A Pat on the Back Tore my Heart Out

My soon-to-be 23-year-old son decided not to come home for the summer when he finished school. After all, it was his final year of university, and he wanted to be on his own. I totally understood, I had felt the same way many years ago. And when the pandemic hit, he already had a job interview and still planned on living in the city. I was, and still am, proud of his decision. Even our daughter, 4 ½ years older and still living at home, decided to move in with her boyfriend and his family. So, in the middle of March, not only did my husband and I find ourselves in the middle of this pandemic, we also became empty nesters. We see our daughter weekly as she doesn’t live too far away, but not so often with our son.

In early April, we made the hour-and-a-half drive to our son’s Ottawa home to drop off a car. We did not want him taking public transportation. We didn’t see him again until about two-weeks ago, when he and his “bubble” of three friends rented a cabin at a campground down the road from us. He and his friends visited every day over the 2 ½ days they were here. It was nice, but weird. We only visited outside, and maintained physical distancing.

This past Sunday, our son came home again for a couple of days to celebrate his birthday a week early as he was off from work, but this time he was on his own. He stayed in a trailer we borrowed and set up in our yard. He went in the house twice to use the bathroom (there’s a chemical toilet in the trailer). Both times I sanitized before and after and the windows were open. We sat outside and talked, we ate meals outside, he and my husband went fishing on our pontoon boat (my husband at the back driving and our son at the front lots of space in-between), we stayed away from each other.

Before he left tonight, I asked him if it was okay if I patted him on the back.  The last time we’d hugged was in February. I told him to hold his breath, and I would do the same. The second I touched him; my heart broke and tears sprang to my eyes.

The next time I see my daughter, I will do the same with her, knowing that when I do, my heart will tear again.

New Release from Author Andi Lawrencovna et al

My guest this week is Author Andi Lawrencovna. Her newest release is a little bit different than previous guests’ in that it’s an anthology of 9 short stories from various authors including Andi.

Here’s what she had to say about this latest release in our interview.

SJJ: What genres does this book fall under?

AL: Romance! And a whole bunch of Subgenres! Lol. This is an absolutely amazing collection that covers everything from Contemporary Romance to Fantasy Romance and everything in between. We have Historical, Paranormal, Clean, Spicy, Personal…literally, EVERYTHING is in this anthology and it is a great way to meet new authors and new stories and just have a good time reading about love!

SJJ: Is this a genre you normally write in or are you trying something new?

AL: I think a lot of the authors in this anthology are traditionally romance authors. I usually write Fantasy with a romantic twist, which I think comes through in this anthology as well. The great thing about anthologies is that authors can choose to experiment and have fun outside of their usual styles, and I think that’s one of the things that we all were really excited about for this anthology.

SJJ: Who is your target audience for this anthology?

AL: Our hope is that this project has a little something for everyone! The goal really, or target, was to get this book out to as many people as possible, really opening up our audiences by making new connections and friends.

SJJ: When was the anthology released?

AL: Valentine’s Day, 2020! I am so very grateful to have this amazing group of writers with me who literally all said “YES” to doing this project…with little over a month of prep time for it! These stories that came from it are poignant and sweet and amazing and, really, I consider myself blessed to have such a great group of people with me for it!

SJJ: Please tell us a little about this new book.

AL: Around every corner and even right in front of you, love is spinning fabulous stories. Love can be rekindled between hearts broken by lies and betrayals if you’re willing to make a pass. Sometimes it takes playing referee to a cat and dog to find your true soul mate. Predictable might be the name of the game, until the unexpected comes along to push you into something new. Love takes so many different twists and turns: a sister left behind who is freed when she learns to love; the moment when magic sparks between two strangers and turns into something more; or second chances that come with just a little push. Just like a kaleidoscope, every shade and shape of love is imprinted on our hearts. Maybe you’ll find a few of those stories of love in this book? Gina Ardito, Grace Augustine, CJ Baty, Linda Boulanger, Edward Buatois, Jennifer Daniels, Laura Hern, Andi Lawrencovna, & M.M. Roethig

SJJ: What inspired all of you to write these stories?

AL: I am not trying to take the credit here, but Me! Lol. I contacted these authors, many of whom I’ve worked with before, and many who I have fallen in love with working with them for this first time, to create this piece together. Last year was our first adventure into writing this Kaleidoscope Hearts anthology, and I am so grateful that all of these amazing authors chose to work with my crazy again to create even more stories of love and romance to share!

SJJ: Was any part of this book particularly difficult to write?

AL: Interestingly, and I’m only speaking for myself, I had a really hard time with the “romance” here. I wanted to write a story that wasn’t just about “love between others” but about “love of self.” I watched Frozen 2 not long before starting on my story idea, and I really wanted to focus on that idea that “I am who I am meant to be” and “Love yourself” and so while there is that element of romance to my story, I wanted the main focus to be about “me” (in terms of the character! Lol), and that was really hard for me.

SJJ: How did you come up with the title for this anthology?

AL: Actually, funny story, I am a HUGE Sara Bareilles fan. I keep my iPod on shuffle most of the time, and one of her songs came on called “Kaleidoscope Hearts.” It was a month before Valentine’s Day, and all I could think about was all the different ways and types and visions of love in the world, and it just seemed like the perfect name and descriptor for an anthology that focuses on LOVE!

SJJ: Who designed the cover? Did you have much input in the design?

AL: One of our amazing authors, Linda Boulanger, who also wrote a story for the anthology, designed the cover for it. We worked together, but she is 100% the creative genius for the piece, in designing the cover which we hope has that “kaleidoscope” feel to it, both sentimental to that adventure of looking in one as a child, and representative of all the colorful pieces that make up our hearts as growing human beings.

SJJ: Is this anthology the only one from this group of authors or are there others?

AL: So, this book is actually the second Volume of this “series.” Kinda… It’s not a series in the sense that the stories are continuations of anything, but it’s more like a serial anthology. Our first Kaleidoscope Hearts anthology came out on Valentine’s Day 2019. And I’m hoping that my amazing compatriots will stick with me for a vol. 3 next year too!

SJJ: Where can this anthology be purchased?

AL: It can be found EVERYWHERE in eBook for free. We’re also selling the paperback copies on Amazon for a limited time too.


Author Bios and Links:

Andi Lawrencovna lives in a small town in Northeast Ohio where she was born and raised. After finishing her education, she decided that it was time to let a little fantasy rule her life for a while. The NeverLands were born out of a frustration with happily-ever-afters, and a burning desire for the same. www.AndiLawrencovna.com

Gina Ardito is the award-winning author of contemporary, historical, and paranormal romance, currently published by Montlake Romance and independently. In 2012, she launched her freelance editing business, excellence in editing, and now has a stable of award-winning clients, as well. She’s hosted workshops around the world for writing conferences, author organization chapter meetings, and library events. To her everlasting shame, despite all her accomplishments, she’ll never be more famous than her dog, who starred in commercials for 2015’s puppy bowl. www.ginaardito.com

Editor and internationally known author, Grace Augustine, was raised in Montana. Her hobbies include music, acrylic painting, container planting, and old romantic movies. She resides in Iowa and is the mother of two adult sons and an adorable feline. www.GraceAugustine.weebly.com

CJ Baty loves a good mystery, hot sexy guys, the mountains, and a happily ever after. When she decided to try her hand in the book world, it only made sense to combine those things. She firmly believes that love is love in all of its shapes and forms. Her books contain broken spirits that need to be mended and a mystery, often a murder, which needs to be solved, so those spirits can find love. She calls southwest Ohio home, but her heart lives in the hills of Tennessee. www.CJBaty.com

Linda Boulanger has always been a hopeless romantic, which spills over into her eclectic mix of published books, numerous story singles, and short stories in a few group anthologies. She spends her “free time” designing book covers for others through Tell~Tale Book Covers and TreasureLine Designs, all from her desk just north of Tulsa, Oklahoma. www.LindaBoulangerBooks.com

Edward Buatois is an eclectic reader and writer who enjoys many different genres including romance, thriller, sci-fi, and fantasy. He particularly enjoys writing urban fantasy, though he’s been getting more involved with romance lately. And there is usually a fantastical element to surprise. www.EdwardBuatois.com

Jennifer Daniels lives in Upstate, NY with her husband and son. She enjoys spending time with her family, fishing, camping, kayaking, and being on the water. Jennifer is a former nurse and for several years was very active with her local volunteer fire and rescue department. She is a paranormal/fantasy junkie, loves to read most things in those genres and is a binge-watching Hallmark Channel fan.Writing was never on her radar until her son shared with her that he wanted to write a book. So, together they began and that was when Jennifer decided to give it a try on her own. And that was how the Opalla Series was born. AuthorJenniferDani.wixsite.com

Laura Hern is a native Texan and grew up reading murder and romance mysteries. She currently lives in Minnesota and is the author of the Lainey Maynard Mystery series. You can connect with Laura on her author Facebook page, Twitter, and her website. www.LauraHern.com

M.M. Roethig is a happily-ever-after author who swoons for a good romance. From the time she was a little girl she was spinning tales for anyone who would listen. When she’s not making up stories, she’s spending time with family. M.M. Roethig lives in Colorado with her husband and son, close to one of her daughters and grandson. She loves movies, books, dancing, music, baseball, and traveling when possible. www.MMRoethig.com

Positive Focus

I believe in the law of attraction and have seen it work both positively and negatively. And whether you believe in it or not, you have seen it work too.

Take for instance that time when you forgot to turn on your alarm clock. First, you wake up late. In your haste to drink your coffee, or whatever, you spill it down the front of your shirt. Now you have to change. As the morning progresses you get more frustrated causing other little irritations to occur. Finally, you’re in the car (or maybe you take public transportation). For some reason, you hit every red light possible, or get stuck behind a school bus or other slow-moving vehicle.  When you do make it to work, you’re ten minutes late, maybe more. You keep focusing on these events that made you late, replaying them in your head, telling them to your co-workers. Your day goes from bad to worse. And the more you keep focusing on all those frustrating, irritating, “bad luck” things, the more you’re going to get. You are setting yourself up to receive more because of the negative energy you are putting out into the universe. It’s like you are advertising, “Hey, look at all this crap I’ve dealt with today” and the universe responds with “Hey, you keep focusing on all that crap and sending out all that negative energy. You must like it, so here’s some more. Deal with it.”

Same thing happens when you’re having a great day and everything keeps going your way. Why? Because you are happy and that converts to positive energy and the universe responds with “Hey, you must like all that stuff, let’s give you more.”

Ever notice that the people who complain a lot, seem to have a lot to complain about? – Law of Attraction.

Right now, we need to collectively focus on positive and good news. The terrible things that are happening are filling us with negative thoughts which produces more negative energy.

“Energy is in everything. As we see and feel things, the Universe responds to the messages and energies we are sending out in this world.” – Lynne Demers

Let’s focus on the good, send out positive energy for the world and ourselves. Start small and tell me something good that happened to you today; look for that silver lining.

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Christmas Book Fair -YAparanormal A.J. Alexander, #HistoricalRomance Christine Campbell, #FamilySaga Claire Fullerton, #PostApocalyptic Sandra J. Jackson

Happy to be a part of Sally’s Cafe & Bookstore and to be included with these awesome authors.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Welcome to this year’s Christmas book fair where I will be sharing the books of all the authors on the shelves of the Cafe and Bookstore with their most recent review in the last six months. I will be selecting authors at random so that there is something for everyone in the post.

The first author with books that are for young adults who enjoy the paranormal is A.J.Alexander with Sundance: 2nd book of ‘The Council Of Twelve’ series

About the book

Sundance is a promising young Warrior Angel, the first in centuries to join the Divine Army. With the help of one of the most powerful Archangels, her skill and talent develop, allowing her to master some of the most difficult tasks that face her kind.Sundance, under the supervision of the ‘Council of Twelve’ seeks to prove that she deserves her unusual gifts in the eternal fight between good…

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Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update – #Reviews – Colleen M. Chesebro, Sally Harris and Sandra J. Jackson

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Welcome to the second of the week’s updates with reviews for authors on the shelves of the Cafe and Bookstore.

The first author with a recent review is Colleen M. Chesebro for The Heart Stone Chronicles: The Swamp Fairy

About the book

Fourteen-year-old Abigale Forester, recently orphaned and a ward of the State of Illinois moves from Chicago to Florida to live with her aunt, her last living relative. Magnolia Forester becomes her legal guardian, and together they claim an ancient inheritance; land that belonged to Abby’s mother’s family for generations.

Holding onto the only piece of her mother Abby has left, a calcite pendant and her mother’s most sacred possession, she discovers the truth of her legacy. The pendant is more significant than she could possibly imagine. Forged from a giant mystical heart-shaped stone found on the very swamp land Abby now owns, it holds the power of her…

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The Sun is Setting on Summer

It always seems (to me anyway) that as the end of summer approaches, not enough has been accomplished.

If you live where there are four seasons, you will understand this. Summer is so fleeting, while the other three months seem to drag on, summer is truly over in a blink. We tend to pack in as much (or try to) as we can during those three months of hot and (relatively dry) weather. When it ends, I can’t help but wonder, did I do what I wanted? Did I accomplish what I planned on doing on my vacation time?

This year, my vacations were spent at home (staycations). The first was a week at the end of July, the second the first week of August, and my last week starts on Sept 2. Unfortunately, my husband was not able to take any time off apart from the Friday at the end of my second week of vacation. However, he is taking the Thursday and Friday next week, and we have planned a little get away and will be going Treetop Trekking. More on that when we get back.

Kayaking on Charleston Lake

Kayaking with a friend on the St. Lawrence

Boating on Charleston Lake

Anyway, it is only when I look at my pictures do I realize that, yes, I did accomplish quite a bit. Sure I may not have gone kayaking every week (I managed three times and I am hoping for at least one more paddle before the water gets too cold.) I did get out in the boat (albeit only twice but again, there are plenty of nice days ahead). I golfed with my son (only once). I toured the new cidery and bakery close to home. And spent a day with my husband and adult children in a picturesque town where we dined and window shopped. (I saw plenty of things that I need to go back for, good thing it’s not too far from home.)

April 2019

My biggest accomplishment by far was the garden I created/built where an old barn used to be. I started the project back in April. I had always wanted this garden and tried about 20 years ago (you know, when I was younger, had more energy, and my body didn’t ache as much as it does now). But back then, I didn’t have the vision. And after allowing the weeds and the rocks to deter me, I gave up. Now that I am in my early fifties, I decided to create what I had always dreamed. I am paying for it now with overused muscles, tendonitis, etc. There is still much work to do, but I think I got the hard work done.

May 2019

I spent a good amount of time visiting greenhouses, purchasing plants, dirt, & mulch. I also had a number of family and friends give me some plants, for which I am grateful.

June 2019

July 2019

August 2019

At one particular greenhouse, I showed an employee some of the pictures of the garden I was creating to which she said “You must be retired.” I chuckled and said, “Nope, I work full-time.”

There was also a lot achieved in the writing world as well. I attended a few book signings (more to come in the next several weeks). My newest book was released in June. Two of my books are now available on Audible and one of my books has book-inspired merchandise now. The only thing I have not completed are the edits on the final book of my trilogy, but I am close to finishing with only about nine or ten chapters to go. Thing is, as I sit here and type this, I have an ice-pack to rest my right wrist on as either tendonitis is flaring up (again) or perhaps a touch of carpal tunnel (not sure which but I am betting more on the tendonitis as it travels up into my shoulder at times.

So, while in my head I think I didn’t get all I wanted done, I only need to look at the many photos I took, recording my summer, to realize that I packed those short three months with as much as possible. And while there may only be three weeks left in the season, that still leaves many possibilities. Besides, I love autumn. Cozy times are ahead!

Author Interview – Tony Lewis

My interview guest this week is Author Tony Lewis.

I hope you enjoy Tony’s short and witty answers to the interview questions. Some of them may even make you laugh out loud. I know I did, especially to the answer for question 14.

Thanks, Tony, for participating in Author Interviews.

About Writing/Books/Being an Author

1. Do you remember the first book you read that had an impact on you – in what way and what was the name of that book?

When I read Les Miserables for the first time I wept. I won’t give spoilers but it’s very emotional.

2. When did you first realize you wanted to write?

I can’t remember exactly, but it’s a long time ago. I always wrote long, rambling stories for English homework so that’s a good starting point, I suppose.

3. Who is/are your favourite author(s)?

Terry Pratchett, James White, Terry Goodkind, Lillian Jackson Braun, Stephen King, Thomas Mann, and loads of horror writers.

4. What is your favourite thing about writing? What is your least favourite thing about writing?

I love the entire process. There’s nothing I dislike about it.

5. Where do your ideas come from?

Ah, the favourite author question. Anywhere and everywhere

6. I’ve often found that creative people have more than one talent, what is yours?

I’m not a bad singer and can grow rather a nice beard.

7. If you could jump inside a book for one day (as an observer) what book would it be?

Hospital Station by James White. It’s set aboard a vast, intergalactic hospital where beings of all types come for treatment.

8. When you create characters, are they completely made up or do they resemble or remind you of people you know?

My characters are made up, but I will see aspects of their personality in people I know. I suppose I subconsciously incorporate them in.

9. Have you ever created a character “out of thin air” only to run into someone in real life that reminds you of that character either in personality or their features?

Yes. One of work colleagues is a werewolf.

10. How do you come up with titles for your books?

A play on words will strike me as funny, and if a story fits it, I’ll use it.

11. What are you working on now and can you tell us about it?

Further books in the Skullenia series. I love the characters so much.

12. Have you won any awards for your writing/books and if so what?

I got an A+ for a story I wrote about being shipwrecked. I was eleven.

A Little More Personal

13. What is one thing you haven’t done but would like to do?

Marry Darcy Bussel, but I think she already is. Oh, so am I. Forgot about that.

14. Can you tell us about an embarrassing/funny moment?

I was at the cinema. I needed the loo and when I got up my jeans had slid down. I mooned the entire audience. Ironically, we were watching Beauty and the Beast.

15. Have you ever experienced something weird you could not explain?
The continuing success of Ed Sheeran.

16. Are you superstitious? Do you have any rituals for good luck?

No, I’m not superstitious, touch wood.

17. What is the strangest thing you have ever eaten?

A Fisherman’s Friend. He was livid.

18. Do you have a favourite vacation spot? Where?

No. I’m not much of a traveller and I have a terrible sense of direction. I need a map to get to bed.

19. Can you tell us about one of your favourite childhood memories?

Christmas was always brilliant

20. What makes you happy?

Lots of things, but the thought of the eventual demise of the human race because we’ve peaked as a species allowing the planet to wipe the slate clean and start again always makes me smile. And kittens.

21. If you aren’t writing (or doing anything associated with writing), what are you doing?

Thinking about writing, listening to music, saying inappropriate things to people.

Tony’s Links
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Tony-Lewis-Author-of-the-Skullenia-Novels-428838123880115
Twitter: @skullenia

Discover new worlds – KaLiCon style – intro

I can’t wait to read these ‘chats’.

SEELKs fire & ice

Hello and welcome!

As I make the final preparations for my trip to RTC in a few days, my thoughts turn to KaLiCon in October. I will be returning, as ‘bossy’ PA to Mary Ann (M. A. Abraham) I look forward to it, planning a few surprises for the Elven Games v2.0 😉



Andi Lawrencovna came up with this great idea and a few of the authors signing at KaLiCon 2019 joined her to make anthology, where each share a short story, giving the readers a chance to get to know their writing styles and the worlds they created. It will release August 1 and will be available FREE until the event starts. How awesome is that?

I invited their heroes, heroines for a chat and starting August 1, 2019 I will have them posted here for you to enjoy, one each day, give you a little…

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Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New book on the Shelves – The Escape Series Book 2 – Catching Butterflies: Search for Home by Sandra J. Jackson

Thank you, Sally, for posting about my newest release. It is very much appreciated!

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Delighted to share the news of the latest release by Sandra J. Jackson.. available to pre-order for June 11th. The Escape Series Book 2 – Catching Butterflies: Search for Home

About the book

April and Beth have escaped, and their captor is dead. Freedom is in their grasp – if only they knew where they were.

With some memories returning, April and Beth struggle to find answers to their questions. What they know is that they’ve been vaccinated against a strange virus. But what happened to their family, and to the rest of the world?

As they head out, they stumble onto the compound where their nightmare began, but the empty building only brings more mystery into their lives. Soon, they encounter others wandering on the numerous trails throughout the woods. For April, finding her family is priority one; for Beth, it’s sticking to the trails.

How can April…

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