Smorgasbord Christmas Book Fair 2022 – #Memoir #Cancer Miriam Hurdle, #Romance Ritu Bhathal, #Crimethriller Carol Balawyder

Sally at the Smorgasbord Magazine features my crime novel, Just Before Sunrise alongside Miriam Hurdle’s journal as a cancer survivor and Ritu Bhathal’s amusing romance novel.
https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2022/12/21/smorgasbord-christmas-book-fair-2022-memoir-cancer-miriam-hurdle-romance-ritu-bhathal-crimethriller-carol-balawyder/
I am happy and honored to be part of Sally’s Christmas list. Thank you, Sally and Joyous Holidays to one and all.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Welcome to the Smorgasbord Christmas Book Fair with a selection of books from personally recommended authors on my bookshelf I believe will make wonderful gifts for friends, family and for you.

The first book today is the poignant memoir by Miriam Hurdle…it is an inspiring read and I can recommend The Winding Road: A Journey of Survival.

About the book

In the summer of 2008, Miriam Hurdle was diagnosed with melanoma-an aggressive and invasive cancer in her internal organs. The survival rate before 2008 was low. Besides risking harsh treatments for a slim chance of survival, Miriam had hoops to jump through. By the time she received treatment at the beginning of 2009, her cancer had progressed from stage II to stage IV. It was a rough and uphill winding road. But alongside her was support and encouragement. Accompanied by the love of her family and community, this…

View original post 1,590 more words

D.G.KAYE: FIFTEEN FIRST TIMES

Our experiences are stepping stones for much of what feeds our character. We live, we experience, we learn, we become, and we overcome.

I always look forward to reading D.G. Kaye’s books because I know they will be authentic, witty, and compelling.

Throughout D.G. Kaye’s latest memoir, she draws her readers in by sharing her past experiences. A reader can easily relate to fifteen real talk stories that cover topics such as her obsession with shoes, her hilarious experience with her first Christmas tree, her disastrous experiment with changing from blonde to redhead, her first kiss, and many more firsts, at times bittersweet, including the death of a close friend.

 In particular, I found her tribute to her beloved husband to be so very touching. She writes how no man could make her laugh. In the past laughter for her “could mask so many scars, aches, and insecurities….It was always me making someone else laugh…That was until I met my husband. Here was a man who made me laugh.”

During this Christmas season, if you’re feeling stressed like many of us are, I highly recommend this book. Relax and give yourself this gift for the holiday season. Your heart will likely smile as you reflect on some of your firsts and take a journey down your own memory lane.

FAKE FACEBOOK PROFILES

Dear Friends,

Beware of going on a profile with my name, especially if it doesn’t have my photo nor a header photo. You might get scammed as I did.

I’m still trying to delete the fake profiles on my FB page but am unable to do so because I do not know the password they used.

I don’t know how many different fake profiles in my name are on FB but I did land on one where the manage and follow buttons are in Chinese!

In the meantime, I am still trying to get into my real FB profiles but it’s a hit and miss situation.

I have already notified FB but have not yet received any response.

Wish me luck!

Himalayan Jungle Rose

Yesterday I was doing a bit of office clean-up and came across some packages of incense which I had bought on my yoga trip to India and had forgotten about them.

One package was Himalayan Jungle Rose.

I am usually not a huge fan of incense but I opened the package and immediately could smell its sweetness even before lighting a stick.

The incense filled my home with its lovely scent not unlike that of a bouquet of roses.

But what was even more astonishing was this description of the incense on the package:

Rose is well known for the Aromatic beauty and healing property. “Queen Flower” incense uses in worship, purifies the atmosphere & making tranquil with its fragrance. Brings peace and happiness to the soul, soothes mind & body, energizing the heart chakra, increases love, compassion & devotion and gives a sense of security and spiritual attunement.

The sight of a majestic mountain such as the Himalayas is certainly beautiful but so can the smell of a rose.

In this hectic period let’s take time to smell the roses.

ABOUT PERSEVERANCE

While I was scanning through my TBR list on my Kindle for something that would inspire me in my writing I came across Lady By The River – Stories of Perseverance, coedited by Yvette Prior. 

I am a believer in chance and fate so it brought a smile to my heart when one of the essays was about writing and perseverance. Just what I needed to read.

Mabel Kwong’s: How I Found the Confidence to Chase My Passion and Made It A Reality is filled with heart warming advice about the struggles of being a writer.

An Australian Chinese-Malaysian writer Mabel Kwong is fascinated by issues such as multiculturalism, racism, stereotypes and identity issues. Her difficulties with her writing range from rejections and lack of support from a family where

artsy jobs are deemed riskier career choices and so are often frowned upon.

Mabel Kwong fought these obstacles.

When we push on and keep trying, we feel the flame of inspiration within us amidst growing confidence.

When we muster the courage and try our hand at what we are passionate about, we ignite the spark within us to put ourselves and our voice out there.

Following this story I was delighted to discover that it was written by Ana Linden, a fellow blogger whose writing and photography I greatly admire. I have read and enjoyed every one of her books. Her style of writing is raw and she is fearless in exposing her heart. This is especially true in her essay titled Present in the Past.

Ana Linden’s story is why for years she avoided going back to her childhood home and finally having the courage to confront the power of her past.  

 I had felt the effects of her (grandmother’s) manipulative, selfish and cruel nature at a time when I desperately wanted to believe nothing of that was real, because I loved her…You never get over certain things, but you learn to live with them, to control what they do to you.

When at 19 she finally left her home town, (F)uelled not by hopes and dreams of idealistic youth, I left it driven by anger and hatred.

Ana Linden’s writing is honest and bold at its core as she minutely describes her pain and mistreatment. She pushes on to simply survive my family and not become like them.

To quote Yvette Prior in her introduction to Ana Linden:

Ana processed her past with us, showing us how she turned pain and mistreatment into motivation, to then later dispense grace from a place of strength. 

The collection includes ten other moving stories where patience and friendship, determination, learning to embrace challenges, coping strategies and sharing all are part of the fabric of perseverance. In her conclusion of this collection and study on perseverance, Yvette Prior writes:

It takes an effort to endure, but it can pay off with an enriched you, and with an inspiring story to tell later.

Bau: My New Friend, Cosmo

During my last visit at Dog Therapy, Yara, one of my many fans, showed me a photo of her dog, Cosmos. Many of my fans come to see me because they miss their dogs back home.

I guess while they’re petting me they’re thinking about their own best friend.

Doesn’t Cosmo look handsome with his eye-make-up?

Yara, told me that the imprint of his heart was always there. It wasn’t shaved

or tattooed. What a special dog!

Thank you, Yara, for sharing your dog.

Stevie Turner: Falling

Falling has a unique premise: James Hynde, at the end of his rope, decides to commit suicide by jumping off a building. He lands on Olivia who is coming from an interview with the Royal Ballet Company and her dreams of becoming a ballerina are literally crushed while James has failed his suicide attempt.

Wheelchair bound, Olivia is intent on getting her revenge to the man who ruined her life.

Falling is a novel with two very well rounded characters filled with greed, money, revenge and yes, even romance as a relationship between Olivia and James ensues. Not an ordinary love story though, where, James’ motivation is guilt for having ruined Olivia’s dream while Olivia’s is one of bitter revenge. Two people marrying each other for the wrong reason.   

About a quarter of the way through the novel Olivia’s revenge is blocked by several obstacles involving a mother-in-law, tainted money and the appearance of an ex-wife.

Life keeps knocking Olivia down, yet each time she manages to get up with courage and determination. James, on the other hand, is out to prove that he is not a deadbeat loser.

When Olivia discovers that her dream of opening up a ballet school is squashed by James’ dark secret, their marriage turns for the worse. Olivia wants a divorce which James refuses to give her and they end up being business partners.

In lockdown, will their business partnership survive?  

I enjoyed this novel. It is a fun, light read with twists and turns that make it unpredictable.

The moral of the story, in my opinion, is spoken by Olivia’s mother:

“Don’t let what’s happened to you make you bitter. It’ll destroy the rest of your life.”

BAU: My Fans

Thank you Malak Aly for the photo.

How great to get all this love and affection from these McGill students. I adored how they said I was so cute when I sat and gave them a high five and when I did a little dance for them. Here I am thinking about how lucky I am to be a dog.

A discussion got to Montreal on allowing dogs on the subway as of October 15. This surprised a student from Germany and another from Columbia who said that in their country dogs and cats have always been allowed on public transport. I have heard that even pigs and chickens are permitted on buses in Mexico.

Montreal will only allow dogs on with a muzzle. What is that? Then the nice law student from Germany said that instead of putting muzzles on dogs they ought to put them on violent people taking public transportation. I’m going to vote for him to install such a doggie law. VOTE!

D. Wallace Peace: The Necromancer’s Daughter

In her acknowledgment page D. Wallace Peach writes how Cathleen Townsend, a beta reader and editor challenged her to write a book “with one beautiful character, not someone physically stunning, but someone with a beautiful heart, a truly good person.”

Taking up the challenge, D. Wallace Peach created the royal daughter Aster, a sweet, innocent and fearless girl who was born dead but brought to life by Barus, an old, slight, crippled man who practices the art of bringing the dead back to life through necromancy.

Necromancy: The Summoning, Manipulation, and Resurrection of the Dead.

Barus, learned the art of necromancy through Olma, the woman who’d rescued his abandoned body in the woods and her book of herbal craft.

When Barus is summoned by the King of Verdant to save his dying wife, the Queen and the child she bares, the Queen begs the King to allow her to die but to save the baby. Upon discovering that the baby is a girl King Aldring abandons her and Barus steals her and brings her up as his child.

The loving bond between Aster and Barus is one of the most touching and beautiful father/daughter relationships in literature. This is expressed in letters which Barus wrote while separated from Aster:

You were my first attempt at necromancy that mattered. I knew then that you would become my snow fairy and transform my lonely days with your bright spirit.

Aster learns this skill of using herbs, poisonous distillates, incantations and human blood to resuscitate the dead.

In a later letter, Barus explains to Aster how her mother, the princess of Blackrock’s marriage to King Aldring was a political exchange and how she entered this world through an act of sacrifice.

When King Aldring is close to death, he must find an heir and so he seeks out Aster and brings her to his palace.

From there, the novel turns into an adventure where Aster escapes, crossing borders into Catticut where she encounters dragons and much hardship. The forest of silver cats lay between her and the mountains of Blackrock – her mother’s homeland – where Aster hopes to find Barus still alive.  

This is a story of a young woman’s courage, hope, and loyalty.

Besides the plot, the novel shines with its exquisite, poetic descriptions.  

Much has been written about this novel both through her 10 day book tour.

 and her many 5 star reviews of the book on Amazon.

D. Wallace Peach has succeeded in creating a beautiful character, not someone physically stunning, but someone with a beautiful heart, a truly good person.  One of literature’s heroines.

Finally, I was most impressed by D. Wallace Peach’s talent and vivid imagination.