Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up 11th April -17th April 2021 – Mystery, 1960s Hits, Relationships, Green Cooking, Reviews, Stories and Humour

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

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

Weather wise it has been a lovely week so much so that after the last frost (hopefully) I stripped out all the pots in the front and back of the house two days ago. This morning I went to a cash and carry supplier locally who also happens to have a garden centre at the rear of the store. I got some potting compost and 20 geraniums and dahlias as well as three hanging baskets of pansies. This is phase one as I would like to get some of the bigger plants such as two more hydrangeas and an Irish magnolia tree. I will share some pictures when finished.

I do have a love story to share. It all began with the mystery of how this happened to my car at the beginning of the…

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Past, Present and Future: histfic v scifi

Thorne Moore​ talking about her literary leap from past genres to her latest book. ( I’ve had a sneak preview and loved it!)

Thorne Moore

I’ve had six novels published, some contemporary, some historical, and now I’m going mad and publishing a SciFi novel set a couple of centuries in the future. In theory, it should be more of a challenge to write about a time that we know nothing about and situations that may never happen, with people who might have entirely different outlooks that we have now. In reality, it’s easy. It’s fiction, pure and simple.

Historical fiction is far more difficult because it involves events that did happen. That means you have to get them right, and the characters need to have a mindset appropriate to their era, quite often totally alien to our own, with all our instincts itching to correct their outdated beliefs, prejudices and hygiene. We want historical women to marry for love, succeed in business, challenge any restriction on their freedom and have an obstinate belief that blood-letting…

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And the events just keep coming – Gŵyl CRIME CYMRU digital festival!

Crime Cymru

We’re so excited to reveal the programme for the Virtual CRIME CYMRU Digidol Festival!

The Gŵyl CRIME CYMRU digital festival will run from 26April to 3May 2021 and will feature Welsh and international writers, including Lee and Andrew Child, Mari Hannah, Peter James, Clare Mackintosh, Abir Mukherjee, Matthew Hall, Elly Griffiths and Vaseem Khan.

To whet your appetite, these are just the opening events in the fabulous programme we’ve got lined up for this year’s digital festival. And don’t forget – all tickets for this year’s festival are online and free.

On Wednesday 28th April, at 6pm, join Crime Cymru Associate member, Amy Williams, as she talks to debut author Annette Purdey Pugh and best-selling historical fiction author Lindsay Ashford about ‘A murder at Rosings’, published by Honno this coming June.
Book your free ticket here.
Our partner bookshop for this event is Gwisgo Bookworm, Aberaeron.

On Wednesday…

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The Write Place – My Writing Space by Thorne Moore

A wonderful post from Thorne Moore, which reveals why the settings in all her books give such an evocative sense of place.

Crime Cymru

Every now and then, one of our Crime Cymru authors is brave enough to offer us a glimpse of the place where they write. This week, Thorne Moore shows off the tidiest desk any of us has ever seen, and reveals the beautiful spot where the writing really happens.

This is my desk. If you believe this is how my desk really looks most of the time, my work here as a fiction writer is done. Look, I’ve even put some flowers there, to make it appear really civilised.

Okay, photograph taken, I can put back all the empty envelopes, bank statements, shopping lists, postcards, used screen wipes, mugs, dead batteries, screw drivers, seed packets, plastic bags and random bits of wire that should connect somewhere but I’ve forgotten where, that are currently piled up just behind me. Or I might keep it clear for at least one more…

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Going Gothic with the Gŵyl Crime Cymru Festival

Check out all the events from the Gŵyl CRIME CYMRU digital festival: It’s all FREE!!!

Thorne Moore

Crime Cymru is holding the first Welsh International Crime Fiction festival very soon, on-line (prior to being alive – apart from the murder victims – at the Gŵyl Crime Cymru Festival in Aberystwyth next year). As part of the digital festival, 2021, I shall be moderator at an event on May 3rd. Moderator make me think of a dour Presbyterian frowning on sinful Sabbath activities, but I think my role here will be rather different, because I shall be discussing dark and dreadful Horrible Histories, Gothic crime fiction, with mistresses of the genre, Rhiannon Ward and E S Thomson.

Rhiannon Ward also writes as Sarah Ward, author of the DC Childs crime series, but as Rhiannon she is delving into the Gothic with her latest book, The Quickening. She is a member of the Society of Psychical Research and has studied Conan Doyle’s passion for…

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Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up 28th March – April 3rd 2021 – Absent Friends, 1960s Music, Communication,

A wonderful Weekly Round Up 28th March – April 3rd 2021 from Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Welcome to the round up of posts my might have missed this week.

This week has been one of sadness as we said goodbye to one of the founding members of the writing community here on WordPress and social media. Certainly one of the first that I met when I began blogging nine years ago, and I had the pleasure of meeting Sue Vincentin person finally at the Bloggers Bash in 2017.  It was a wonderful occasion and an opportunity to hug those we had been connected to for years online.. Here is Sue with Willow Willers, Ritu Bhathal and Noelle Granger…definitely good huggers.

A warmhearted and generous friend to all and a talented writer of novels and poetry, Sue has left behind an amazing legacy for us to enjoy, inspiring us with her determination over the last six months to leave us with more. I will continue to…

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Coming Shortly: Inside Out

A new book, a new genre, from Thorne Moore – I’ve read this (review coming shortly). Recommended to all readers who enjoy Sci-Fi – but also to any reader who loves a good plot and great characters

Thorne Moore

I write domestic noir, psychological crime and historical mysteries. I have six novels out there (and more on the way), and I think I’ve got the hang of it, so any sane person would stick with it. But instead I am now side-stepping into Science Fiction. Why?

Mainly because of Covid-19. The first lock-down of 2020 should have been an ideal time for writers to hunker down and spend twenty hours a day at their keyboard, with nothing else to do, Instead, many, including me, found our minds going numb, leaving us unable to concentrate on little things like words. I went into hibernation.

When I did emerge, blinking, yawning and surrounded by half-written crime hazelnuts, I realised that crime really wasn’t fitting my mood. In the midst of a pandemic, I didn’t want to immerse myself in the misery, trauma and pain of realistic murder. I wanted to immerse…

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Listen To The Band: The Beatles

Nostalgia. With thanks to Clive.

Take It Easy

I promised you a new occasional series based on music would appear during March, and I’ve just about made it. The idea for this struck me when I was compiling one of my Tuesday Tunes posts. As you will know if you’ve seen any of those, I choose a theme each week and post some tunes which are vaguely related to it, even if just by a word in their title. But there have been many times when I’ve found this a little restrictive: many of the bands and artists I feature have recorded loads more than just the songs I’ve related to my themes, and it seemed a good idea to focus on some of them and share more of their music in dedicated posts. I’ve called this Listen To The Band, but there will also be posts on the music of solo artists too: there are just…

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Gŵyl Crime Cymru Festival 2021

Thorne Moore

After years of queuing up to attend one book event after another, not to mention helping Judith Barrow to run the Narberth Book Fair, 2020 crashed into the barriers, everything was cancelled – no book fairs, no signings, not real-life book launches. A chance for me to discover just how much I miss proper contact with readers.

But this too shall pass. There is light at the end of the tunnel, hope springing eternal and all manner of other clichés, because writers can’t be kept down forever. Crime Cymru, of which I am a member, is triumphantly planning a major new international crime writing festival for Wales, Gŵyl Crime Cymru Festival, to be held in sea-side Aberystwyth (easily accessible by road, rail, hot-air balloon and intergalactic wormholes) in 2022, featuring such writers as Ann Cleeves, Peter James, Clare Mackintosh and Mark Billingham.

But meanwhile, rather than wait…

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My Review of Emmet and Me by Sara Gethin #Honno #NetGalley #Review

Book Description :

Summer 1966: When her father comes home with lipstick on his collar, ten-year-old Claire’s life is turned upside down. Her furious mother leaves the family and heads to London, and Claire and her brothers are packed off to Ireland, to their reclusive grandmother at her tiny cottage on the beautifully bleak coast of Connemara. A misfit among her new classmates, Claire finds it hard to make friends until she happens across a boy her own age from the school next door. He lives at the local orphanage, a notoriously harsh place. Amidst half-truths, lies and haunting family secrets, Claire forms a forbidden friendship with Emmet – a bond that will change both their lives forever.

My Review:

Sara Gethin has a unique talent for being able to enter a child’s mind, to give their thoughts, speak their dialogue. I know this is commonplace in children’s stories but what I mean is that she has the ability to speak from a child’s perspective in an adult world. A world that is dysfunctional, that the child sees and comments on, but is swept along, helpless in the chaos those adults create.

Yet threaded throughout Emmet and Me is the wonderful developing friendship between the Welsh, displaced protagonist, Claire and the, equally displaced Irish boy, Emmet.

I also admired the short sections where Claire speaks as an adult looking back on her childhood and on that time in her life, which affected so much and says why she is now the woman she is.

I first came across this author when I read Not Thomas, also published by Honno, (my review here: and greatly recommended.). Emmet and Me is as poignant, as heartrending as that book. And as with Not Thomas, I both cried and rejoiced with the characters at certain parts of the story.

This is a novel set in Ireland at a time when many children had absolutely no control over what happened to them. To say any more would be to add spoilers: suffice it to say it is obvious Sara Gethin has researched thoroughly and has brought that era to life within this book.

This is superb writing: the plot is enthralling (and, although I had an inkling which way the story was travelling, in no way did this spoil the read for me), all the characters are well rounded, grow as the story progresses and come to life on the page, and the settings have a real sense of place.

Emmet and Me is a novel I have absolutely no hesitation in recommended to any reader.

About the author:

Sara Gethin

Sara Gethin grew up in Llanelli and worked as a primary school teacher. ‘Not Thomas’, her debut novel for adults, was shortlisted for The Guardian’s Not the Booker prize in 2017 and the Waverton Good Read Award in 2018. Her writing has been shortlisted for the Colm Toibin International Short Story Award and she was selected for the Hay Festival Writers at Work programme in 2018.
She has written four children’s books under the name Wendy White, and the first of these won the Tir na-nOg Award in 2014.
While west Wales remains her home, Sara is a frequent visitor to Ireland where she loves spending time browsing the many bookstores of Dublin. She is an avid reader and theatre-goer.

Website & Blog:

Facebook: @SaraGethinWriter

Twitter: @SGethinWriter

Instagram: @saragethinwriter

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives 2021 – #Pot Luck – Five Best Endings by Elizabeth Merry

Sally shares Elizabeth Merry’s collection of Five Best Endings

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Since this series began in January 2018 there have been over 1000 Posts from Your Archiveswhere bloggers have taken the opportunity to share posts to a new audience… mine. The topics have ranged from travel, childhood, recipes, history, family and the most recent series was #PotLuck where I shared a random selection of different topics.

In this series I will be sharing posts from the last six months of 2020

It is an opportunity to showcase your writing skill to my readers and also to share on my social media. Which combined is around the 46,000 mark. If you are an author your books will be mentioned too, along with their buy links and your other social media contacts. Head over to find out how to participate: Posts from Your Archives 2021

This is the second post from December 2020 is by author Elizabeth Merry and shares a…

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My Review of Eternity Leave by Simon Kettlewell.

I received a copy of Eternity Leave from the author in return for an honest review.

I gave the book 4* out of 5*





Dear Chloe, Emma, Ruby, and Ollie,

‘I am applying for the position you haven’t advertised, has no specific job description and no hope of fiscal reward. I am applying because I have this misguided belief that it will look like it does on the cover photo of ‘The Complete Guide to Childcare’ where everyone appears relaxed and bright-eyed, not knackered, irascible or covered in snot.

Armed with a pristine copy of ‘The Complete Guide to Childcare’, ambitions to be the next literary giant and live off the grid, what could possibly go wrong?

‘Five minutes after Brigit’s maternity leave ended I realised the magnitude of my error. I was now the sole carer for two six-month old children who thought the hands smearing yoghurt over their faces belonged to somebody else, and a two-year old who walked for five steps and decided it wasn’t for her.’

I crashed into a world of mainly strong, resourceful, resilient women, a mountain of nappies to rival Kilimanjaro and a widening gap where my self-esteem used to reside.

I am a man. I soon discovered this was not an excuse…’

My Review:

Simon Kettlewell’s Eternity Leave has been on my TBR list for some weeks, and I was sorry I’d left it so long because It’s an easy and enjoyable account of family life. Humorous yet poignant at the same time, it’s a story that many parents will recognise and identify with. Yet, as a stay at home father (not a mother) there is a obvious and unique slant on this account of the chores and trials that the narrator lives through, coping throughout the years from the children being babies to teenagers (oh, those wonderful years when the adult is never right and needs to be patronised!. Yet at no time is there any melodramatic response to these encounters, these carefully negotiated concessions.)

I ‘ve said this is an easy read, but only because it’s one any parent can recognise and nod along with (and grandparent might give a sigh of relief and laugh because its something they have lived through). But also it’s a cleverly written, evenly paced, droll story, told with great insight to reveal each of the children’s character – and judged so honestly, but with great affection – admirable in itself.

Yet, despite the wry humour (with which I thoroughly delighted in) there is also a sense of isolation in being a stay at home father; of being ‘the other’, that is threaded throughout the book. Even an inability to share with other parents what the narrator has shared with the reader. Even so, nowhere is the a sense that this father would rather be holding down any other kind of ‘job’ but that which he has been given. The narrative is undeniably optimistic and gives a sense of satisfaction and relish in his part in leading his family to adulthood in the best way he knows how.

This is yet another book by Simon Kettlewell that I thoroughly recommend.

Please see my previous review of his book of Dead Dog Floating:


Confessions Of A Holiday Let – A True Story And Guest Post By Judith Barrow @judithbarrow77

A guest in our Holiday apartment. A post kindly put together by Hugh.

Hugh's Views & News  

I’m delighted to welcome Judith Barrow to my blog today, who shares a true story about the perils of holiday letting an apartment.

Having read some of Judith’s other stories of holiday letting, there’s always a humorous side to them which I believe would not only make a fanatics book, but a television comedy show.

Confessions of a Holiday Let – A true story by Judith Barrow

Will Judith’s story have you laughing as much as I did when I read it?


For many years we summer let the apartment which is attached to our house.

We had many visitors from other countries staying in our apartment and shared great times with them.

Couples from the USA, Australia enjoyed barbeques on the lawn; long boozy evenings of wine and slightly burned kebabs and steaks, of tall tales and laughter.

Visits to restaurants with people from France and Italy. Long…

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Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Weekly News – K.M. Allan, Judith Barrow, Ritu Bhathal, Sandra Cox and James J. Cudney

Some more Weekly News on books from Sally (including mine, for which I am truly grateful!!)

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Welcome to the new  Cafe and Bookstore Weekly News – where I will share recent reviews for authors in the Cafe.

The first author is K.M. Allan with a review for the first book in the Blackbirch series – The Beginning.

About the book

Welcome to Blackbirch. It’s a place no one forgets. Except for Josh Taylor.

The fatal car crash took more than 17-year-old Josh’s parents. It stole his memories and returned him to his birthplace, Blackbirch, a tourist town steeped in a history of witchcraft.

Amongst friends he’s forgotten and a life he doesn’t want, Josh is haunted by nightmares so believable he swears the girl in his dreams is real. Kallie is so captivating he ignores her blood-stained hands, but he can’t overlook the blue glow summoned to her skin.

Kallie says it’s an ancient magic they share and a secret worth hiding, because as Josh discovers…

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Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – #FREE Book Marketing Opportunities 2021 – Making the most of your promotion Sally Cronin

Need more readers? Of course – we all do, don’t we? One from Sally to all writers to read… and share

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

There are a few things going on in the Cafe and Bookstore and I thought this was a good time to have a recap of existing promotions and some new or revised ones coming up in the next few weeks.

I am always delighted to welcome new authors to the shelves of the cafe and if you are new to the blog then here is the link that tells you what I need from you to create your first promotion.  It also shares some tips on how to get the best from your promotion.

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – New Book on the Shelves 2021 – #Free book promotion

For existing authors in the Cafe and you can check Cafe and Bookstore for your entry and if you have changed covers or have a new book recently released that I have missed please email me with the Amazon link to…

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