Life’s Rich Tapestry Woven in words by Sally Cronin: Interview & review. #SallyCronin #interview #review

Sally’s Smorgasbord Blog Magazine is a lovingly generous mix of her writing, the writings and books of her fellow authors, collaborations, poetry, book reviews, laughter and a series of articles, such as the current one on Relationships with Debby Gies.

She is a prolific writer and her books are a delight and full of life experience, warmth and imagination; What’s in a Name (Vol. 2), Life’s Rich Tapestry; Woven in Words, Just an Odd Job Girl, Media Training, What’s in a Name, Tales from the Irish Garden, Cuentos del Jardin, Size Matters, Tales from the Garden, Just Food for Health, Flights of Fancy, Turning Back the Clock, Sam; A Shaggy Dog Story and Forget the Viagra, Pass me a Carrot.

Sally has a huge heart and her intuition hears and feels the world and people in a unique way. She has the gift of sharing her perspectives and insights through writing and there are many blessings in being connected to Sally.  Her indefatigable support for others is much appreciated, as many can attest too.

I am thrilled to bits to share an interview with Sally today.

Interview

Thank you for having me over Jane…

  1. When did you first become aware that you could see people and situations in all their layers?

We travelled to several countries with my father who was in the Royal Navy, and it meant that I was thrust into unfamiliar situations and meeting strangers from the age of 18 months. I think that gave me confidence, and also a curiosity about life and people. I apparently was one of those children who questioned everything and must have been a pain in the neck. That curiosity has persisted up to the present time and I love nothing better than a tough nut to crack. I am very happy with change and people are fascinating; as a writer, the experiences have been gold dust.

  • What is your earliest writing memory?

When we came back from South Africa when I was twelve years old, I was a year behind everyone at the grammar school in Preston I was enrolled in. They said I would catch up… It was not just certain subjects such as geography, history, French and mathematics that I was behind in. In the previous year, the girls in my class had formed their friendships and groups, and I was definitely the odd one out with my accent and tan!! I felt unhappy and isolated for the first couple of terms. Every Friday in last period, our form teacher would invite girls to stand up and read a story or a poem they had written to the whole class. One Friday, I put my hand up and delivered a poem on bullying that emphasized how everyone should be grateful they did not live in a country with apartheid especially if they were considered to be inferior. It was titled ‘We are all human beneath our skin’. There was some funny looks between the girls and also from the teacher but on the Monday there was a thawing of relations and I found myself being included a lot more.

  • Could you share with us some of your favourite books and authors?

That is very tough as I have so favourite books and authors from childhood onwards, and have gathered many more over the last 50 years. I have every book written by Wilbur Smith on my bookshelves, buying my first when I was 11 in 1964; one of the authors that I still buy in print. Also the amazing Earth’s Children Series of books by Jean M Auel which encouraged me to discover more about my own history dating back 20,000 years as part of the Oxford DNA project. To discover that I was genetically related to a woman who lived at approximately the same time as the humans in Jean Auel’s books, was a revelation and life-affirming.

  • Does where you live have an impact on your writing?

I do think that where I have lived during my life is reflected in my writing, as are the people that I have met. I have written a book set in Spain and one in Ireland and I have written short stories about many of the places I have lived and visited. I wouldn’t want to waste those experiences and encounters as they have made me who I am today. Also, I hope that I am creating a catalogue of memories that will be useful when I am in my dotage!

  • What lifts your heart in the everyday?

It has to be relationships, particularly the one I have been privileged to enjoy for the last forty years with my husband David. I had escaped from an abusive marriage and after finally obtaining my divorce after three years; I was adamant that I was not going to get married ever again. They call it famous last words for a reason. I met David when I was an assistant manager in a remote Welsh hotel when he booked in as a guest for two weeks. He asked me out on his last day and asked me to marry him the next day. We got married six weeks later. We have travelled the world, lived in 19 homes and have worked out of the same office for the last 20 years. He is my soulmate and best friend and that certainly lifts my heart every day.

And of course, there are family and friends who always have my back, including some very special online friends who have been with me every step of my blogging journey.

  • Is writing your main creative pursuit?

With the blog, poetry and books it has certainly taken over much of my life, but in a good way. Writing takes us out of ourselves and mentally and emotionally offers so many benefits. It might involve a little too much sitting on a day to day basis. but I hope it means I will keep my marbles until they carry me out the door, gripping my mouse in one hand and the keyboard in the other. Hopefully, wherever I end up they have Internet!

  • Do you have a favourite time of year?

I spent so much of my life from a baby in sunny climates including 17 years in Spain, that for me it has to be summer. If I am not writing then I am reading, and to sit outside with a cup of iced lemonade, a good book and feel the warm sunshine is bliss. I love colour in the garden and early summer when there is still blossom on the trees is magical.

  • When life tumbles and falls, what centres you?

There have been a number of close calls physically and emotionally, and I know that having someone who is supportive and loves you come what may, is essential. I also learnt to be self-sufficient growing up as a nomad which helps, as does the knowledge that I am a survivor. No life is perfect and it is the tumbles and falls as well as the highlights which make us the person we are. Some bring with them invaluable lessons that benefit us on a daily basis.

  • What would be your ideal day?

I would say that apart from a little more sunshine on a daily basis, most of my days are pretty ideal. I cannot imagine not socialising with my friends around the world online, meeting new authors and bloggers, laughing at funnies on Facebook or smiling at videos on YouTube. I certainly cannot imagine not writing every day, be it a health post or book promotion, a short story for my next collection or a poem in response to a weekly challenge. Life does not get much better than that with good health, lots of laughter and a bit of luck thrown in.

  1. Do you have an outline for each book, or does it evolve as you write?

My stories start off in my head, including the longer novels. Usually when swimming or on my treadmill when my body is occupied and my mind is free to wander. Then I sit down at the computer and dump it all out as fast as possible. Then I go back and read again and again until it is condensed and flowing to my satisfaction. Then I leave for a week or so and come back to it and read again and tighten before I am satisfied.

Thank you so much Jane for inviting me over to share my thoughts with you and your readers… I have enjoyed your questions very much.

Sally’s latest book is a collection of stories and poetry, ‘Life’s Rich Tapestry; Woven in words’ and she kindly shares one of the short stories from the collection with us here:

A moment of alignment

The child walked the darkened streets unafraid of the shadows. With bare feet, she disregarded the grit and gravel underfoot and skimmed across the surface of the odd puddle or two in her path. Her shoulders were back, and her head held high, with arms swinging confidently by her side. A faint smile touched her lips as the ring around the moon glowed brighter.

It was almost time for the perfect alignment of the sun and moon and for a brief moment, there would be a window of opportunity. She only had minutes to reach her destination and she quickened her pace. From the shadows, a dog barked in warning to those within their homes to remain inside. The animals knew how special this event was and were unafraid, but knew their human masters would cower in fear of the unknown.

Inside a house in the square, a woman sat in a rocking chair before a dying fire, tears falling onto her chilled hands as they rested on her lap. The house was silent except for the ticking of the grandfather clock in the hall; a sound that reverberated around the empty rooms. Empty of life, but also of love and hope, snuffed out like a candle a year ago when her daughter had been taken by scarlet fever. Her beautiful child, the light and love of her life; gone with a last faint breath.

The girl reached the edge of the deserted square and hurried towards the blue door so rarely opened to the light these days. As the two celestial orbs reached their perfect conjunction in the sky, she knocked three times with her small knuckles. She heard footsteps on the tiles of the hall behind the door, and then a click as the latch was raised. The door opened and the woman stood silhouetted against the gas lamp on the wall. She gasped and fell to her knees at the sight that greeted her.

In the diffused light from the hidden sun, she saw her lost daughter smiling at her, and warmth spread through her body and into her broken heart. She reached out a hand to touch the girl but it passed right through her. Mesmerised she stared at the apparition as it began to fade.

‘Mama, I can only stay for as long as the moon is ringed by fire, but I came back to see you for this brief moment, to tell you to grieve no more.’

As the sun began to peer around the moon’s edge, the girl turned to walk away but looked back once more. ‘You have love to spare mama, give it to others who need you.’

With that, she disappeared completely, and the woman remained on her knees for a long time as the street became bright with sunlight.

The years passed and the house in the square became a sanctuary for many homeless children, and the rooms and halls were once more filled with love and hope. But on the days when the sun and moon were in perfect alignment, there would be three taps on the door, and for a brief moment, mother and daughter were reunited.

My Review of Life’s Rich Tapestry: Woven in words

Sally Cronin is a natural storyteller and this book is a wonderful collection of verse, micro fiction and short stories.  Her breadth of life experience and wisdom show in her words and the writing style draws the reader in.

Sally’s verses cover everything from life, past times, emotions, our furry companions and nature. ‘Romance’ had me scrolling back to re-read her words and ‘Rejection’ & ‘Betrayal’ struck heart chords long buried. I found enchantment and magic in her fairy verse and in the shapes of the words and poems on the page.

Her micro fiction ‘Broken’ raised a smile and ‘Musical Interlude’ moved me to tears. A potion from The Witch’s Handbook will have you laughing and many of us will find ourselves in that one!

None who read this book will forget Jimmy or the Elephants, yet my favourite story is ‘Great Aunt Georgina’. There is so much packed into this short story and it is one that will stay with you.

In reading this collection, I feel you will want to meet Sally and sit at her kitchen table, hearing her stories and feeling her warm wisdom. I hold hope that she will share with us again in this way, as it is a loving showcase for her gifts.

You can buy Life Rich’s Tapestry at:

Amazon Worldwide

Amazon UK

Click this link for all Sally’s books and reviews

For all those who wish to connect with Sally and keep up to date with her latest creativity the online links are below:

Blog:  Smorgasbord Invitation

Twitter: sgc5

Facebook: sally.cronin

LinkedIn: sallycronin1

It has been a pleasure to welcome Sally here today and I know you all join with me in wishing her every loving sparkle in her creative endeavours. ❤

Sparks of creativity…

A few months ago, I looked across at my yarn stash and ‘saw’ a bedspread in my imagination. After a few false starts, I settled on doubled-up strands with blue and cream crocheted together as long as each ball lasted, as I wanted it to flow like the sea. A friend gifted me a load of cream from her stash and that gave me the yarn to finish. Ironically, my yarn stash has increased since I made the bedspread. No, I am not sure how that has happened either, but I suspect my long-held love affair with craft shops has something to do with it!

None of my projects are mutally exclusive and ideas came thick and fast, regardless of how many projects are in the pipeline. It’s a true lesson in life’s abundance. All the creative ideas, the many times I stand with friends holding yarn as we exclaim with delight ‘Ohh, this would make a great …….’ or I spot something beautiful that a kindred spirit has crafted and shared online. All those moments spark other moments and it flows and grows.

I am aware that the loving connections in my life may be a little weary of the facecloths I knit so I have been casting around for something different to tackle. ‘Socks’ was my lightbulb moment and no, I have never made them before. A patient friend took me sock yarn shopping and then sat and showed me how to do it on large circular needles with the ‘magic loop’ method. I discovered that there is ‘blow all’ magic in the loop method for me, as I got in a terrible pickle and decided that I can’t be alone with this challenge. A quick internet search revealed a wonderful tool called a ‘Sock Wonder’. I quickly ordered two and looked forward to no looping.

Sock creating was going swimmingly well till yesterday evening when I came to knit my first heel. The pattern may as well as have been written in ‘double dutch’ for all the sense it made to me. I held my efforts up, squinting at them, and was absolutely sure that they would never fit any kind of foot. After undoing the mess I searched the internet where a kind, farmer’s wife in America has posted clear, simple (thank you) and instructive videos. I felt soothed watching her hands work and listening to her voice. Step by step I followed her and produced a heel. She even says in her video ‘Now pause and congratulate yourself with a beverage, or at least some chocolate’. What’s not to love about her? Her channel is called ‘Purl Together’ and she’s on YouTube.

Yes, I will post a picture up when my first sock is complete.

All those years ago, when my sister and I sat learning handcrafts with our Mum, both Grannies and our Great Granny, who knew that they were gifting a loving calmness that would last a lifetime. Whenever I feel my emotional state going to places I don’t want to dwell I turn to handcrafts and am a devotee of there not being any such thing as ‘too much yarn’ or ‘too many projects’.

You know you knit too much…….when Microsoft sends through updates and you hit ‘Restart’ immediately, so you can knit while your laptop is out of action. I may have done this today! ❤

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Updates – #Reviews – #ComingofAge Bette A. Stevens, #Writing Jane Sturgeon, #PostApocalyptic Terry Tyler

I am grateful for Sally’s loving support and Brigid’s thoughtful review. ❤

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

The first author and poet today is Bette A. Stevens and a recent review for Dog Bone Soup

About the book

Whether or not You Grew Up in the 1950s and 60s, you’ll find DOG BONE SOUP (Historical Fiction) to be soup for the soul. In this coming-of-age novel, Shawn Daniels’s father is the town drunk. Shawn and his brother Willie are in charge of handling everything that needs to be done around the ramshackle place they call home—lugging in water for cooking and cleaning, splitting and stacking firewood…But when chores are done, these resourceful kids strike out on boundless adventures that don’t cost a dime. DOG BONE SOUP is the poignant tale of a dysfunctional family struggling to survive in America in the 50s and 60s, when others were living The American Dream.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Jan 19, 2020Janet Gogerty rated  Five Stars

View original post 1,044 more words

Connecting…

When I was working on the psychic line I received a telephone call that found it’s way into my heart memories and I discovered it there recently.

The lady who called was terminally ill and started the call with,

“I don’t have any questions as such, I just wanted to ring.”

In that instant, I dropped every label/shield that I was holding, as I instinctively knew she had no expectations. I wasn’t a medium, psychic, woman, mother, or anything else. I was simply one soul connecting to another.

We talked about fresh washing hanging out on the line, the sound of children’s laughter, wrapping in soft towels after a bath, birdsong at dawn, a large amount of rubbish on the telly (even though there are umpteen channels), the wisdom of avoiding the news, knitting, an absorbing play on the radio, a clean kitchen floor and the grace of expression through writing.

I shared with her a story of being out shopping with friends and two of us squealing with delight when we saw a new range of notebooks. One (somewhat pithy) member of our group commented,

“Surely one notebook is enough?”

“One? I don’t understand the question.” I replied.

We giggled over the pure joy of finding a notebook with a great cover and found ourselves agreeing that writing with heart and our own voice gifts connection. Sitting quietly she had found herself imagining stories for children and we ended our call with her intention to write them down.

‘The Magisters’ by Jack Eason; interview and review…

Jack Eason’s blog “Have We Had Help?” is an eclectic mix of his magical writing, book excerpts; thoughts and observations of the world around him. He doesn’t suffer fools gladly and is unafraid to stand by his beliefs. It is a refreshing space to stop for a visit, and I am grateful to have connected with him in our Global Village.

Jack lived in New Zealand for forty-two years until 2000 when he returned to his birthplace in England. As far as he is concerned, he will always consider himself to be a Kiwi. After military service in the 1960s, he travelled the world, visiting exotic lands and making many friends. Now in his early seventies, he is content to write and travel via the Internet. Besides writing novels and short stories, he contributes to his own blog “Have We Had Help?”  His literary interests include science fiction, history, both ancient and modern, and humorous tales like those written by his fellow writer Derek Haines, such as “HAL”. Now retired, he lives in his hometown surrounded by his favourite books, ranging from historical fact to science fiction. His literary icons are J.R.R Tolkien, George Orwell, Arthur C Clarke and John Wyndham.

Over to Jack…

When you are writing how does it make you feel?

Tired mainly. When I’m in full writing mode, I tend to start between midnight and 1AM.

Do you have a writing ‘spot’, or do you find you can write anywhere?

Where I am as I answer your questions – in front of the TV in my ancient recliner with a laptop.

When did you start writing?

1995

Do you draw upon the characters of people you know in your stories?

I tend to use traits and quirks observed during my lifetime.

What inspires you?

Mainly history and archaeology.

Do you miss your travelling days?

My travelling days are over.

Where do you feel your creative energy springs from?

An inquiring mind.

Do you have an outline for each book, or does it evolve as you create it?

I tend to let the story tell me where it wants to go.

What annoys you?

Don’t get me started…

Do you have a turning point in your life you wish to share?

Two – the deaths of my wife and son in Vietnam back in the nineteen sixties, and suffering a complete mental breakdown a few years ago.

Writing is my coping mechanism…

Jack’s latest book is ‘The Magisters’ a sci-fi novella with a difference.

My review

This book is an engaging read that left me wanting more.

It challenges our accepted beliefs about ancient monuments and civilisations and the author’s imagination carries us into ‘what if’ scenarios and pins them into current situations.

We are living in times where political systems are shuddering at their foundations and ‘The Magisters’ gifts us a different way of looking at things.

Yes, please to Book Two.

The Magisters‘ can be purchased on Amazon UK & Amazon.com

Jack is a prolific writer and his other books Race Against Time, The Guardian, Cataclysm, Autumn 1066, Turning Point, The Forgotten Age, Goblin Tales, The Next Age, Celeste, The Adventures of Ursus The Bear, Goblin Tales for Adults and Onet’s Tale can be purchased from his author page on Amazon UK & Amazon.com.

For all those who wish to follow Jack and keep up to date with his latest creativity his online links are below:

Jack’s Blog ‘Have We Had Help?’

Jack on Facebook

Jack on Twitter

It has been my pleasure to welcome Jack to my blog today and great to discover him in our Global Village. Wishing you much creative energy, Jack, always. ❤