That’s what friends are for

At this time of year, minds and hearts turn to friends and family, and contemplations of what we can do to make the world a better place. When we think of global events, we may feel overwhelmed, wondering what possible effect our actions could have. But when we focus on our own circle, any positive difference we make can effect changes of which we may never be aware. That’s the ripple effect, and that’s what friends are for.

I belong to a very supportive online community whose encouragement helps to keep me going.

With my focus on education, particularly early childhood education, and their work mostly targeting adult audiences, I struggle to find ways of supporting them and their creative pursuits during the year, other than the usual shares on Twitter and Facebook.

However, come Christmas time, what’s to stop me doing a little more?

love of reading to young children in early childhood education

In a recent readilearn post, I acknowledged authors and illustrators of children’s literature whom I was fortunate enough to interview throughout the year. You can read that post here. I was also delighted to be invited by Christy Birmingham to write a guest post about them for her blog When Women Inspire.

SMAG Society of Mutual Admiration and Gratitude

In this post, I acknowledge and promote recent works published by my SMAG community; lovely people who support me both here and over at readilearn. SMAG is an acronym for Society of Mutual Appreciation and Gratitude. The community is open to anyone. All that is required is friendship. If you’d like to add the badge to your blog, I’d be honoured. If you’re not sure how to do so, you can find instructions here.

I know I won’t catch all my SMAGgers, but I’ll do my best. If I miss you, I apologise. Please add your details in the comments.

I hope as you read through my list your will find some books to add to your own collection or to gift to another for Christmas, or holiday, or anytime reading.

Carrot Ranch

My first acknowledgement goes to Charli Mills of the Carrot Ranch Literary Community.

Participation in the Carrot Ranch weekly flash fiction challenges inspires many of the posts shared here. The support of Charli, Lead Buckaroo, and the team of Rough Writers has been a constant source of encouragement.

Congress of Rough Writers Anthology Vol 1

While we eagerly await the publication of Charli’s two novels-in-progress, she has compiled an anthology of flash fiction submitted to the weekly prompts. The Congress of Rough Writers Flash Fiction Anthology Volume 1 will be available soon. I am rather delighted to say that some of my writing features in the Anthology. (Check out books by other Rough Writers featured on the Books page.)

Anne Goodwin

Anne Goodwin's books

I very much enjoyed Anne Goodwin’s debut novel Sugar and Snails, and was not disappointed with her second novel Underneath, released earlier this year. Anne is also a prolific writer of short stories, many of which are available from her website. An anthology (Annethology) will be available soon. I’ve yet to read a story of Anne’s I didn’t like.

Sarah Brentyn

Sarah Brentyn's books

Sarah is a micro-fiction expert. She packs a whole lot of story into just a few words. I described her first book Hinting at Shadows as a box of chocolates – bite-sized pieces of dark delight; once you’ve tasted you can’t stop! Her second anthology On the Edge of a Raindrop, just released, holds equal promise.

Robbie Cheadle

Robbie Cheadle's books

If you haven’t yet checked out Robbie Cheadle’s Sir Chocolate Books you really must. Robbie’s unique style of illustrating her stories with fondant creations will make your mouth water.

The Sir Chocolate Books series of stories were written by Robbie and her son Michael. The rhyming stories are supplemented by the inclusion of recipes and links to YouTube videos.

Debby Gies

Debby Gies books

Debby Gies writes memoir; stories from her life and her heart; stories that will resonate with us, inspire us, make us laugh, and make us cry. When I read Have Bags Will Travel, I couldn’t believe how much of my experience she was sharing.

Debby has numerous books in her collection, including her new release Twenty Years: After “I Do. I’m sure you’ll find at least one to take your fancy.

Christy Birmingham

Christy Birmingham Versions of the Self

Christy Birmingham’s book of poems Versions of the Self is an exploration of the emotions experienced in relationships and the personal growth that occurs through them.

D. Avery

D. Avery Chicken Shift For the Girls

D. Avery’s books of poems make excellent reading. Chicken Shift combines philosophy, humour and utter nonsense by contemplating answers to the old riddle “Why did the chicken cross the road?” Who would have thought there could be so many responses? – Only D.

For the girls explores responses to a diagnosis of breast cancer and what it means personally and to others. It’s a must read for anyone whose life has been touched by cancer. There are few of  us who haven’t supported a loved one as they work through their emotional, as well as physical, response.

Sally Cronin

Sally Cronin's books

Sally Cronin is a prolific author of both fiction and non-fiction. Her most recent publication What’s in a Name? Stories of Life and Romance Volume 2 is a book of short stories in which she explores why we find the names of some people memorable.

Sally is also an amazing support for writers and all things writing. I was delighted to be recently featured in her series Posts from my Archives here and here. Thank you, Sally.

Susan Scott

Susan Scott Aging and Becoming

This year Susan Scott published Aging and Becoming – A Reflective Inquiry, which she cowrote with Susan E. Schwartz. The Susans reflect on life and its effects on the physical, mental and emotional experience as we age. Throughout the year, Susan shared excerpts on her lovely Garden of Eden blog.

Not just books

Pauline King has many lovely crafts and artworks for sale in her Contented Crafter’s Gift Shop.

Robin Etter-Cleave plays Notes from Squire Street on her melodic alto flute.

For an early childhood teacher, a readilearn subscription makes a thoughtful gift. Contact me for details.

For other suggestions, check out last year’s list here.

Apologies again if I have missed your current publications. Please know that each of you is greatly appreciated. The purpose of writing is to connect with readers. If you “like” or share a post, that is wonderful. If you leave a comment and engage in conversation, that is even better still. Thank you.

Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts.

46 thoughts on “That’s what friends are for

  1. Sarah Brentyn

    Aw, Norah. What a wonderful post. So sweet and kind and generous and supportive. Just like you. Though, as I scrolled, I was surprised to see my books there. I so appreciate being included in your post here. You are lovely. And this *is* what friends are for. Hugs and chocolate. ❤ SMAG! (I've added your lovely badge to the Reef, where I spend a lot of time letting go and being creative and where some of the stories I've written have been sparked. Thank you!)


  2. Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, MCC, SCAC

    What a wonderfully generous post, Norah – the essence of the Season. I know some of these authors and, thanks to you, will get to know the others in the new year. Thank you, and Merry Christmas.
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMORE dot com)
    ADD/EFD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder
    “It takes a village to transform a world!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Norah Post author

      Thanks, Robbie. I’m pleased you and Michael were pleased to be featured. I love giving people opportunities to happy dance. 🙂 There are some excellent books on the list.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. dgkaye

    Norah, this was such a beautiful post. I feel so honored to be included in your friendship list, and thank you for the mention of some of my books. I’m thrilled to be in such company and in a wonderful community. I will gladly help myself to a SMAG badge. Thank you. ❤ 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Christy B

    This is a lovely post of gratitude, Norah! Thank you for including mention of my book and also for the friendship. It is a delight to be a part of the blogging community with amazing people like you.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you, Christy. I really enjoyed your book of poems so was happy to include it in the collection. It has been wonderful to get to know you in the online community. Thank you for your encouragement and support.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Susan Scott

    So so kind Norah thank you so much for including me and the book ‘Aging & Becoming~A Reflective Enquiry’! This almost took my breath away – I am very grateful indeed 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Your posts are always lovely, beautifully presented and very interesting. Even though I’m not directly involved in education or have grandchildren for whom I could purchase some of the beautiful books you write about, I keep my ears pinned for the day I do have grandchildren! As you know I do voluntary work at a school (help2read) for a few pupils whose reading ability is poor in the hopes of teaching them better skills and encouraging them to embrace the jpys and value of reading.

    I regard you as a true friend Norah and am so pleased we have this acquaintance even if a zillion miles away. Thank you for being you …

    I am plotting and planning to make Susan E. Schwartz Ph.D and my book available at a much discounted price across Amazon platforms (world wide) for a week in the next little while … and am waiting from the mighty A to hear how to do this (I am very technically challenged on this sort of thing). I’ve drafted a blog post in the meantime ..

    I’d LOVE to join SMAG thank you! Will work out a way to put that beautiful badge up! (I know, when in doubt, follow the instructions – thank for supplying it!)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Smorgasbord - Variety is the Spice of Life.

    Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    Norah Colvin with a wonderful post sharing some of the people that she has been connected to this year. Including some who are so supportive of this blog too.. such as Debby Gies, Christy Birmingham, Sarah Brentyn and Robbie Cheadle amongst others.. Delighted to be mentioned and hope that Norah does not mind if I pinch the composite … thanks Norah.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Norah Post author

      That’s awesome, Geoff, Sarah’s work is always great to take your time mulling over.
      I wasn’t sure if you had anything new this year. I couldn’t find the date on Buster and Moo, so apologies if I should have included it. I did look. 🙂


  7. thecontentedcrafter

    What a lovely post Norah – I enjoyed reading those little snippets about your writing community – so many of whom I have stumbled upon hither and yon in this wonderful on-line world. (And I’m going back to read your guest post on ‘When Women Inspire’ as soon as I finish this comment.) It was with delight I saw my name mentioned just past all the wonderful writers – thank you for including me in your SMAG community, that has made me very happy! I’m a bit side tracked from blogging at the moment as my youngest broke her leg (badly) and fractured her ankle while at work on Wednesday night. She now has a metal plate and pin and half cast on the leg and is just home from hospital. Life as we know it has abruptly diverted from its normal path and Christmas will be different from what we had planned. Hopefully she will be mended by the end of February!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Norah Post author

      Oh my gosh, Pauline. I’m so sorry to hear about your daughter. Yes, life will be different while she recuperates and heals. I do hope it all heals well. I guess since it happened at work she’ll be eligible for some workers’ compensation, but nothing can really compensate for the loss of mobility, for her, and dare I hazard a guess, freedom for you. She’s had rest forced upon her – a good time to catch up on reading. I am sorry it has spoiled your Christmas plans though, but wish you all a wonderful time nonetheless.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Charli Mills

    What a wonderful post led by a beautiful friend. I imagine us all as in the video, joining you, our Dionne Warwick of SMAG. What are friends for? Support, encouragement, laughter, shoulders for tears, and companions to wonder with (and perhaps wander, too). Thank you for all you do to keep us connected and growing, Norah! I think readilearn, among the books and gift ideas listed, is great for young families, too. Thank you for the inclusion, my friend! ❤

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you, Charli. I’d love to be able to sing like Dionne Warwick and friends. I do in my head. It’s best to keep it that way. 🙂 I love the ways in which you have described friends – we certainly find all of that with our friends online as much as in person. Isn’t is wonderful to find a community in which we can be our authentic selves, accepted warts and all, and never have to pretend we are more than we really are. We’re okay – just the way we are at this present moment on our journey to greater learning and potential-creating.
      How could I not include you, Charli? That’s what friends are for. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Charli Mills

        Somewhere in my imagination you do some like Dionne and we sing like her back up. But in person, we’ll let Anne do the singing for us! Yes, it’s wonderful to have acceptance. I think creatives brave being authentic, so to be accepted at that authentic, warty, goofy, expressive level is a gift.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Norah Post author

          I’m not even sure about being backup. I was always told just to mouth the words. Though I must admit I’ve been going about “singing” this song. I do love it. Nobody’s listening though. 🙂
          It is indeed a gift to be accepted. Thank you.



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