Bloggers around the Christmas Tree – Walking above Toronto, Tom Jones, Jewelry, Vultures and Fairy Stories

Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life


Welcome to this week’s glimpse into the magical world of blogging with a look at just some of the informative, entertaining and thought provoking posts I have read this week. Also an opportunity to promote some of the followers of the blog who have gifts or services that would make great presents for friends and family this Christmas. 

©bearbodyliving ©bearbodyliving

The first of my selections is from Baran who reminds us that we sometimes need to step outside our comfort zone to get the most out of life.. and in this post Baran does just that.. literally..

Meet Baran...
I write about my passions which include good health, exploration and motivation! Unlike boring blogs I like to include fresh and intriguing thoughts about situations that I have experienced. You won’t ever find someone who holds these things so high up in their life. Living in Canada, I began this journey…

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Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore Christmas Update – Sue Coletta, Lesley Fletcher and Andrew Joyce

Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life

Throughout the year over 120 authors have been promoted weekly on the blog and their books now reside in the virtual bookstore along with their buy links and websites. In the run up to Christmas I will be visiting all the authors in the store and checking for updates and new reviews on their most recent books. If you are in the bookstore and have recently published a new book, received a rave review then please let me know..

My first update is for Sue Coletta’s book Wings of Mayhem (The Mayhem Series Book 1)published in May this year which has received many outstanding reviews. The cover is in the top nine of Books and Benches cover competition and I know Sue would be thrilled if you would head over and vote…

51ymw6uk8fl-_uy250_About the book

Shawnee Daniels — forensic police hacker by day, cat burglar by…

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Carmarthenshire events for your diary #Ammanford and #Llandeilo


If you’re in Ammanford at the weekend pop along to the library for a free book fair – meet local authors & buy some great Christmas presents

Here are a few more dates for your calendar:15138358_1270948939645203_7676778333334286482_o



Saturday December 3rd

11am – 1pm



Dydd Sadwrn Rhagfyr 3ydd

11yb – 1yp

Information about Carmarthenshire Library Service’s forthcoming Christmas Book Fairs which can be found at the links below. Help spread the word!


Twitter: (@CarmsLibraries)

And don’t forget the massive bookfair in the Civic Hall in Llandeilo

December 10th:

I’m proud to announce the exciting line up for our

Llandeilo Christmas Book Fair on December 10th

10:00AM – 5PM
Graham Watkins * Kate Glanville * Christoph Fischer
Carol-Ann Smith * Hayley Addis * Sarah-Jane Butfield
David Jeremiah * Hugh W. Roberts * Nigel Williams
David Thorpe * Judith Arnopp *…

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My Review of Write Your Way Out Of Depression: Practical Self-Therapy For Creative Writers by Rayne Hall and Alexander Draghici



The Blurb:

Use your writing talent and your skill with words heal yourself. Author Rayne Hall and psychologist Alexander Draghici show fourteen practical strategies for self-therapy.

Do you feel like you’re trapped in a dark hole of morass, sinking deeper and deeper, the mud rising to your hips, your chest, your throat? Is despair smothering you like a heavy blanket? Is your own life moving past you like a train, and you are forced to watch and cannot board? Has crippling lethargy wrapped its tentacles around you so tightly that you cannot move, sucking from you all energy and the will to live?

If you want to get better, to feel alive again, if you want to step out of this darkness and take control of your recovery, this book can help.

 My Review:

This has been a difficult year for both me and my family and, as someone who sometimes sufferes from ‘crippling lethargy’ because of depression, I was hopeful when I was approached to read and write an honest review of Write Your Way Out Of Depression….

This is an interesting and helpful book. I wouldn’t have expected anything else from Rayne Hall; as an author and a creative writing tutor I have bought quite a few of her very helpful ‘How To’ writing books.

In Write Your Way Out Of Depression Rayne’s methods are backed by psychologist Alexander Draghici whose input is to support  her theory of dealing and coping with depression through various writing strategies, and to let the reader know how these may help. The techniquues are simply described, easy to understand, approaches to taking control of those dark thoughts and moods.

 The co-authors also highlight the risks of excessive brooding and self-analysis. The emphasis is on practical ways to write our way through depression…and hopefully out the other side. No guarantees, unlike so many ‘cure-all’ approaches; just down-to-earth techniques that I could follow, with the added bonus that it could also help my own writing.

The layout of the book is simple to follow; there is a chapter for each technique, which is divided into three; the what I call the exercise (rather than the technique), Rayne’s understanding and knowledge of each (as a sufferer herself of depression, they have, at various times, helped her) and, finally, Alexander’s expert opinion and advice.  I found both of these last sections as interesting and perceptive as the techniques themselves.  Each co-author has had their own mental issues to deal with in one way or another;  as I’ve mentioned Rayne’s experiences and Alexander’s battle with anxiety attacks in his youth.

I cannot give this book higher praise than to urge anyone who is suffering from depression and feels they would like to try writing as a way to ‘step out of this darkness and take control of your recovery…’  to buy  Write Your Way Out Of Depression: Practical Self-Therapy For Creative Writers  I did. It worked for me. It could work for you.

 Buying Links:

Welsh Wednesdays: A day for the entire family: Llandeilo X-Mas Book Fair Dec 10th


1:30 pm: Rachel McGrath reads from her children’s book ‘Willow and Coco meet Santa.’
Rachel McGrath grew by the beach in Australia, and moved to the UK in her early thirties to pursue her career in Human Resources. Since her early teens she has had ambitions to write professionally, but it wasn’t until 2015 that her first novel, a memoir, was published.
Since then she has published several novels and children’s stories. Her writing has received several literary awards including the People’s Book Prize, Reader’s Favorite and more recently the New Apple Literary Awards.1:00 p.m. Sharon Tregenza reads from her Middle Grade/Mystery Adventure “Shiver Stone” 
Sharon Tregenza is an award winning children’s
author. She was born and brought up in Cornwall but has lived in several
countries including, Cyprus and the United Arab Emirates.
Her debut
novel “TARANTULA TIDE” won the Kelpie’s Prize and the…

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Sally’s Cafe & Bookstore Christmas Update – FREE offer and new reviews

I am honoured to be included today in Sally’s cafe and bookstore alongside so many wonderful authors.

Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life

Throughout the year over 120 authors have been promoted weekly on the blog and their books now reside in the virtual bookstore along with their buy links and websites.  In the run up to Christmas I will be visiting all the authors in the store and checking for updates and new reviews on their most recent books. If you are in the bookstore and have recently published a new book, received a rave review then please let me know..

I have actually read four of the books here today and can recommend them as gifts to yourself or to lovers of a great read.

The first book today is FREE from today through to December 2nd. Have Bags, Will Travel is by D.G.Kaye also known as Debby Gies who is an ardent supporter of Indie authors and bloggers in our community.  Elegant and sassy she keeps us all…

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My Review of Dead Dog Floating by Simon Kettlewell




The Blurb:

Derek Jackson, 12 years old, promises his bedridden mother to find his father, Colin, who has absconded from the family home. Mam, his gran and Aunt Mavis all believe that Colin is mentally ill and should be put in a home for his own protection.

Colin had promised Derek to take him on a big adventure to the South Pole but he knew that his father had no intention or the courage to embark on such a journey despite having built a boat with a steel hull to crack the ice. Derek knows the truth of what his father is doing but this is just one more secret he has to keep. He begins to buckle under the increasing responsibility to keep the family secrets and the web of untruths he is expected to tell. He confronts his father living in a back street with Louise Draper and is side-tracked when he sees the object of his dreams – a colour telly as big as the flicks! He is quickly disarmed by his father with two cans of Double Diamond.

Derek returns home, sure that his discovery will kill his mam, and wonders if he should tell just one more lie.

A down-to-earth story of a young boy weighed down with lies to cover family secrets; of a feckless father and a mother unable to confront the truth and the shame that in 1972, ordinary people struggling to make a better life, simply can’t have ‘the man of the house sneaking away like a thief in the night’.


My Review:

I was lucky enough to win Dead Dog Floating by Simon Kettlewell in a competition run by

After I’d read the book I gave it to my husband to read. Like me he laughed out loud over certain sections of the first few chapters. Like me he became absorbed into the tragic tale of twelve years old, Derek Jackson and his dysfunctional family. But this is by no means one of those ‘misery memoirs’; rather an all too familiar story of a marriage breaking up and the results that ripple from the situation. The difference here is the way it is told.

As the young protagonist, Derek relates what is happening in the first person point of view. His take on life is quirky and funny. But there is also poignancy, a sadness that becomes obvious to the reader through his words, even though it seems Derek accepts and treats the actions of those around him as normal.

 The characters are well drawn and rounded. The dialogue is believable, filled with colloquial phrases and slang and places the book in the era of the nineteen seventies in a Northern England setting.

 It is a character driven book rather than plot driven and these suits the anecdotal way Dead Dog Floating is written.

 And the poem and illustration towards the ending of the tale, which give the book the title, is stark and brings Derek’s life into dreadful perspective

 If I had any problem with the novel it would be the repetition of some phrases, some similar scenes. It slightly irritated me. But I also understood that this is the way the author is portraying this rather obsessive and preoccupied character’s look on life. So I would recommend this novel. Just be prepared for the sadness that lies beneath the humour and enjoy those laugh-out-loud moments.

Links to buy: