News Flash!

Just a quick note to let you know that I won’t be around very much for the next couple of weeks. I have had several unexpected things happen in the last few days on top of an already busy schedule, and something has to give way somewhere. Some of the issues are family-related (good things!) and some are health-related (not such good things), and when added to everything else on my plate, I feel I need to take a blogging break to deal with them. Thankfully, the hurricane which hit south Florida this morning looks as though it’s heading out into the Gulf to die, so that’s one unpleasant surprise that may disappear from our part of the state soon. Some of the others will take longer to resolve themselves, but rest assured, I have every intention of getting back here just as soon as possible.

I’ve already scheduled the next two #GuestDayTuesday posts and those will run as planned. I’m going to have to put a hold on #WildlifeWednesday, #FirstLineFriday, #ThorsdaySmiles, and #MondayMemes for a couple of weeks, though. 

I’ve never had to do this before, and I’ve been blogging somewhere between 15 and 20 years, so trust me that I wouldn’t do it now, if it weren’t necessary. I know you’ll understand, and I promise to return just as soon as possible. There may even be a day or two when I can sneak over to say hello, but I can’t promise. In the meantime, just know that I will miss you all very much! You bring a great deal of joy into my life, and I will be eagerly awaiting the day when I can get back at it!

Thanks so much for your support and friendship! See you soon! 🙂 ❤

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Weekly Round Up 1st – 7th November 2020 -Interviews, Streisand, War Poets, Short stories, Reviews, Books and funnies

Another great week over on Sally Cronin’s Smorgasbord, filled with all kinds of goodies, including her stop by The Write Stuff last Tuesday! Always fun to check out this wonderful weekly recap, and when you’re done, hope you’ll share it far and wide for others to enjoy, too. Thanks, and thanks to Sally for letting me be a part of it all this week! 🙂 ❤

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Welcome to the round up of post that you might have missed this week on Smorgasbord..

Well this week has certainly been a rollercoaster ride. Televisions around the world have been overheating and the screens shouted at as the American Election took place and lockdowns and further restrictions were announced to try and harness the rampaging virus. So many lives in the balance for one reason or another and after months of this, it would be really amazing if next week starts to see a de-escalation of hostilities on all fronts.

All we can do is watch and stay safe.

It has been the usual week here on Smorgasbord, but I did get out and about earlier in the week for an interview which was great fun and did me the power of good. A link to that post further down the page.

I am also working on the Christmas…

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#GuestDayTuesday – The Gift of Blogging by Sally Cronin

Today, I’m pleased to announce that our guest is none other than blogger extraordinaire, Sally Cronin. I know many of you are familiar with her hugely popular Smorgasbord blog, and will really enjoy this very interesting and entertaining post from her today. So … *clears throat and says “ahem” several times* … Welcome to The Write Stuff, Sally. The floor is all yours! 🙂

~~~

Thanks so much Marcia for this wonderful opportunity to share my thoughts on blogging as I celebrate the 7th anniversary of Smorgasbord Blog Magazine.

Although I started my first blog in 2012 it was very hit and miss until October 2013 when we were back home in Madrid after an absence of a number of years looking after our parents.

There was a great deal to do in the house to repair and renovate before putting the house on the market, and blogging for me was a creative outlet with my books on hold for that year.

Previously I had published a monthly health newsletter for subscribers, which had evolved to include other elements including short stories and humour. I wanted to recreate this in a magazine style blog, and also provide myself with a platform to promote the books I had published so far. I was in search of a title that hinted at food and also variety, and that is when a film I had watched many years before came to mind.

The Prize, from 1963, starring Paul Newman and Elke Sommer, was set in Stockholm for the Nobel Prize awards. On the way from the airport in a taxi Paul Newman asked Elke Sommer if she was married…. Her reply was ‘Why have one when you can have Smorgasbord’… that line popped into my mind and Smorgasbord Blog Magazine was born. Apart from the film reference, I had enjoyed Smorgasbord buffets over the years with their wonderful array of different dishes and I hope that the Swedes will forgive me borrowing the name.

At first my focus was health, views on life in general and humour. After a few months I realised that if I was going to build a productive marketing platform for my own books, I would need to broaden the scope to include other authors and become part of the writing community online. Smorgasbord Café and Bookstore was debuted in June 2016 and has grown from 10 authors to over 150 on average on display, with an estimated 800 books and a recent review within the last six months.

Having the Cafe with regular updates and new book promotions was a good start, but the next step was to build effective social media platforms to boost them. I decided to focus on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn which I was already a member of from my previous career. The cross over between readerships of those platforms then was minimal at that time, so I felt I was reaching a wider audience for the promotions.

Recently I passed my first million views which was cause for celebration, and it also encouraged me to review the direction the blog is heading in the next seven years.

Firstly I must pay tribute to those who have supported me in reaching this milestone. 

I could not have achieved those million views without the support of incredible friends who have made amazing contributions to the content of the blog, and enabled the fulfilment of my dream of a magazine style blog.

Jazz singer, musician and composer William Price King has entertained us with the music of the great musicians of the last 50 years since 2014.

Carol Taylor who lives in Thailand has been sharing her culinary expertise in the Cookery Column for three years.

Non-fiction Canadian author D.G. Kaye has informed and entertained us with the Travel Column and more recently the Relationship Column since 2018.

Author Jessica Norrie shared some wonderful books for two years in the Literary Column

Master baker Silvia Todesco has tempted us with the Italian Cookery Column for the last two years.

Amazing visitors

Over the years there have been some wonderful regular guest writers bringing their expertise and skills to the blog including Robbie Cheadle, Joy Lennick, Linda Bethea, Paul Andruss, Daniel Kemp, Wendy Janes and Sarah Calfee

The other area of support that is without a doubt a reason I am still here, is from those who tirelessly log on to read posts, to comment and share on social media. As an audience they are outstanding and many have been motivating me from the beginning, and I am so delighted to have formed friendships that sustain and inspire.

So have I got the seven year itch?

I am not ready to call it quits just yet as I feel I have a few more years left in me before they drag me kicking and screaming away from my keyboard. Also I don’t do boredom very well and would be sure to get up to mischief if I was not gainfully occupied with the blog.

I did feel however that it was time to bring in some elements to add new look and feel to the blog. For example, in the last two months the Children’s Café and Bookstore has got off the ground and has grown from the original 17 authors to 31 with more being added in the next few weeks. Children’s books are so colourful and hopeful and that is definitely something we can all us about now.

I am going to make some more tweaks in the next few months and look forward to what the next seven years might bring.

The gift that keeps giving.

For me blogging is about people and the gift of friendship. If it was not for the relationships that have developed over the last seven years I would not still be here, and would certainly not be considering continuing.

I have met a few people that I regularly communicate with face to face, but the majority will always be online. But that doesn’t matter as the warmth and support is as real as any offline relationship, and as important, especially when life is not going as well as it might. This last eight months has been an excellent example of how we can suddenly find ourselves isolated from the world and in need of daily contact to stay mentally and emotionally healthy.

At any time night or day, there is always someone to chat to around the world. Who would have thought, even 7 years ago,  that one day we would be able to ‘chat’ to someone in Australia or Thailand at breakfast time as they end their day, and then 10 hours later, someone in California as they begin theirs.

Here is an image that is a tribute to just a handful of those whose support I value so highly in this online world of ours.

About Sally Cronin

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 13 further fiction and non-fiction books, including a number of short story collections. 

My aim was to create a watering hole on my blog to provide a wide number of topics to chat about…..This year in September 2020, Smorgasbord in its current format, celebrated its 7th anniversary. 

As important as my own promotion is, I believe it’s important to support others within our community. I offer a number of FREE promotional opportunities on my blog, linked to my social media. 

Having lived a nomadic existence most of my life, I am now settled on the coast of Wexford in Southern Ireland with my husband of 40 years, enjoying the odd sunny day and the rain that puts the Emerald in the Isles.

My Latest Book – 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.

A Selection of Other Books


 

Links

Café and bookstore book promotion: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/smorgasbord-cafe-and-bookstore-free-author-promotion/

Children’s Café and Bookstore: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/smorgasbord-childrens-cafe-and-bookstore-free-book-marketing/

Blog: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Sally-Cronin/e/B0096REZM2

Twitter: https://twitter.com/sgc58

Thanks again Marcia for your kindness and support it is always appreciated…

Off and Running #NaNoWriMo

Mae Clair is off and running today with a post on Story Empire filled with tips for those of you who are taking part in NaNoWriMo this month. And some of her advice works for those of us who aren’t, too. Stop by to check it out and wish Mae well on her venture. And be sure to pass the post along so other might find it helpful, as well, thanks! Good luck, Mae! You’ve GOT this! 😀 ❤

Story Empire

Happy Monday, SEers!  It’s day two of the November write-a-thon known as NaNoWriMo.

water splashIf you’re participating, no doubt you geared up for yesterday and made a huge splash with your word count. Go you!

At the same time, pace yourself. The danger with any race, especially a long-distance event, is burning out too soon. As someone who has done NaNo several times, I put the bulk of my energy up front. I’m one of those writers who burst from the gate with a bullet of speed. My first day word count in 2019 was 9,037. Pretty impressive, huh? (I’m writing this post ahead of time,  prior to November 1, 2020 when, hopefully, I knock it out of the ballpark again).

But like the hare and the tortoise, slow and steady wins the race. It doesn’t matter how splashy your entrance, only that you cross the finish line.

tortoise in grass fieldHow do you…

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#BadMoonRising Haunted House Ghost (Braxton Campus Mysteries #5) by James J. Cudney #cozymystery #ghostmystery

Happy Halloween, Folks! Teri Polen’s wonderful Bad Moon Rising series ends today with a terrific post from James J. Cudney. I thoroughly enjoyed his interview answers and the excerpt from Haunted House Ghost from his Braxton Campus Mystery series. Head on over and see for yourself, and then, please consider passing the post along so others can enjoy it as well. Thanks, and thanks ONE MORE TIME, Teri, for such a fun October feature! It’s been great! 🙂

Books and Such

Happy Halloween! Here we are at the last day of Bad Moon Rising. I don’t know about you, but this month passed in the blink of an eye for me. A variety of books have been featured ranging from children’s books for the little guys up through adults. They’ve hit plenty of targets on the horror/thriller/supernatural spectrum from “What was that creak?” to “Think I’ll sleep with the light on tonight”, up to “I’m locking this book in a trunk and dropping it in the lake where nothing can escape.”

Today’s featured book is on the lighter end of the spectrum for readers who prefer their horror to be kinder and gentler. His book features a haunted house and judging by the three items he’d take to spend the night in one, he’s adequately prepared. Welcome James J. Cudney!

Would you rather sleep in a coffin for one night or…

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#BadMoonRising Raising Hell by Phillip T. Stephens #satire #darkhumor

Yes, I know I’m running a day late, folks, but I’ll get caught up before tonight. In the meantime, here’s yesterday’s absolutely hilarious post by Phillip T. Stephens. Dark humor? You bet! And I couldn’t wait to download my copy of his book. Head on over and you’ll see whgat I mean, especially the bio. I’m still laughing. Thanks for featuring Phillip, Teri, and for this fantastic series of October posts! 🙂

Books and Such

Since today’s author was found in a pumpkin patch on the eve of Halloween, I guess today is his birthday? Harvest anniversary day? See which movie gave him night terrors for months as a ten-year-old. Welcome Phillip T. Stephens!

Has a movie or book scared you so much you couldn’t sleep? Which one?

Absolutely. Believe it or not, Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy. I was ten, and my father, a Baptist Minister, dragged me and my sister to a high school retreat because he didn’t want to pay a babysitter. And the movie they showed that night was Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy, which I’ve seen several times since then and find the effects in the scene that scared me laughable (a bomb destroys the mummy leaving nothing but a box of bones, over in an instant). I went to sleep that night, but in the morning…

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#BadMoonRising Finding David by Stevie Turner #paranormal #horror #shortstory

British author Stevie Turner is the guest today on Teri Polen’s Bad Moon Rising series. I know you’ll enjoy her interview answers and reading about her book, Finding David, and her upcoming book, Barren. Check it out and you’ll see what I mean! And don’t forget to pass it along on social media, if you would, so others can enjoy it, as well. Thanks, and thanks to Teri for featuring this wonderful October series. 🙂

Books and Such

Today’s author is making her first appearance at BMR, but some of you are probably familiar with her books – she writes in a variety of genres. Between sleeping in a coffin or spending the night in a haunted house? She’ll take the haunted house – she’s already lived in one, so what’s another to add to the list? Welcome Stevie Turner!

Would you rather sleep in a coffin for one night or spend the night in a haunted house?

I am claustrophobic, and so nothing would ever induce me to spend the night in a coffin. When younger, a flatmate and I made a coffin for a party we threw at our new flat, but everybody had a go at climbing into it except me! I spent many nights in a haunted flat as a child. My bedroom was haunted by the ghost of a previous tenant who had…

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#BadMoonRising Matching Costumes by D.G. Driver #childrensbooks #Halloween #picturebook

Young Adult and Children’s author D. G. Driver is Teri Polen’s guest today on Bad Moon Rising. Sorry I’m late sharing it with you, but please don’t let that stop you from checking out her fun post today. I think you’ll enjoy it, and I hope you’ll pass it along so others can, too. Thanks, and as always, thank you, Teri, for such a fun October series! 🙂

Books and Such

Today we have another book for the younger crowd, and it’s a new release with an adorable cover! This author has published works in the YA and children’s genres, but also has a MG fantasy and a women’s fiction she’s shopping around with agents. When it comes to sleeping in a coffin or spending the night in a haunted house? She’s done both. Welcome D.G. Driver!

Would you rather sleep in a coffin for one night or spend the night in a haunted house?

Back when I was 21, I was in this terrible play called Countess Dracula, and I played a crazy vampire. My first appearance was rising out of a coffin, so I had to get in it before the audience came in (no curtain at this theater) and lie in there for a good forty-five minutes. It was not fun. I have also spent the night in…

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Engaging With Your Readers

A most useful post on Story Empire today by Joan Hall. I have to say, I agree with everything she says about engaging with the folks who follow your blogs. Please do check it out, and see what you think. A couple of her comments really hit home with me. I do hope you’ll remember to share it far and wide, so other people can ponder Joan’s thoughts, too. Thanks, and thank you Joan for pointing out some things I think folks should heed. Great post! 🙂

Story Empire

Hey, SE Readers. Joan with you today. In my last post, I wrote about essentials for your author website. Today, let’s talk about engaging with your readers.

We work hard to build our blog readership, which we hope will lead to people purchasing our books. There are no hard and fast rules, and you’re probably doing most of these things already. However, I hope you’ll find these few tips beneficial.

  • Always respond to readers. If someone takes their valuable time to comment, recognize them. It doesn’t have to be a long response. Depending on the comment, it could be as simple as saying, “Thank you for visiting today.” Nothing is more discouraging for a reader than to have their words go unnoticed. It also sends a message that you don’t have time for them.
  • If a reader asks a question, provide them with an answer. If you don’t know…

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#WildlifeWednesday – Looking Up! – Bald Eagles & Ospreys Part 1

Welcome back to #WildlifeWednesday. This post will be a lot shorter than last week’s as I’ll be breaking it into at least two parts. I hope you’ll enjoy seeing the basic differences between bald eagles and ospreys, both very common birds in Florida, and then learning a little more about eagles this week. Next time around, I’ll wrap up with some facts about ospreys, including some very interesting adaptations they have.

But first, how do you tell these two large birds of prey apart?

When seen up close, there’s no real problem. Mature bald eagles are solid brown birds with snow white heads and tails. They have a huge yellow beak, too. Ospreys have smaller black beaks and a dark brown eye-stripe that breaks up the white feathering on the head. 

Like bald eagles, ospreys have dark brown backs but they are white beneath. They also have dark bands on their tails, and several interesting patterns on their wings, which you’ll see  in the next #WildlifeWednesday post.
But for now, we are going to concentrate on the bald eagle.

The first thing to note is that the term bald was originally spelled balde,  the Old English term for “white.” NOW it makes sense, doesn’t it? 😀
Note also that this bird is quite large at close to ten pounds, and can lift
nearly half of its own body weight.


Of interest: though bald eagles can be spotted throughout most of North America, the highest concentrations of nesting birds are found in Alaska and Florida, and Florida is one of the few states where they are permanent residents, though our subspecies is slightly smaller than western birds.


Imagine gliding nearly 2 miles high and still being able to spot
prey the size of a rabbit!


Bald eagles fight both to defend their territory, and to win their mate. Their aerial battles are astonishingly vigorous, sometimes involving crash landings!


Show off! 😀


How cute are they?


As you can see, subadult bald eagles are mostly brown with some scattered white here and there. It takes about five years for their adult plumage to come in and their yellow beak to develop.


Because they return to the same nest every year, adding a new layer inside each time, their nests become huge over time.
The largest tree nests in the world! 

TWENTY feet deep!


Yes, that gentleman is lying in an empty eagle’s nest, and not even a very big one, considering. Even the one on the right measured less that ten feet deep, so imagine what a twenty-foot nest would look like!


Note the eagle on the right is an immature (subadult) bird.


Eagles will steal fish every chance they get. Here, one is harassing an osprey to make it drop the fish, which it will then catch in midair.
Notice how much smaller the osprey is than the eagle. 


The image on the left displays the markings beneath an osprey’s wings,  including the very dark “wrist” marks, right where the wing bends. Those marks and the banded tail make it easy to tell the difference between these birds, even when you can’t see the obvious size disparity.


I just had to share this amazing photo of a bald eagle’s feet and talons. Just look at the size! My advice? Do not provoke an eagle into attacking you. 😀
Don’t worry. They aren’t interested in doing so anyway.
But if you ever have to
rescue an injured one,
you definitely want to avoid those talons! 😯


The symbol of our nation since 1782!


And with this beautiful photo of an eagle soaring high above the ground, I’ll end this introduction to the American bald eagle. Hope you enjoyed it! Tune in on November 11 for Part 2, where I’ll be sharing some very interesting information about ospreys I think may surprise you. See you then!