Happy Thanksgiving – Now a global party that we can all join in with.

Posted on


Happy Thanksgiving my beautiful friend Sal! Thank you Sally for your love and wishes and returned to you a million fold with zillions of HUGS! You’re a special one you are. <3 If that's you holding the potato? with David and Sam looking at you, the love is plain to see. <3 <3 <3

Originally posted on Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life:

The original concept of Thanksgiving was one of giving thanks for a new life, new home and new friends and that tradition is celebrated around the world in one form or another by different cultures on various days throughout the year.

Today the world is so much smaller as the Internet has enabled us to find friendship, love and common ground in virtually every country that has electricity. But however global our outlook, it is always great to reflect on the people in our lives and those basic needs for our well-being such as a roof over our heads and food on our table.

There are so many who still do not have these simple but essential requirements and that makes me very thankful indeed for the fact that I do.

More than anything else it is the people in my life that have brought the greatest happiness. Some only…

View original 146 more words

When You Pay to Publish the Royalties Are All Yours

Posted on

Originally posted on Lit World Interviews:

There’s no shame in paying to have all the technical aspects of getting your book to publication done by others if you feel that you really don’t want to tackle these things, just as there’s no shame in paying for formatting and print runs of your book from publishing companies who do this if you can afford it. With new Indies arriving online all the time without knowledge of how these businesses work, it’s probably wise to post a reminder now and then of what to avoid with this. I was speaking to a blogger friend by email the other day, and he mentioned that he was considering one of these companies. Of course I zoomed right on over there and had a look. The first things that jumped out at me were “The cost to you will be….” and “We will pay you royalties……”.

There should only ever be…

View original 401 more words

The Amazon Review Policy Elephant in the Room

Posted on

The whole Amazon review policy debacle that started a while ago is not going to go away, so we should probably make firm decisions as to the way forward as far as how we are each personally going to review books in the future. There’s a great post covering the whole subject very thoroughly on Anne R. Allen’s site right now – definitely a must read for anyone not a hundred percent sure about what is going on with this issue. I’ve posted on this briefly over at Lit World Interviews a while ago but it’s worth revisiting on a personal level. Anyone with published books on Amazon needs to take this seriously.
Firstly, we must accept that Amazon can, and does, remove books for sale on their site if they feel that the author has violated their terms of service. Many of us have over the years reviewed books by others who have also reviewed books by us, while still blissfully unaware that this was not acceptable by them. Because we zoom around in the same writerly circles it’s inevitable that we’re going to spot and buy books written by authors that we follow online – especially in blogland. I reckon that an author is much more likely to leave a public review of a book that they’ve read. Leaving a review would probably not occur to the majority of readers, and logically in the writing world, reviews from your peers are gold.  Not according to Amazon’s rules though. Now that we are aware of this, and we have seen the review takedowns and author warnings, we have two choices. Continue posting reviews to Amazon for books whose author’s we are online “friends” with, and risk serious repercussions as far as the potential for Amazon closing our KDP accounts is concerned, or only post reviews there for books by authors that we have no contact with at all.
It’s a bit of a mess as far as I’m concerned. I very often seek out the authors of books that I’ve liked, read, and reviewed. I then proceed to follow them all over the place. Reading their blogs inevitably leads to commenting and also quite often, making “friends’. I’m not taking those reviews down after the fact – or any reviews I’ve published so far.  Now that I am aware of what’s going on, I’ll be more careful.  The online writing community is a wonderful place. Writers are different – different in the nicest possible ways. There are some not so nice writers out there to be sure, but they’re generally zooming by at a rate of knots on Twitter demanding that you buy their books and like them on Facebook right away, while not listening to or looking at anyone else, so unlikely to be chatting with anyone who isn’t perceived as some sort of possible benefit to them anyway.
Apart from the good that will come from zapping the real crooks as far as reviews go, this is a shame and a blow for all decent scribblers.  The writers I know are nice – honest, and mellow. Kind, thoughtful and understanding of others. Writers are special. They are broad-minded, funny and so, so truly clever. Adventurous and stubborn in good ways – ways that learn the things that seem impossible to understand to begin with. Sometimes when you look at the torrent of books floating around the ether these days, it’s easy to forget the small core of the real deal scribblers riding the waves in there. You guys who never give up, and keep on writing because you don’t understand not writing, even when your royalties barely keep you in toothpaste. When your book is reviewed by one of your tribe, it’s common for such a kindly soul to be filled with gratitude, and if the reviewer is also a published author, to reciprocate, buy their book, and leave a review if you like it.  That’s become a bit dangerous to do now.
It’s understandable that Amazon want to remove fake reviews, and good news for any potential readers who could be duped into buying something nasty on the strength of them.  It’s also understandable that it would be very difficult for them to process each review individually.  So, sad to say, I don’t think that they can change this stance, or stop the ongoing takedowns. I don’t consider myself a book reviewer, and I don’t review a lot of books publicly, and those mainly for Feed My Reads SA. I also as yet haven’t actually ever posted a review of less than five stars – not because I’m lying – when I don’t think a book deserves a five star review I don’t post it. I don’t want anyone to see me as a book reviewer and I don’t want to post bad reviews. That’s just me though. I honestly think that I should be allowed to post a public review of every book on my Kindle that I’ve legally bought from Amazon, whether I “know” the author online or not
I really don’t think that it’s a good idea to poke a hippopotamus with a stick though. Those guys don’t always behave logically but if they bite you, you’re going to feel it. Same with this situation. Don’t poke that Hippo unless you’re prepared to lose your right to publish your books with them. I think that it’s much wiser to post reviews for the books of your online “friends” everywhere that you can online, except as an actual review on Amazon. You could post the review in the Customer Discussions section on the book’s landing page on Amazon though – that is allowed. As I said, I’m not going to take down any of the reviews I’ve already posted, because each and every one of them was posted in good faith and honestly written about books that I’ve read, but if they do get taken down then there’s not much to do about it. I also have some books on my Kindle that I’ve already bought specifically to review for Feed My Reads SA, and I don’t see why I shouldn’t post those on Amazon on behalf of FMR as I always do.  Not sure now. Damned if you do and damned if you don’t with some of these “rules”.
Definitely have a read of this Amazon FAQ if you’re still not sure where you stand on this subject.


Image Courtesy: Pixabay

LOL and Stuff

Posted on

I saw an episode of Come Dine With Me where one contestant actually said the letters OMG quite a few times.  She obviously wasn’t trying to be funny – saying this seemed to come out as part of her normal conversation, but I do wonder why anyone would actually say the letters rather than the words in the first place.  You aren’t going to get a sore mouth or fingers by verbally saying whole words.  Maybe when something’s funny she could just deadpan say ROTFL rather than actually laughing.  Or simply LOL if it wasn’t all that funny.  Hopefully we’ll never get to saying Smiley Face or Like in our conversations.  Everyone who zooms around online these days is part of this culture of communication.  I do love my smiley faces, but I wonder where we’ll all be in another ten years as technology advances even further.
These days people probably don’t get bored in waiting rooms and come over all Mr Bean.  Everyone has a phone, and everywhere you look people are looking down at them or aiming them at something or other.  I’ve got a couple of books downloaded onto Kindle on mine, although admittedly I’ve never used it to read – I mainly wanted to see what my Kindle books looked like on my phone because us Indies need to see our scribbles on as many devices as possible.  They look cool.  I’m sure that lots of people do play games or read on their phones on train journeys and so on though, and that’s just the same as reading a book anyway.  But everyone else who is not reading is also doing something on their phones.  Personally I’m way too interested in people watching, but that’s just me and my nosy ways.  I remember reading a story ages ago where those big headed grey aliens who go around apparently abducting people and fiddling with them in terrifying and offensive ways turned out to be us from the future.  A future where we’d spent all our time physically doing nothing.  All our activity happened in our heads, hence the overly large noggin and wasted away tiny bodies.  The aliens wanted to use us, their ancestors, to fix their problem.
Personally I’ve noted that the old bod tends to expand rather than waste away with too much of sitting, but you never know what could happen as technology advances.  Maybe a skinny pill really will be discovered at some point – one that exercises you without you having to unglue your eyeballs from whatever screen you’re looking at.  Anyway.
Hopefully all you properly seated for the month NaNoers are going great guns.  This is one time that the dreaded writer’s block can’t get you, because what you write doesn’t have to make perfect sense right now.  So remain firmly on bum and scribble to the finish line.  Kick that rotten block to the kerb!

Writer's Block

Weather Lizards

Posted on Updated on

I’m learning more and more that there is no point in freaking out over what is.  Recently a wonderful friend said to me words to the effect that if you look at a problem, and you’ve done all you can about it, and can do no more, then worrying about it isn’t going to help.  I know this of course, but I often forget it and still end up getting tied up in all sorts of knots about things over which I have no power.  In the same vein, if you live a perfect life, never making mistakes or getting anything wrong – well – if you really do say that then I reckon you’re probably handing out porkies there.  We all mess up at some point – it’s only the size and scope of the messes that differ.  Sometimes you have to accept that you have done or are doing something wrong, and if you can’t actually correct the actual act after doing the best that you can to, you have to stop doing it if you still are, or learn from it and move on.  Wallowing in anger or regret will hurt mainly yourself and serve no greater purpose in your life.  Life is, which we sometimes forget, finite.  Don’t waste it.  These philosophical thoughts brought on by once again not being allowed by the universe to TOTALLY control time itself and thereby never be late for anything again.  I’m starting to get the picture universe – ta for that.
Yesterday the power went off here at 4am, just as I was connecting my tablet to my computer to get cracking on my way behind To Do list.  We’re not expecting any load shedding for the next couple of months, so I immediately went to freak out mode, knowing that it must be a failure, and also that the service providers in this town are all no good at all.  That’s not me being nasty – they really are no good – at all.  Last week after a couple of days where the water was off, we were told that “A pipe is broken, and it will be fixed when it’s fixed”, which was really helpful, thank you very much.  Anyway.  True enough.  The power was only put back on last night, and by that point I was way too tired to even boot this old thing up, so now I’m a further 24 hours behind on the To Do list.  And I’m very sorry everyone – once again.  But.  Very big BUT.  I ended up really enjoying the day.
After doing a rather presentable Rumpeltstiltskin tantrum impression and angsting till the sun came up, I was stopped in my tracks by another epic lightning storm.

Clouds Coming In

And then more torrents and hail.

Front Step

Hail 1
I phoned the call centre and when they told me that they had outages all over the place, both in and outside of town – so not to hold my breath (those guys get 10 out of 10 for mastering the art of in your face rude – respect for that I suppose), I gave up and accepted this – nothing I could do about it.  All my major work at the moment has to be done on my computer, and I’d very cleverly forgotten to charge up my laptop, and also to download my current read onto my actual Kindle – I prefer reading on my computer, so I read one of the short stories in Chuck Wendig’s Irregular Creatures instead, about winged cats.  Now – that man has some serious writing muscle, and whatever’s going on in his head must be awesome every minute of every day even if slightly terrifying.  A great read, which I wouldn’t have read – probably ever – if I had been more “efficient”.  I squished the guilt and panic attempts as they arrived.
Eventually I gave up on all things electronic and just mellowed out and slouched around, only to discover that I appear to have become a lizard spy target.  They’re all over the place and all very interested in yours truly.  They don’t appear to have wings thankfully.  Actually, I love lizards.  They’re a lot cleverer than people give them credit for, and quite sweet too.  They learn that you’ll feed them if you take the time to try, and can often become tame enough to take food from your hand.  All in all I reckon they’re just as cute as any kitty.


Lizard Spy?  (This pic taken not with camera, but with my phone on high zoom, which has never been the same ever since I got a blob of Betadene on the lens)


Blue Guy
At least most of my flowers weathered this particular storm not too badly scathed.


Now back to work – hopefully.  I’m holding thumbs.  Remember to enjoy a day or two now and then, regardless of the weather.


Book Launch – Tales from the Garden by Sally Cronin

Posted on Updated on

Here is the wonderful Sally Cronin with the launch of her new book of wonderful stories for everyone from age five to ninety five. All links to find it here, and if you have not already met her, do zoom over and do so.  Take it away Sally!


I am delighted to announce that my latest book Tales from the Garden is now available in Ebook versions with the print copies available shortly.
We will be leaving our house and garden at some point in the future and when we put the house on the market, I realised that it was not only the sunshine that I would miss. I already had many photographs taken over the last sixteen years and I decided to capture as many aspects of the garden as I could to take with us digitally at least.
As I photographed the statues, most far too heavy to take with us, it came to me that some of them had been here at least for 60 years and had seen many changes over that time. Also there was the mystery surrounding the missing dwarves? Just exactly where did they disappear to some nights; when the garden seems to be alive with excitement and you can hear the fluttering of many wings in the air?
I wrote the stories weekly on the blog but was so delighted by the response from those who read them, that this became my surprise book of the year. Those that were planned will be released in the New Year.
The Ebook is available now, and the print version will be available in the next week. Both are discounted on my publisher’s website, as there are no additional charges as on other online bookstores.


About the book.
Fairy Stories for children of all ages, from five to ninety-five, that will change the way you look at your garden, forever….
With over 80 photos/illustrations, “Tales from the Garden” by Sally Cronin, reveals the secrets that are hidden beneath hedges and trees.
You will discover what really happens at night as you sleep unaware in your bed. Stone statues and those hidden worlds within the earth are about to share their stories.
The guardians who have kept the sanctuary safe for over fifty years will allow you to peek behind the scenes of this magical place. They will take you on a journey through time and expand your horizons as they transport you to the land of fairies, butterflies and lost souls who have found a home here.
Meet Queen Filigree of the Kingdom of Magia, The Last Emperor and The Lost Boy who live in the sanctuary on the Spanish mountain. Ten stories of adventure, magic and love.
Book Trailer.

Find out more about Tales from the Garden and buy the Ebook in Mobi for Kindle Format and Epub at a special 50% discount via the website – £2.48. Print copies are discounted by 23% at £8.42. The photographs in the print copy are in black and white and will be available in the next week to ten days.
Secure payment through the Moyhill Publisher site: http://moyhill.com/tales
Or through Amazon at the recommended retail prices.
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0180Q6CKM
Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0180Q6CKM
About Sally Cronin


Sally Cronin spent a number of years in each of the following industries – Retail, Advertising and Telecommunications, Radio & Television; and has taken a great deal of inspiration from each.
She has written short stories and poetry since a very young age and contributed to media in the UK and Spain. In 1996 Sally began studying nutrition to inspire her to lose 150 lbs and her first book, Size Matters published in 2001, told the story of that journey back to health. This was followed by another seven books across a number of genres including health, humour and romance. These include Just Food For Health, Size Matters, Just an Odd Job Girl, Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story, Flights of Fancy anthology, Turning Back the Clock and Media Training.
For the last two years Smorgasbord Invitation has offered a legitimate excuse to write daily, meet amazing people from around the world and provide a platform to assist any artist, musician or writer to showcase their work.
Connect to Sally on social media.
I would be very grateful if you could reblog and share this on social media and of course would love to have your feedback.
Book launch
Any help that you can provide in promoting the book would be most welcome and you can contact me on sally.cronin@moyhill.com – I am doing a series of guest posts on various aspects of the book. Behind the scene stories of the statues, parts of the garden etc. I will of course share any posts on your blog across by social media.
Thanks for being part of the writing and publishing of Tales from the Garden.

Interview with Author Charles E Yallowitz | Sacha Black

Posted on

Originally posted on writerchristophfischer:

I have come across Charles on social media so often, his books are on my ever growing tbr pile. So for now, I thought I introduce you to his well received work via this reblog. Source: Interview with Author Charles E Yallowitz | Sacha Black


Charles E YallowitzMy author interviews are drawing to a close, we have less than a month left of these posts and I’m not sure yet what I will do about replacing them. But, to this week, I am thrilled to have Charles E Yallowitz as my author interview. Charles is a huge supporter of fellow authors, please do go check him out. You can find him on his blog: Legends of Windermere, his website Charles E. Yallowitz, his amazon author page Amazon Author Page, Facebook and finally Twitter.

View original 2,424 more words