While I’m busy catching up on my writing and life in general (while still under self-imposed quarantine after my return last week from Mexico), I’m thrilled to share this lovely post that Miriam Hurdle put up on a double-header book review post for both my book, Conflicted Hearts and Sally Cronin’s, Life’s Rich Tapestry. Thank you Miriam for this lovely review and for featuring Sally and myself together once again!
I have followed Sally Cronin’s blog for some time and always enjoy reading her writing of short stories, articles on health and well-being and various subjects.
I read this book, Life’s Rich Tapestry: Woven in Words, with great expectation. By the subtitle, I knew it includes poetry, fiction and short stories. The book includes the four seasons, all things human, fairy tales, the nature, the pets and short stories.
In the Seasons of the Year – The scenes of the seasons passed in front of my eyes. I could see the colors of the seasons and smell the fragrance, feel the breeze of warm and cold air, hearing the joyful sounds in the family gatherings.
In All Things Human, rich words flowed from Cronin’s true experience or imagination, ranged from youth to old age, joy and sadness, human interactions and self-reflections.
From Cronin’s blog, I know that the author is a pet lover. There are stories covering the puppy’s unconditional love of the owner, the owner’s lessons learned from the pets, and stories about playful dogs and cats.
Among the short stories, I felt in love with the story You Are Never Too Old to Be Loved, which is about a beautiful old dog, Jack, whose owner, Mrs. Jones, died. The day before Christmas, a man greeted him. This man recognized Jack from his teen years and took him home and gave him a love and care.
The 99-word micro fiction and the Speculative fiction are enchanting. I especially love The ‘1812 Overture’ which was the music the author enjoyed and embedded this piece of music into the fictional story.
I write poetry, fiction and short stories and feel at home reading Cronin’s book and understand the rhymes and lines and syllable count of her poetry. The enthusiastic nature of the author brings positive resolutions to her stories. This book includes a wide variety of genres that all readers will find something interesting to read. I highly recommend this book to any reader.
The Second Review is Conflicted Hearts: A Daughter’s Quest for Solace from Emotional Guilt by D.G. Kaye
In her book Conflicted Hearts, Kaye recounted her vivid memories of her painful experience growing up with a narcissist mother whose interest was partying, smoking, gambling and getting male’s attention to herself. Her mother threw out her father frequently and had male companions in the house with the children’s presence. Kaye’s father returned home long enough to make babies but had no guarantee to stay. She felt sad for her father. She couldn’t concentrate at school. Instead, she expected the disappearance of her father or anger from her mother. She did not receive the nurturing needed for a happy childhood. Instead of being a child, she felt responsible and be the parent to her father. Later, she found out that the paternal grandparents didn’t like her because her mother was pregnant with her and caused her parents’ marriage. She felt it was her fault, and that she was the reason for her father to marry her mother. She considered herself as the black sheep, the accident. If her father married someone else, he would have been happier. Her mother was never home and had babysitter watching the four children until Kaye was twelve and became a babysitter.
Aunty Sherry was the only adult to show her guidance, concern and attention. Sherry got married in her forties and didn’t have children.
Kaye moved to an apartment at age eighteen. She went to university part-time studying classical music and singing, but never made it. She then supported herself by working in the Casinos dealing cards. During those years, Kaye had relationships with married men. Eventually she married a loving, thoughtful husband. Eventually she got married to a love and caring husband.
As a mother and a grandmother, I couldn’t imagine such a person as Kaye’s self-centered mother. I felt horrified when Kaye’s baby brother wandered off a mile away while the mother was asleep late in the morning recovering from the late-night party. Children are the ones who suffer the most in a dysfunctional home. Kaye’s parents had problems with their marriage, yet four babies were brought into the world. I feel that Kaye’s mother had sex for pleasure and didn’t understand the consequence. Kaye should never feel responsible for causing the parents to get married. Regardless, Kaye became a sensitive person and led a happy life.
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.
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.
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.
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. https://www.amazon.com/Michael-Connelly/e/B000APETH0
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.
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.
I’m reblogging Sally Cronin’s new announcement to the world about the birth of her newest book – Life’s Rich Tapestry – Woven in words. A true smorgasbord of stories about life told in various styles of prose, poetry, microfiction, and more. I for one can’t wait to see what Sally is up to now that she’s been championing some fantastic poetry this past year in particular taking part in Colleen Chesebro’s Weekly Poetry Challenge. And for those of you who don’t yet know Sally and her generous offerings to feature authors and bloggers and books at her Smorgasbord Invitation, you should hop over and take a sample of today’s offerings of books, information, entertainment, and magazine features.
Now for Sally’s announcement
Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Christmas Book Fair – New Collection – #Verse #Short Stories – Life’s Rich Tapestry : Woven in Words by Sally Cronin
Delighted to share the news of my own new release today. Life’s Rich Tapestry : Woven in Words is a collection of verse, micro fiction and speculative short stories.
About Life’s Rich Tapestry
Life’s Rich Tapestry is a collection of verse, microfiction and short stories that explore many aspects of our human nature and the wonders of the natural world. Reflections on our earliest beginnings and what is yet to come, with characters as diverse as a French speaking elephant and a cyborg warrior.
Finding the right number of syllables for a Haiku, Tanka, Etheree or Cinquain focuses the mind; as does 99 word microfiction, bringing a different level of intensity to storytelling. You will find stories about the past, the present and the future told in 17 syllables to 2,000 words, all celebrating life.
This book is also recognition of the value to a writer, of being part of a generous and inspiring blogging community, where writing challenges encourage us to explore new styles and genres.