So, it’s been quite awhile since I’ve last engaged in anything writing. Around March 8, to be exact. If I’m honest, it was intentional. But not in a, ‘give up eating my broccoli and dumping in the dog’s dish,’ way.
Some of you may know that I’ve been working on a career change, due to having my fill of mental health issues arising from years of working as a Correctional Officer. But that’s H20 under the proverbial bridge, as they say. Though it never leaves you, not quite. The mind can forgive, but it never forgets, not those things.
Just a bit of backdrop there. I haven’t forgotten any of you, though I feel regret for not reengaging with the community sooner. Today is a fresh start, and I’m recommitting to picking up where I left off. It felt good to actually write again this morning.
I’ve been involved with some career retraining, and it’s been eating up my time and energy, so I took a break from all things writing.
I apologize, not for the break, but for dropping out without a word. I have to reread a book I was going to give a review on back in early March.
Today I’ll start reading your blogs again, going as steadily as time and energy will permit.
Never too late to start again, for any of us. Today is the first day of the rest of your life!
We’re just climbing out of a deep freeze that saw temperatures plummet to below -30 Celsius, that’s around -22 Fahrenheit for my southern friends. I can hear your teeth chattering from here.
So of course, I went skiing with my Dad. Just a pair of Canucks wrapped like Egyptian mummies, snow pants crinkling like cellophane giftwrap, careening downhill, as a toothy wind whistled across our goggles and helmets. A tad bit loopy? Perhaps. But a bonding and pleasant memory forged, another chapter written in our life stories . . . that’s a certainty.
In my opinion, that’s precisely what this wonderful compilation of poetry and short stories is about. A blend more satisfying than a cup of freshly brewed specialty coffee on a sunny back yard deck in late June. Perhaps I’m being watched by a marmalade cat who disapproves of my intrusion into her afternoon routine of prowling the garden.
The world spins billions of individual tales every day; most go unnoticed. That caterpillar munching on that leaf may struggle with a desire to remain wingless, despite the insistence of the butterflies that his inclination is unnatural.
Guilty secrets, locked for decades, in the conscience of an elderly woman are laid bare for a beloved few, while a village holds its collective breath as it awaits some devastating news.
We never know when a smile or small act of kindness may save a life.
Reading this book is like sitting on the front porch with a trusted friend as he shares some cherished lore. Every now and again, he pauses to give you an earnest glance before speaking in a gentle voice. “And this is the way of things, not all bad, and not all good.”
I recommend this book to those who appreciate fine wordsmithing about discovering gems hidden in the guise of the mundane.
Have I enticed you to learn more and grab your copy? Yes? Then please read on to meet Sally and click on the links.
Sally Cronin is the author of sixteen books including her memoir Size Matters: Especially when you weigh 330lb first published in 2001. This has been followed by another fifteen books both fiction and non-fiction including multi-genre collections of short stories and poetry.
As an author she understands how important it is to have support in marketing books and offers a number of FREE promotional opportunities on her blog and across her social media. The Smorgasbord Bookshelf
Her podcast shares book reviews, poetry and short stories Sally Cronin Soundcloud
After leading a nomadic existence exploring the world, she now lives with her husband on the coast of Southern Ireland enjoying the seasonal fluctuations in the temperature of the rain.
First off I want to start out by saying we had crazy weather last evening. I’m talking a major snowstorm and a thunderstorm at the same time! It’s called ‘Thundersnow’ and this is the first time I’ve personally witnessed it. Nothing like the sight of a blizzard backdropped by flashes of lightning, let me tell you.
But now I’m moving on to discuss a place that never sees snow, and a story that will nest in your heart forever.
Interested? Please read on!
Here’s the Gist:
In this commercial fiction novel with an historical backdrop, The Sons and Daughters of Toussaint, Isaac Breda seeks to renew the revolution of his famous forefather, Toussaint Louverture. He is depressed that a revolution which had so much potential, and which had cost so much, seemed to have so little to show for it. He resolves to start a non-violent revolution to make their freedom real. In the first half of the novel, the story is told by alternating chapters between historical sections, telling the story of Toussaint and his compatriots, and contemporary sections, where Isaac seeks to renew Toussaint’s spirit in his people. Isaac’s story intersects with that of his best friend’s beautiful sister, Marie-Noëlle. At first she is mainly focused on moving to the United States and making her fame and fortune in modeling. But her character develops into a powerful agent of change herself. When Isaac dies at the hands of entrenched interests in Haiti, the revolution falls on her shoulders. The immense challenge transforms both her and her country.
When I was a kid, my dad went to Haiti several times to help with a number of construction projects. While he often told me stories about his experiences, two things stick out in my memory. The photos of treeless and eroding mountainsides, with small shanties built at their bases, and the resilience of the people.
This is exactly what I found on the pages of this inspiring novel. A nation that has struggled to gain a foothold in the climb towards democracy, despite being under constant assault by dictators, gangs, and natural disasters.
Madsen paints a vivid and accurate picture of the trials and triumphs of a land under constant pressure, and it starts with the historical revolution led by Toussaint Louverture. As a student of history, I appreciated the switching perspectives between Toussaint’s day and the twenty-first century revolution led by Isaac. Bravery in the face of tremendous danger is realistically tempered with the protagonist’s bouts of self doubt and discouragement.
Buoyed by the courageous support of the people, his closest allies, and the love of his life, Marie-Noelle, Isaac finds the strength to face the monsters. With an eye towards changing the national political landscape and Haiti’s global reputation, Isaac learns to savour the smaller victories. One scene depicts him standing beside a litter free river that had once been choked with garbage. The locals had banded together for the clean up. He smiles even though his ultimate goal remains distant.
But this is about more than just one man, and the hearts of the people continue to beat strongly long after he’s gone. Marie continues what Isaac began as she lives up to the bold statement, “Nou pa pè!”
I am a retired minister, living in East Wenatchee, Wa., who teaches chess to children, works for AmeriCorps, teaching about the Opioid Pandemic, AND writing fiction!
It’s pretty green outside these days, every flake of the white stuff has melted back into H20. But no matter what Nature’s decided, we’ve been coasting into the Holiday Spirit here.
The tree’s up, it’s branches adorned with bulbs and baubles for the exclusive swatting pleasure of our two felines. Outside, soft white lights are strung across the lilac bush and a spotlight highlights the Nativity.
But I’m not here to discuss Christmas, well, unless you’re looking for the perfect gift for that book lover.
So, without further ado, let’s raise a glass and toast a great read!
What’s it about?
From the early woes of childhood and teen years, this collection of stories and poems paints a picture of young dreams and fears. But as adulthood sets in, these dreams and fears change. More than Coffee touches on love and loss, nature and endurance, marriage, and parenting. In these memories, humor diffuses fear and taking risks proves to be a powerful method in boosting self-confidence. Through it all, whether in the wilderness near a sparkling lake or in the comfort of home, there’s nothing like a good cup of coffee. A poignant and reflective collection of verse and prose that is best enjoyed sipping your favorite coffee roast.
The title gets it right. This book is about far more than coffee, more than a journal; it’s a love letter to Life. An exquisite and heartfelt testament to a life well lived.
Every anecdote and poem is a window to a different season that is relatable to anyone who’s been on this journey for more than a decade. The stories and poems are thoughtfully crafted and wonderfully penned. They complement each other nicely and capture the intense emotions of those moments and milestones.
I smiled at the tales about her bouts with arachnophobia, but not because I’d wish that on anyone. It reminds me of my own, ‘tour of duty’ in the defense against spiders when I had to “save” my youngest daughter. Then again, I feel the same way about snakes.
I highly recommend this book for those who savor each day!
Meet Lauren and grab your copy in time for Christmas!
Lauren writies poetry, memoir, and fiction short stories who lives in California with her husband of thirty-three years and their chocolate lab; they have two grown children. She has authored two collections of poetry: New Day, New Dreams (2013) and Finding a Balance (2015). Her latest book, More than Coffee: Memories in Verse and Prose was published in 2021. And in 2022, she contributed four poems to the anthology: Poetry Treasures 2: Relationships. Lauren writes about family, experiencing loss, finding joy in the smallest things, and nature from her many backpacking and camping adventures.
Parallel to her passion for writing is her love for reading. Whether it is a gripping thriller or a heartwarming romance, she enjoys exploring different worlds and meeting diverse characters, drawing similarities to reality that translate into her own writing. Her writing projects are sometimes serious – drawn from painful subjects and raw emotions – or they spotlight her silly side – pulled from humorous moments captured in photographs.
Lauren is inspired to write from her love of nature and the marvelous wild world that surrounds her: the smell of the woods, the sound of a babbling brook, and the chorus of birds singing. Recent backpacking trips with her husband along the California coast and Sierra Nevada mountains have stirred up thoughts to pen about love, lost friendship, family, and the possibility that anything can happen. Hikes along the Paper Mill Creek remind her that life is fragile. From trout hatchlings to swallowtail butterflies, Lauren marvels at how the world is interconnected and that every living thing matters. She hopes her readers will find a little nugget of delight, comfort, or understanding in her poetry and stories – some detail that resonates with them beyond her words.
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