Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore Update – #Reviews – #CrimeThriller Carol Balawyder, #Poetry Victoria Zigler, #Family Lisette Brodey

I am so grateful to Sally for promoting my latest crime novel Just Before Sunrise and Jacqui Murray’s generous review of it. Jacqui also has a new book out: The Laws of Nature which is receiving phenomenal reviews. Besides my novel’s review here, you can read about two other wonderful books. Victoria Zigler’s provocative poetry book on writing, creativity, death, grief and covid 19 and Lizette Brodey’s touching novel on grief, hope and healing. I am so happy to have discovered these two wonderful and dedicated writers who help nourish our collective souls.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Welcome to the Cafe and Bookstore update with recent reviews for authors on the shelves.

The first author with a recent review for her latest release is Carol Balawyder – a coming of age crime thriller...Just Before Sunrise

About the book

A coming-of-age story with a domestic noir twist.

Nadine, tired of running her call-girl agency has upgraded to gold digger as she finds the perfect rich widower to marry. Discovering that her wealthy widower is an abuser she seduces his stepson, Charlie, to plot her husband’s murder.

But things don’t go as planned and soon she is turning to her experience hiring young call-girls to find the perfect girl to save her from going to prison…

Homeless Maya is drifting on the streets, grieving the recent loss of her mother.
When she is offered the opportunity to prepare a lake-side house to be used as a half-way…

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Sincere Condolences

I have known one person who died from the Covid-19 virus. Her name was Doris and she was 86. I regularly visited her with my dog, Bau, through the Caring Paws Animal Therapy Association.

Bau and Doris had a special bond. As a patient who suffered from Alzheimer, Doris had lost much of her ability to verbally communicate. However, with Bau she tended to speak more and became joyful. Her sad mood lifted and Bau was always excited to see her. This is what animal therapy can do.




Millions of people have died from this virus and millions more have had their  souls and hearts ripped apart because of loved ones suddenly gone.

When my mother died I wrote Don’t Bring me Flowers, an essay which is in the Mourning Has Broken collection. In the weeks which followed my sister’s death, an urge to write an essay about her also emerged . It was at page eighty that I realized the essay had flown off on its own and that I’d given myself this mission: for one year I would write about mourning as I went about my life collecting memories as  myriads of emotions assailed me.

Through it all, I explored the meaning of life and the changes of my own beliefs, taking me through a journey of sorrow, guilt, regret, joy and hope.



Available as e-book and as paperback

With sincere condolences to all those who have lost a loved one through Covid-19 or otherwise. May your memories of your loved one comfort you.


The Sunday Show – Defining Moments with Carol Balawyder

For those who are not yet familiar with Sally’s blog I encourage you to go there. You will find a wealth of information and posts which reflect Sally’s generous spirit.
Thank you so very much Sally for including me as a guest on your Sunday Show.

Two Free Downloads Sunday

This Sunday I’ve teamed up with blogger (  to offer two books which you can download for free. If you liked the books a review on Amazon, Goodreads or your site would be appreciated.

Happy Reading




In Loving Memory

Four years ago today, my sister, Diana, died.

Diana,jpg Since then I wrote a collection of essays on mourning in great part to deal with my grief. Yet, here I am still feeling the grief. It is not that I want it to go away. It is difficult to separate grief from affection, from missing a person.

On some level, mourning comforts. It tells me how much I loved her. How much I cared for her.

Grief is also, to me, about all the things I didn’t tell her, all the things we won’t get to do together. About how she will always be in my heart.

Mourning Has Broken

Wow. It’s been such  a long time since I’ve been on my blog.

I’m happy to say that my book Mourning Has Broken is available on Amazon and Kindle

For all who are interested I hope that you will enjoy it and if you are going through your own grief process may my book be of some comfort to you.


Excerpt From Selecting Clothing

I go to the armoire first. It is a large pine one. There are three shelves inside, and each is filled with stacks of t-shirts, undergarments, scarves, sweaters. Mostly white. My sister was a woman who often wore white.

I remove a stack of t-shirts and go through them. Tears are miles away. I did my weeping earlier that morning.   As I look over her clothes I am emotionless. My mind is fixated on practicality: Do I like it. Does it fit? Do I need it?  I am reminded of something my father once told me when I was selling my first condo. “Don’t be greedy,” he said.  

The room has wide windows which let in the sunlight through sheer white curtains that are as delicate as dove wings. The bedspread is white.  There is a table with two books on it. I pick up one of the books. You Are Not Alone. It is a collection of wisdom by women dealing with cancer. I open the book and read a passage which my sister has highlighted in green: I believe that love motivates you, faith inspires you, and forgiveness keeps you a step ahead.   I place the book back on the dresser, my fingers fluttering its cover as if fluttering her soul.

I try on her clothes. Take them off. I might as well be in some exclusive boutique opened only for me.  I  keep asking myself if I really need it. If not, leave it for someone else.  It is all a matter of practicality for me. I am absent of sentiment.

By the time I return back downstairs a small drizzle has started.   We sit in the bright living room where I sit on the couch where Diana always sat. Jean-Louis talks about Mexico and a house exchange in France.

Before my sister died Jean-Louis was in the process of exchanging his house in the country and my city apartment for a house in Southern France. I am not so sure I want to do this anymore.  Part of the motivation for these trips was being with my sister. But this I do not tell Jean Louis. He is hurting enough.

When I reach home that evening I talk to Steven a man I recently met on one of the online dating sites.

There is a saying that people come into your life for a reason, a season or a life time. Steven has come into my life for a reason. I met him just before my sister died, when she was in the intense care unit. Stephen used to be a nurse in ICU and he tells me, “Nurses who work in ICU are the best trained nurses. You can be certain that your sister is getting the best of the best.”

I tell Steven that I sometimes feel like I have no emotions.

“I hate this coldness in me,” I say.

“I cried more for my cat than I did for my mother when she died,” he tells me.

The next day, I relate this to my therapist. “It is probably less painful to touch the loss of his cat than that of his mother,” she tells me.