Guest Author Feature – Sally Cronin on #Friendship and a Sneak Peak of her Upcoming Book

Featured author of the week


I am thrilled to have back over here, Sally Cronin of the wonderful Smorgasbord Invitation. Sally is one of the busiest bloggers and authors I know, and that is saying a lot because as writers, we are always busy juggling many things at once. But Sally runs her always informative and entertaining blog where she features her short stories, her health articles, her bookstore and cafe where she features the works of other authors, a Blog Magazine Column on several topics where a few authors, including myself, write for once a month, as well as many articles to make us smile. As though her blog wasn’t enough to keep her busy, she is also the author of  almost 12 books!


Today Sally is sharing her thoughts with us on friendships and how our connections with friends has changed through the years, and especially with the advancement of digital connections. Sally has also included a generous sneak peak of her upcoming book – Tales from the Irish Garden – to be released in September. I’m honored to be able to share an excerpt of that upcoming book for the first time, right here on this post!


Sally Cronin

About Sally Cronin:

I have lived a fairly nomadic existence living in eight countries including the Sri Lanka, South Africa and USA 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.

I have been a storyteller most of my life (my mother called them fibs!). Poetry, song lyrics and short stories were left behind when work and life intruded, but that all changed in 1996. My first book Size Matters was a health and weight loss book based on my own experiences of losing 70kilo. I have written another ten books since then on health and also fiction including three collections of short stories. I am an indie author and proud to be one. My greatest pleasure comes from those readers who enjoy my take on health, characters and twisted endings… and of course come back for more.


Online friends


The Changing Face of Friendship


My thanks to Debby for inviting me over for a chat today on her amazing blog.  Her friendship is one that supports and encourages me on a daily basis, and has made me a firm believer in the positive aspects of social media platforms.

I wish that this technology had been around a long time ago. As a child we moved around a lot, and the greatest sadness for me was leaving friends behind. I have met people, who still have a relationship that have lasted 50 years since school because they have remained in their home town, but I am sure many of you have moved and lost contact. I would have two years at most in a school, make good friends and then we would be off to another country, and the process began again.

I did try to keep in touch, especially as I got into my teens, and following our return from South Africa, I corresponded for about a year with my best friend from school. I saved up for the stamps out of my pocket money and on average we would both write once a month.  After about 12 months, the letters began to dwindle. Whilst I managed to scrape together the money for one stamp a month to South Africa, there was no way that I could afford five or six to keep up with my other school friends.

This pattern was repeated until I was 14 years old when we returned to Portsmouth from Lancashire, and even though this was the same country, it was still difficult to keep in touch.   There was no Facebook, Twitter or any other social media and in our house, and I am sure in many of your homes, the phone was only for important calls and not to be wasted on hour long chit chat with friends!

Recently, I have been sharing the letters I wrote home weekly to my parent s from Houston in Texas, where we lived for two years from 1985 to 1987. As I type them up for the posts, it is interesting how rarely I mention the fact that we had spoken on the telephone, as it was very expensive back then to call internationally, especially for my parents. If we did speak, it would be for a few minutes, and notes would be made beforehand to ensure we got in everything we had to say!

Thankfully by the early to mid-1990s, email became more and more accessible, and that made a huge difference. I was able to get back in touch with the friends that we made in Texas, and several of us are still in touch today.  The wonders of modern technology enable us to speak face to face, which adds such an incredible element to maintaining a relationship. And with the added bonus of being able add a number of people to the conversation, you can almost have a party!

The Internet has brought us many things, some of which are less attractive than others. It brings the world to our desktop or device, often within minutes of an event. It enables us to watch the highs and lows of humanity as it struggles to survive, but it also brings us the most amazing opportunities for friendship, never experienced before in the history of humankind.

There are amazing benefits to enjoying strong friendship with others, including those that support our physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.

There is no doubt that many of us suffer from health issues and some people carry that burden throughout their lives.  As we get older, there are likely to be some aches and pains, and possibly more serious health problems that develop. The worst thing about ill health, grief or depression, is the feeling of isolation; that you are dealing with the issue alone.  I see posts in my timeline from people who are in hospital, who have been diagnosed with cancer, have lost a loved one, have been fired from their job or have a broken relationship.  They are reaching out in need of human contact, and if you then scroll down the post, you will see the most amazing words of encouragement, support and love.  That sense of not being alone and unnoticed, and that people who you have only met through an online platform, care enough to support you, makes a huge difference to recovery physically, mentally and emotionally.

We also are mentally stimulated by our interactions with others, and one of the key factors in maintaining a healthy brain, is to actively explore the world and learn more about the people in it. It is amazing to me to have online chats with people thousands of miles away, in countries that I will never visit in my lifetime, and discover so many new and exciting aspects to their lives. I also love reading their blog posts and are informative and entertaining.

Emotionally there is a sense of belonging to a group of like-minded people who share your passions, values and who confirm that you are part of the big picture.  I am sure that like me, many of you switch your computer on in the morning, heading over to Facebook to see what your friends are up to. It is wonderful to share in their celebrations, travels and also to support them when things are not going as well as they might. I am sure that like me, you don’t accept everyone as a friend. The odd one slips through, who is after more than a chat about the weather and life, but that is the same in the offline world too.

You won’t become close with everyone that you connect with online, but over time you will find that you have a circle of contacts that move into closer relationships, that are treasured, and will last hopefully for a long time.

Debby and I first made contact through my blog back in early 2015 and within a few weeks, she was my guest on my Sunday interview….

I checked, and our first email communications were about a month earlier than that, and we had also connected on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+.

Since that time we have discovered that we have much in common.  Certainly we seem to share quite a few of life’s ups and downs and our passion for books, health, travel and sense of humour. It has developed over that three years into a friendship that is just as important to me as those I have with anyone offline. Today Debby is a valued contributor to my blog with her fantastic Travel Column.

At the start of this post I talked about how sad I felt that I have left so many friends behind over the years. There is no excuse for that today and even if we never meet face to face, and some of our connections will drop away for one reason or another, we still can make every effort to keep in touch and be there for each other in many wonderful ways. The technology will evolve  and offer many more ways to maintain friendships throughout our lifetimes, however far apart we might live in the physical world. I hope to still be talking to you when I am 90 and aging disgracefully!

I am sure that I have left one or two names off this world of friendship, but isn’t it an amazing privilege to be able to say that you have pen pals across the globe ,that you can communicate with at the touch of a button?




For you Sally Cronin fans out there, heads up! Sally will be launching her newest book in early fall – Tales from the Irish Garden. For those of you who haven’t read her first book in the series where Sally brings her beautiful Spanish garden to life, Sally now takes us into her Irish Garden to find out how the fairy queen and her court are coping with their move from Spain and the new characters that they have discovered with the move to Ireland.


  1. Sally, please give us a little taster about your new and upcoming book.


Tales from the Irish Garden has a different format this time, more of a novel than a series of short stories. Queen Filigree has to vacate the palace under the magnolia tree in Spain for a number of reasons and there is a massive exodus to the Emerald Island and the magic garden. There she and her courtiers meet the Storyteller who is the guardian of the garden and they move into a palace in the roots of his magnolia tree. The story follows their adventures over the next twelve months from Christmas to Christmas.


  1. Can we expect to meet some new characters in this book or have you transported all your characters from Book 1 into your Irish garden?


There are some returning characters but unfortunately many of the guardian statues from the Spanish garden were too heavy to transport. However, one or two made in under their own steam, such as the eagles and also the lost princess. But there are plenty of new characters to meet including Jeremy the Donkey, The Dapperman, the half-fairy Summer and her children, and many creatures from the forest around the garden. Some of the illustrations were done by Donata Zawadzka and I love the way that she has captured the queen and some of the other characters.


  1. When can we expect to get our hands on a copy of this book?


I am planning to wait until after the summer and will launch both the E-book and print versions at the end of September.


Here is a short excerpt from Chapter Four of Tales from the Irish Garden along with one of the illustrations from Donata Zawadzka which will appear in the book. This has yet to be finally edited.



Website Donata Zawadzka:



The Flight to the New Land and The Storyteller


 Back at the Palace it was pandemonium, with fairies flying around in a discordant symphony of gossamer wings. Finally, after a day of panic, Queen Filigree ordered her advisors to bring all the members of the court to the ballroom so that she could address them. She also summoned Jacamo the pigeon master, the Queen Bee from the royal hives and Sir Gregory’s chief butterfly messenger; all of whom were essential to the planning of this massive migration to the new land.



‘I want you all to sit down on the chairs provided and close your eyes for a few moments to compose yourselves.’ Queen Filigree looked around the ballroom to make sure all complied with her order. When all the fairies were sitting calmly, she took a deep breath herself, and then issued the following edict.


‘Unfortunately we cannot pack all that we have collected in the last 700 years, and we also cannot transport many of our stone guardians that have guarded our secrets so well.’ The queen heard one or two gasps and ran her eyes over the crowded chamber until she spotted several of her courtiers with their eyes open in dismay.


‘Fairy Nikisha, close your eyes this instant and pay attention.’ Immediately she saw the little blonde fairy’s eyes snap shut again.


Satisfied that she had everyone’s attention she continued.


‘Those guardians that we cannot carry by swan, will be transported north for safety to Prince Zachary’s palace, where one day he will be king. He lives in a safe haven that is protected land, and they will be welcomed there. I charge them with caring for my beloved son and his family for their lifetime.’


Those listening heard the break in their beloved queen’s voice, as she shared this news of their revered guardians. ‘It is with much sadness that I lose their loyalty and wisdom, but we will be taking with us the eagles, who have been our guardians since Roman times, and the Princess Lucinda who came to us from my mother’s kingdom in Anglo.’


Tears were in the queen’s eyes as she took a moment to compose herself. She knew that she had done the best she could for her beloved guardians, and she smiled wryly at the thought that she would even miss that wretched Stoned Band.


‘Now, all of you are to take one silk bag from the corner, and that will be sufficient for some clothes, toiletries, personal mementos, and a honey drink and blueberry muffin for the trip. The Swan Express will be supplying us with Canadian Geese to carry the passengers, and Swan Cobs for the household items such as furniture, linen and gold.’


Queen Filigree clapped her hands. ‘Now, open your eyes all of you, and has anyone got any questions.’


Immediately the Queen Bee lifted one of her furry feet and waved it in the air and began to buzz her question.


‘Your majesty, what about my subjects, and the stores of beeswax and honey, how are they to be transported?’


‘Thank you for asking Queen Bee. You and your hive will be transported in special honey baskets that will be provided by Swan Express. They will be strapped to their most experienced employees, and will leave in two days.’ Satisfied with the solution, the bee queen left to organise her minions.


The next three days passed in a much more orderly fashion, with treasures taken up from the roots of the magnolia, to waiting swans with capacious saddle bags that were filled to the brim. When they left fully loaded, they also carried a senior courtier, who would organise the unpacking and furnishing of the new palace on the Emerald Island.


With only a day to spare, Jacamo and the queen, released all the non-nesting pigeons into the warm spring air to make their own way. A message had already been sent to the Storyteller who had built a dovecote in the branches of the magnolia tree in preparation for their arrival, and within three days, they were all safely roosting and exploring their new surroundings.


On the last day, a line of Canadian Geese lined up on the grass, as a queue of nervous fairy’s clasping silk bags with their treasure possessions, waited to fly up to take their seat along the bird’s broad back. Each was tied on with a thread of spider’s silk and a humming bird moved between them checking they were strapped in and comfortable.


The last goose in the line was reserved for Queen Filigree and her two daughters, with considerably more bags of belongings than those flying in economy. But, as a queen it was important that she meet her new guardian, the Storyteller suitably attired.


With everything loaded, she turned for one last look at the garden that had been her home and kingdom for 700 years, following her arrival as a young bride to the handsome prince. He was now long banished to the human world for his dishonourable behaviour. However, she had many happy memories of her life here, and she would so miss her guardians in the garden, now departed for her son’s palace. She looked up at the branches at the broad green leaves of the magnolia, and saw the tears that had formed on the tips dripping onto the ground. Her own eyes overflowed and she wiped them away with sorrow.


With a deep sigh she flew up to the broad back of the goose where her throne was tied down with spider silk, ready to receive her royal behind. A humming bird brought her a glass of amber nectar, and a packet of honeycomb mixed with ginger in case she felt airsick during the flight. After thanking the flight attendant, the Queen checked that her two daughters were safely seated behind her, and waved her wand in the air to signal that the goose could take to the air.


The goose did a circuit of the now empty magic garden to check that no fairy had been left behind. With a final wave Queen Filigree said her farewell and settled down for the long flight to her new home.



Thanks again Debby for your friendship and support… you are treasured.


Visit Sally’s blog at the Smorgasbord Invitation and meet some new bloggers, add your books to Sally’s Bookstore and Cafe as well as many other opportunities Sally offers.


My latest book was published on 27th July 2017  What’s in a Name – Stories of Life and Romance.. This is Volume Two and takes ordinary people with ordinary names who leave a lasting impression.

You can buy the book here:


And Amazon UK :


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Books by Sally Cronin


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Smashwords or you can buy safely direct from my own selling pages.

If you would like to talk to me about guest blogging or to participate in any of the FREE book promotions you can find details at this link.

An interview with author Sally Cronin | Joy Lennick

Friday blogshare

Meet Sally Cronin. Most of us know Sally from her wonderful blog – The Smorgasbord Invitation, where she entertains us with music, books, interviews, laughter, and her health series with her expertise on the human body and how it functions. Well today she’s over at Joy Lennick’s blog divulging some of her personal thoughts about herself and life. #Recommended!


An interview with author Sally Cronin

Sally CroninThank you very much Joy for inviting me over for an interview… it is a great pleasure.

Where you born and what was your first memory?

I was born in Wickham, a village in Hampshire, not far from Portsmouth. My parents lived in a house that my mother grew up in from about the age of 8 years old. Her step-father was the village butcher, with a shop in the main square. We went to Ceylon, as it was called in those days, when I was 18 months old for two years, and my first memories were of noisy monkeys. Small macaques lived all around us in the forest, and they would come into the house at any opportunity to thieve food, my father’s cigarettes and my mother’s jewellry. I also have vivid memories of the scents and sunshine, and I remember swimming at a very early age in my rubber ring, following my sisters everywhere including into the water.

Most poignant memory?

Probably my most poignant memory is visiting my grandfather’s grave for the first time in 1998. He died on November 2nd, 1918 and was buried in a small military cemetery in the village of Poid-du-Nord , close to the Belgium border. My sister had done the research to locate his grave and taken my mother there for her first visit in 1996. David and I were living in Brussels and we took my mother back to lay a wreath on the 80th Anniversary of his death. She was only 12 months old when he died, and therefore never knew him. But it was still very emotional for us all. He was 31 years old and left a legacy behind that he could never have imagined. I am sure he would have been proud of his daughter, who lived to 95 years old; travelled the world, and his four grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.

What place you’ve lived or visited has remained special to you?

We have moved around so much as a family, and David and I have lived in six countries since we married in 1980. If I had to pick one place it would be our home in the mountains to the north of Madrid where we lived for 17 years. We had panoramic views from where we lived at 900 metres, across a valley to another mountain range and also over a plain for 50 miles. The weather was alpine with long hot summers, very dry so a lovely heat, and very old, crisp winters with snow. The sun was usually shining for about 250 days a year which was wonderful and I swam every day for two hours from May to October. The friends we made were amazing and we loved the lifestyle, spending most of our time outside. Great people, wonderful food, fabulous weather and memories.

end of the day 1 sml

The view from our front terrace – perfect for a sundowner.

Did anyone inspire you to write or was it something you naturally turned to?

My sisters read me bedtime stories and as soon as I could read I was off like a rocket. I was like a sponge reading books way above my pay grade. Every author I have read inspired me to write; as a child I would make up stories . . . please continue reading at Joy’s blog


Source: An interview with author Sally Cronin | Joy Lennick

Guest Author Friday – Who Has a New Book? Featuring Sally Cronin



I’m thrilled to be featuring today’s guest, Sally Cronin here on my blog! Many of you in the blogosphere may know Sally, and for the many more of you who don’t, you’re in for a treat!


About Sally:

After working in a number of industries for over 25 years, I decided that I wanted to pursue a completely different career, one that I had always been fascinated with. I began studying Nutrition and the human body twenty years ago and I opened my first diet advisory centre in Ireland in 1998.

Over the last 18 years I have practiced in Ireland and the UK as well as written columns, articles and radio programmes on health and nutrition. I published my first book with a Canadian self-publisher in the late 90s and since then have republished that book and released eight others as part of our own self-publishing company. Apart from health I also enjoy writing fiction in the form of novels and short stories.


Sally is not only a talented and diverse writer of several books, but she’s one of the most generous bloggers around who offers several author promotion series on her blogs for authors to promote their books on her blog. I am honored to have been one of those author’s who she has promoted several times, and blessed to have her friendship. And in today’s interview, we will be learning a little more about Sally, and about her interesting decision she made to write her latest book, The R’s of Life, on her blog.



“Thank you for inviting me over today Debby …”


It’s my pleasure to have you over Sal, and now let’s get into the goods! 


Sally, please tell us a little about how and why you came up with the idea to write The R’s of Life?

I was actually browsing an online thesaurus looking for some alternatives to describe respect.  While I was in the R section I noticed that a great many words applied to life’s experiences and I jotted down a few. Just for the fun of it I then expanded the list and found around 35 possible chapter headings.  I had no intention of writing another book but I became intrigued about where it might lead me.


Can you share with us, a little excerpt from one of the ‘R’ chapters?

Chapter Two – Respect – For ourselves and others.

It is always so easy to criticise and I don’t want these observations on the aspects of life that I have experienced to be completely negative. However, there are some human traits that seem to be devolving rather than evolving and I don’t believe it is a trend we want to continue.

In this chapter I am going to explore the very thorny subject of respect. This is a topic that needs to be divided into two areas to do it justice. It is one of the fundamental survival tools we have at our disposal and sadly does not receive the prominence it deserves in the headlines.

Self-respect has to come first, as without that basic component, we are unlikely to succeed in life in a way that is acceptable to those close to us, and those we meet along the way.

It should not be confused with self-esteem. This is a value that we adopt and then present to the world in varying degrees. It is interesting that you hear the expression ‘low self-esteem‘ frequently and there are many specialists who are happy to  help you raise that to an approved level. It is quite strange to me that anyone considered to have overstepped that approval level is treated quite harshly and labelled arrogant or full of themselves!.

One way to reach a healthy and productive level of self-esteem is to first establish your self-respect which is a process that begins the moment you are born.

We arrive in this world as wildlings and continue to scream and demand food and attention during the first few years. If we are lucky, and in an ideal world, we have parents who guide us into a more civilized mode of behaviour. Slowly but surely we learn the accepted social graces that enable us to exist side by side with others.  This includes courtesy, respect for others and the ability to co-exist peacefully with them……


We know you are writing The R’s of Life live on your blog and sharing the process with your readers. What made you decide to write the book in this manner?

I wrote Tales from the Garden using the same process and I found that I received feedback immediately in the form of comments and I quickly realised what aspects of the stories were the most popular.. Humour, romance and a touch of wickedness. When I edited the stories at the end of the process it enabled me to tweak some of the stories.  There were around 50 regular visitors to the series and they were my Beta readers. Something that would have been very difficult to achieve conventionally if I had written and then sent copies out. At first I was concerned about sales of the book but at the end of the series I took all the stories down and people who had read them all still bought the book.


Many who know you, know you’re a versatile writer from fictional stories to nonfiction, to books about health. Are your fictional stories created from real life experiences too?

I believe all of us include elements of ourselves  and those we have met in our writing.  People underestimate even small events from their past and how they can be great prompts for short stories and even novels.

Also I have read books from a very early age and that stimulated my imagination. I love to give that free rein too.


Can you tell us about how you acquired your knowledge in health and nutrition?

I started studying nutrition in relation to the body about twenty years ago. I always enjoyed biology at school and I trained as a dental nurse and intended to also train as an RN.  However, life got in the way and that was put on hold. At 42 I  developed severe health problems because of my obesity and I needed to lose 11 stone. I had followed every diet under the sun it seemed but needless to say they always failed leaving me desperately unhappy.

I knew that I had to take matters into my own hands so began to look at my body in different way and also the food that I was eating.  Whilst it may sound boring, the fact that I was eating Vitamin A, C and E for breakfast with Omega 3 for lunch and plenty of anti-oxidants for dinner with lean protein, encouraged me to treat my body with a lot more respect.

I love food and that will never change, but I love my life and health more. Understanding how my body works and what it needs in relation to food and nutrients was a huge turning point for me and for the clients that I work with.


You are well-known in the blogging community as a great sharer of information and of the works of fellow writers. Can you share some of your wisdom about building a platform and how new bloggers can gain new followers?

I knew nothing when I wrote my first blog post and I am still learning every day. There are a great many very helpful sites that are happy to help you and at first I was a bit confused by all the dos and don’ts but gradually I developed my blog and social media over the last three years.

Key for me.

An interesting ‘about page’ with a name to attach to the blog as people do feel awkward addressing Ms Smorgasbord.  People buy people first.. A photo is a good idea as people will relate to you more.

Use of all the share buttons on your posts including for social media that you might not use yourself as some of your readers do and will share there.

A clear menu system where people can find past posts

Automatic linking to social media so that when a post is published it immediately travels through cyberspace bringing readers to your blog.

Reblog and share the posts you find interesting by other bloggers and build a reciprocal relationship with them.  Interviews, guest posts are a great way to reach a new audience.

Accept that it does not happen overnight and be consistent even if it is one post a week.

Always respond to comments on your posts

Remember that your blog is not all about you but about others and their interests. Constant self-promotion seldom wins followers on a blog or on social media. But, make sure that you have a page in your menu that does promote your work and send it out to the social media sites at least once a week.

Love the process.. If it is a chore to keep your blog going then perhaps it is not for you.


How do you manage time to write when you’re so busy settling in your new home, putting out many posts daily, and sharing the work of others?

I consider blogging and writing in general my job. For example, I have my own books to promote and also our self-publishing services . I also love putting together posts that interest people and that they find useful. I may not be practicing as a nutritional therapist currently, but making a difference to how someone feels is very important to me.

In recent years we have been quite isolated in our home in Madrid and since I began blogging I have met amazing people from all around the world who I can connect with at the touch of a button.  Time zones do not matter and I love the relationships I have been lucky enough to develop that are very important to me.. Such as being interviewed by an author and friend who lives in Canada!

Okay, this one is a biggee! I know I’m curious, so I’m sure other readers here would love to know, what magical formula do you use to have the time to read and comment on many blogs, share around on social sites and your blog, and prepare so many different promotions you put together from your generous offer to other writers to promote their work on your blog, keep your other blog series going, and function in ‘real life’? I’ll have what you’re having! LOL

You make me sound like wonder woman Debby.  One of the useful tricks I discovered was to schedule my posts in advance for several days ahead. At the moment I am two days in advance because there is a great deal of activity going on in the house. But sometimes I can have a week of posts in the buffer.  I cook that way too!!! This means that I can pop in first thing in the morning , midday and then at night to answer comments, reblog others, respond to social media but it actually leaves big chunks of the day for writing my books and at the moment, making curtains.

I worked in an industry that required project planning and time management and those skills have crossed over to this career. I think that is key  as I view it as a long-term project that I hope to be developing for many years to come.

Oh and did I mention coffee, chocolate and a self-sufficient husband!


Thanks very much Debby for inviting me over today.. It has been a great deal of fun and I hope that you will be able to make it to the Blogger’s Bash next year along with many others so that we can all meet our friends face to face.


Thank YOU Sally for taking some time to do this interview, and for sharing some of yourself and blogging tips, as well as your excerpt and open invitation to all readers to follow your book, The R’s of Life, as you write it live on your blog! I have every intention of getting to the Bash next year!

For all readers here who would like to read all chapters previously published on Sally’s blog of her book, you can follow this link


You can also view all of Sally’s books HERE where you will find her ‘buy links’. Or just hop on over to Amazon by CLICKING HERE, where you’ll be taken directly to her author page.


Visit Sally’s blog at The Smorgasbord Invitation, which is aptly titled. You can check on her menu for her many categories of blog posts and her section where she offers authors to promote their books and stories on her blog.


Follow Sally on Social Media!