mobster styled behavior eventually brings the snobbish Doc down a few pegs after spending much time alone together, and after realizing that it was those very unbecoming features of his driver that would help save the life of the good doctor.

As their friendship grows and Tony is faced with defending Doc many times through the journey – getting him out of a lot of racist jams, Tony also learns to appreciate the music of the prodigy doctor. A wonderful movie about friendship and loyalty despite the ugliness of racism.


The story behind the story:

The movie was written by ‘Tony the Lip’s’ son, Nick Vallelonga, who was 5 years old at the time Tony set out for his first tour with Shirley. When he returned and shared many of the road stories about some of the terrible things they encountered on the road of racism, young Nick vowed to make a movie about it someday – and he did. Dr. Shirley made him promise that he wouldn’t share the story publicly until he would die. Shirley died in 2013. You can read more about this true story of blind faith and friendship here, from the Smithsonianmag.


© D.G. Kaye and, 2014 – 2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to D.G. Kaye






Blogger Recognition Award Nominated by Stevie Turner

I was thrilled to be nominated for the Blogger Recognition Award by Stevie Turner. With each award there are rules of courtesy to follow. Here are the rules:



1. Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.

2. Write a post to show your award.

3. Give a brief story of how your blog started.

4. Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.

5. Select up to fifteen bloggers you want to give this award to.

6. Comment (or pingback) on each blog to let them know that you’ve nominated them and provide a link to the post you’ve created.


Blogger Recognition Award


How my blog got started:

I began blogging in 2013 about 8 months before I published my first book. I had no clue what I’d be blogging about, just that I learned it’s best to get blogging if you’re going to be self-published. I think it took me a good year to find a comfortable place about what I wanted my blog to represent – even though it is still a bit eclectic, but that’s my personality. Eventually, through discovering blogs I enjoyed reading and then forming friendships with other bloggers, my blog reading expanded exponentially. After almost two years of blogging I decided to get my own domain and website – always a cautious person that if anything went down the tubes with WordPress I wouldn’t lose my blog. The rest is history!


Two pieces of advice for new bloggers:

  1. Comments on our blogs are like gold, just as reviews are for our books. If you want your community to grow –  like, share, leave comments on other’s blogs and you will find all will be reciprocated. You get what you give!
  2. My pet peeve – blogs written in tiny print on background colors drowning the already tiny print is a double no no. Blogs that are difficult to read will have people leaving. I know, because I do the same. Make your blogs welcoming and eye appealing for readers.


I don’t typically pick out names to nominate others because I don’t like to single anyone out or leave anyone out because I treasure all my readers, but today I’m going to pass this award along with a theme to help me choose. I’m nominating some writer friends who have been some of my biggest supporters and have helped me many times over with either beta, proofing, and early feedback for my books along the way to publication. I know some have already received this award, and you don’t have to follow protocol if you choose not to. Just know you have been acknowledged.


Stevie Turner

Sally Cronin

Colleen Chesebro 

Deborah Jay

Doris Heilmann

Carol Balawyder

Christoph Fischer


Thank you all!



Source: Blogger Recognition Award | Stevie Turner


Note: No surprise Sally Cronin was been nominated more than once, and once again, generously nominated me again. Sally has created an image for the award that I have proudly added to this post.


More Notes: Since the posting of this thank you post, I’d like to acknowledge that I humbly have also been nominated by Colleen Chesebro and Sue Vincent. Thank you so much to all of you. I am thrilled to know I’ve made a difference to all of you at least in some small way.


© D.G. Kaye and, 2014 – 2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to D.G. Kaye