Tuesday, 12 November 2019

I'm in conversation with Aria Ligi...

... author of the collection of poetry, The Hammer of God.

I was sent a copy of this collection of poetry for an honest and frank review.  All comments recorded here are solely my own.

I have always loved poetry and have spent many hours reading, learning and reciting the work of many and varied poets from Shakespeare and Spenser to more modern-day greats such as Sassoon, Owen, Auden, Plath, Hughes and many others.  It was a great pleasure to be asked to review this particular collection.
As with any author new to me, I go straight to the writing.  I want to read the words without any pre-conceived ideas and without any background knowledge that might colour my enjoyment or influence my assessment of their work.
I thoroughly enjoyed this particular body of work.  Each poem has its own rhythm which changes and flows as the words move through the exposition of the central subject to a conclusion.  For me, that is important.  A poem is an entity in itself in the same way that a novel moves from its beginning to a conclusion.  I was impressed by this author's use of language and her extensive vocabulary - there have been so many times I've picked up a poem that began well but quickly fell into doggerel, often purely for the sake of the rhyme.  There's none of that in this collection.
I found the subject matter of some of the poetry to be a little heavy.  I did get the opportunity to ask Aria about this and her explanation provided the clarity I needed.  Having started writing when she was eight, Aria became interested in anything that would allow her to express herself.  Like me, she grew up in a house full of books.  At 'a very young age', she said, she 'was reading Byron, Poe. Yeats, etc' and had her 'first poem published at the age of eight, which was a small work about birds.'
When prompted about The Hammer of God she said it 'was written following the deaths of several family members. These events along with the political and racial turmoil that was starting to seep into the social landscape were a catalyst' for the collection.  Through her poetry Aria admitted she had tried to find 'solace'.  And yes, I get that.  The poetic form can, and does support the presentation of difficult and harrowing subjects.  So many of the poems in this collection caused me to think and to go back and re-read them.
Having had a life-long association with poetry myself, it has just never occurred to me to write in that form, my preference being for stories and novels.  I was intrigued to find out if Aria had only ever written poetry.  'I have written five screenplays, many short stories and a novel,' she said.  But then admitted that she did 'find novels tough and prose more of a sticky wicket in terms of keeping the thread going.'  Hmmm and I know exactly what she means!
One last thing that I wanted to put to Aria was about the use of illustrations in her book.  As I was reading through it I noticed a Delarouche, a Cowper, an Edwin Davis illustration, and a mention of Dali (I assumed Salvador) in one of the poems.  Aria, like a lot of creative people, loves the arts, per se.  And she said she has 'been drawing since a very young age,' of about 'five or six.'  No wonder the collection is illlustrated so well.

about the book... The book begins with a chord of anger, with the titular work, Hammer of God, traveling through personal angst which then reaches outward to worldly considerations returning at the end, to a place of peace.  This is rather akin to therapy in which the individual who seeks help is often distraught, but through inner reflection, finds solace in the process, and through it comes out on the other side, wholly changed, and often to such an extent, they are no longer the same.

about the author... Aria Ligi is an award-winning poet who has been writing for over fifty years.  She has a great love of history, and in particular, the English Romantics. Her work has appeared in October Hill’s Winter’s, Fantasy Realm, Z Publication’s New York’s Best Emerging Poets anthology, Light Journal: the Australian Times, University of South Dakota’s Vermillion Literary Project, and New Poetry to name a few.  She has been a frequent guest on Progressive News Network’s Blog Talk Radio and is the Senior Poetry Editor at October Hill Magazine.

Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Remember, remember, the fifth of November…

Image from Pixabay
… the gunpowder, treason and plot…

I'm sure that, as children, those of you from the UK, will have chanted this little rhyme  on this day at some point in the past.  Just as I have.  But I have no intention of dwelling on the exploits of Mr Fawkes today!

Across the world, there are other things of note happening today.  In Australia, one of the most prestigious and most well-known horse races is being run today.  The Melbourne Cup was instituted in 1861, the field included 17 horses, and the prize was 700 gold sovereigns.  Now, the race always runs on the first Tuesday in November.  It is also a public holiday in the state of Victoria.  The event draws enormous crowds and attracts a healthy TV audience too.  Estimates are that more 100,000 people are likely to attend the race track this year and some 700 million people worldwide are expected to be tuning in.  So, if you fancy a change from burning effigies and costly fireworks, you could just hop onto Captain James T Kirk's transporter and get yourself a bit of Ozzy magic.

All that travel a bit too much?  Well, I can tell you that today is also dedicated to the Saints Elizabeth and Zachary, the parents of John the Baptist.  And don't worry, I'm not getting all religious all of a sudden.  It's just that having mentioned a 'baddie' at the top of this post, I feel obliged to bring Elizabeth and Zachary to your attention, to provide a balance.

In addition to the parents of John the Baptist, this day is shared with Elizabeth Ann Seton (previously Bayley, 1774 - 1821).  Her parents, Dr Richard and Mrs Catherine Bayley, were some of the earliest European settlers in the area of New York.  Despite many privations throughout her life, Elizabeth established the first Catholic Girls' School in Maryland and founded the first American congregation of the Sisters of Charity.  In recognition of her work, Elizabeth was canonised in 1975, making her the earliest born American to become a Saint.

Image from Pixabay by D Zitouniatis
But that's not all.  Are you aware that today is also National Doughnut Day (NDD)?  Well, it is, and this festival occurs twice a year.  Today, and there's the original NDD that is celebrated in June which was first established in the 1930s.

Of course, there are other celebrations happening across the world today, too.  But with a limit of 500 words, I can't cover them all.  What I can say is that later this afternoon I will be celebrating with a scrummy jam doughnut.  As I munch my way through it, I might possibly ponder whether Guy Fawkes, had he seen the headlines in the British papers of late, would think that perhaps he may have been born in the wrong century!

Saturday, 2 November 2019


... picks up some glowing reviews...

Authors need reviews like humans require air to breathe. They are essential to a book's existence and provide the author with feedback from a wider audience than just his/her editor, agent and beta readers. Reviews provide balance and the specific content can be used by an author when making choices about the path of future stories. As Dame Agatha Christie once said, 'criticism… is helpful' as 'you know how' the book 'has struck one reader'.

Today I'm delighted to say that Marseille, the fourth book in my Jacques Forêt series of cosy crime mysteries has picked up some fabulous reviews on Amazon already.

The first reviewer found the book to be an 'enjoyable French policier'. This particular individual went on to say that they were 'getting hooked on' the mystery series as a whole. And from my point of view as the author, that is really great to know, so thank you. The reviewer also said that they liked the 'characters and the descriptions of the countryside, villages and people.'

The second reviewer headlined his review with the comment that Marseille was 'a really great story.' He goes on to say that he started to read it and just kept 'on going' until he got to the end. I really hope he didn't lose too much sleep as a result! For me, that comment means the pace of the novel has hit the right level.

As an avid reader myself, I have often picked up crime or mystery stories and found myself so engrossed that it is the end of the day as well as the end of the book before I lift my head out of the book. And there's something, in my own humble opinion, that is very satisfying about that. I also think that only the crime and mystery genre really fit that kind of treatment. I have a sneaking suspicion that it may have been Agatha Christie who made some sort of comment about crime novels being readable in a day. When I was a youngster and gradually working my way through all the crime novels in my local library alphabetically, being able to get to the end of the puzzle at one sitting was always my preference as the agony of having to wait until the next day to get to the end was just too much.

A third reviewer has labelled the book as 'a good read'. The comment may be short and to the point, but it says all it needs to say. Thank you.

For the reviewers who asked for more stories - yes, there will be more, just not quite yet, as I need to take a break from Jacques. Lastly, I just want to record my very grateful thanks to these reviewers for their comments and for taking the time to read my book.

You can read the reviews Here and Here and the quote above and others are available on Literary Ladies Website

Tuesday, 29 October 2019

Just because it's Halloween this week...

... I have a special little treat for you.  A favourite poem of mine that's a bit spooky!

Shadwell Stair

I am the ghost of Shadwell Stair.
Along the wharves by the water-house,
And through the cavernous slaughterhouse,
I am the shadow that walks there.

Yes I have flesh both firm and cool,
And eyes tumultuous as gems
Of moons and lamps in the full Thames
When dusk sails wavering down the pool.

Shuddering the purple street-arc burns
Where I watch always; from the banks
Dolorously the shipping clanks
And after me a strange tide turns.

I walk till the stars of London wane
And dawn creeps up the Shadwell Stair.
But when the crowing syrens blare
I, with another ghost, am lain.

Wifred Owen

Tuesday, 22 October 2019

I'm reviewing, Poirot and Me...

... written by the actor David Suchet and journalist, historian and bigrapher, Geoffrey Wansell...

This particular book has been sitting around on my bookshelves for a while, patiently waiting for me to get around to reading it.  Having finally done so, I can't work out what took me so long.

David Suchet has played Agatha Christie's sleuth for over 20 years and is now inextricably linked with the man with the 'little grey cells', the weird moustache and the exacting habits.  I've seen all the Poirot films and adaptations, and in my opinion, Mr Suchet is the only actor who has ever come close to the character  as described in the books.  And yes, I've read all the novels and the short stories.  A significant number of them more than once.  In fact, I think it would be correct to say that I grew up on Agatha Christie's books!

This book is very much an actor's view written for other actors, I think.  And, as an actor myself, it was fascinating to understand how Suchet prepared himself for the role and very refreshing to understand that he also read all the stories and novels in an effort to get into Poirot's mindset.  The book charts how each series of Poirot was developed, and where and why changes to stories were made to make them more appropriate for a viewing audience.  There were times when it felt as though I was on set with Suchet and the rest of the cast.

The narrative style is an easy and flowing read but, when talking about the TV companies and contracts, Suchet does become a little repetitive.  Clearly, how he was treated over the years, may have rankled.  Overall, it is a fascinating insight and well deserves the 5 stars I've given it.

Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Published today...

...Marseille, book 4 in the Jacques Forêt mystery series, is now available in both print and ebook format.

As a special treat, I am also offering the first three ebooks at the discounted price of 99p/c or international equivalent for the whole of this week.

Just to tempt you and to get your mind working on Jacques' latest case, an extract is below.  We're catching up with Jacques on his second day back in his office in Mende following a month's leave...

tuesday, september 18th, 2012

...When Jacques looked up, his younger colleague was concentrating on something in the paper on his desk. Folding the broadsheet in half and then in half again, Maxim got up.
“This might interest you,” he said as he pointed out the relevant article hidden in the bottom right-hand quarter of the page. “It’s an update on one of the woodland killings that we’ve been following for a while.” Maxim handed over the journal. “It’s the weapon that is of most interest in this case.”
Jacques read the first couple of paragraphs under the heading ‘No Progress on Hunting Fatality’. His frown deepened as he read the line: ‘…the recovered bullet is now known to have been fired…’ He looked up.
“From a Derringer? An antique Derringer! How can they be sure about that?”
Maxim puffed his cheeks out as he exhaled. “It doesn’t say, but I doubt your ex-colleagues in the police would have released the information to the press if they weren’t certain.”
“Of course,” said Jacques. “So, despite the journalist’s nomenclature, it’s murder, then, and not a hunting accident. No one goes hunting with a Derringer.” He got up and moved across the room to a large display board. A map, with the département of Lozère at its centre and the surrounding départements of Cantal, Haute-Loire, Ardèche, Gard, and Aveyron, was displayed and spiked with a number of amber coloured pins spread, apparently randomly, across its expanse. He cast his eyes over the map and then fixed his attention on a single pin below the centre.
“Here,” he said. “This victim was found here on the Col de St-Pierre on the south side of the D260, which is just on the other side of the boundary with Gard.” He pulled out the pin and replaced it with a green one.
“He was fourteen years old,” said Maxim joining his boss at the board, a weighty file of papers in his hands. “Found by a garde-forestier. It’s managed woodland up there, and the body was about two days old when it was discovered.” Maxim consulted his notes. “He’d been missing for just over seventeen weeks.”
“And that was?”
“May this year when he was snatched, and the body was discovered at the end of the week before last.”
Jacques stepped back and scanned the map, trying to recall a detail. “Wasn’t there another case about eight or ten months ago with a similar M.O.?”
“Here,” said Maxim pointing to another pin, located in a forested area to the north-west in Cantal. “An old Mauser, the C96, was used. A boy again, aged twelve, shot in the back. He’d been missing for over three months, and his body was discovered about a month after he was shot.” Maxim paused as he thumbed through his notes.
Jacques’ eyes moved systematically across the board. He nodded. “That’s two. It’s not a pattern…yet. But it is a happenstance that I don’t like.” In his mind, there was no rhyme or reason to the arrangement of pins in front of him, but there were apparent connections. All the bodies had been found in woodland often used for hunting. The victims had been minors who had disappeared from either home or school without any trace. The newspapers had speculated widely and wildly on the reasons for the youngsters being in the locations where they were found. As far as Jacques was concerned, not one scrap of the speculative column space could be relied upon. But it couldn’t be ignored either. Somewhere, in all of those words, was a grain of truth. He would just have to find it...

You can read more about the city of Marseille and the locations used in Jacques latest story herehereherehere and here

Marseille, the new Jacques Forêt mystery, is available for purchase Here

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Writer and friend, Sophie Claire...

... is visiting my blog today.  Hi, Sophie, thanks for making time to be here.  So, tell me, why do your books feature Provence as a setting for part or all of the story?

A sensual place
Well firstly, it’s a special place, as anyone who’s visited will know.  The colours are intense, the air is rich with the perfume of pine trees and sun-baked earth, and the pace of life is different from anywhere I know: it’s calmer and more relaxed, perhaps due to the intense heat.  All this provides a very sensual backdrop for my books, which is useful because I write sensual, emotional stories.

My childhood memories
But the other reason I set my books in Provence is that, as a child, I spent every summer there at my grandparents’ house.  They lived near Sanary, a picturesque fishing port turned tourist hotspot, and I have wonderful memories of trips to the beach, visiting hilltop villages, and big family meals with delicious French cooking (my grandmother was an excellent cook).

The weather
Although Provence is known for its heat and sun, the weather can be volatile, and this is useful in fiction writing.  The Mistral wind blows fiercely in Provence and it’s bitterly cold, even in summer.  It also brings the risk of forest fires, too, so the mention of it adds a subtle note of menace.
Storms are another dramatic feature of Provencal weather.  The last two weeks in August are notorious for storms.  I remember several occasions when our house came close to flooding and the lights went out (always useful in a book for forcing characters together), and the thunder and lightning were far more exciting than anything we’d experienced in the UK.  I like to use these kind of extreme weather conditions to ramp up the tension in my books and make my poor characters suffer.

Village life
Although tourists tend to take over the region during the high season, for the rest of the year Provence can be quiet, and there’s a strong sense of community in its towns and villages.  Family values are important here too, and in my novels I love to show the close bonds which this creates.  Travel through any Provencal village and you’ll see locals stopping to chat or catching up over coffee.  This slow pace and tightly-knit community spirit contrasts greatly with the solitary lives and busy pace most of us are used to, and is something readers are drawn to.

An escape
In my latest book, The Christmas Holiday, Provence is where my characters, Jake and Evie,
flee to at Christmas.  They hope it will be an escape because the holiday season is a painful time for them.  But being alone together also forces them to get to know each other more intimately, and it becomes increasingly difficult for them to ignore the attraction which has been simmering beneath the surface. 
When it’s raining in Manchester (which it often is), the sun-soaked landscapes of Provence provide an escape for me, and there’s nothing I like more than to let my imagination carry me away to a place where the cicadas sing all summer, and the smell of lavender perfumes the warm air.

You can follow Sophie on her Website on Facebook Twitter and on Amazon
You can get Sophie's book Here

Thank you Sophie, and another fellow Author on the Edge will be visiting the blog next month, so watch this space...

Tuesday, 1 October 2019

I'm catching up with Jacques Forêt...

...and Didier Duclos.  I'm meeting them both here in Marseille by the Vieux port

AW  Nice to see you again Jacques, and Didier, great to meet you in person.  So, your new case brings you here to this fabulous city, what do you make of it?
JF   The city?  It reminds me a lot of Paris. The noise, the busy streets.  I've become so accustomed to the quiet of the Cévennes that I don't think I could live in a large city like this again.
AW  So, you don't miss Paris?
JF   Not really. My family are still there.  My sister and brother-in-law and their two boys and my papa, of course.  I was able to catch up with them at Christmas.  It would be nice to spend more time with the family, but the job...you know how it goes.
AW  What about you Didier?  Are you a city man?
DD  Not in the same way as Jacques.  I was born in Badaroux and I still have some family who live there.  Joining the police meant moving to Mende and I still live there.  Cities have some benefits, the nightlife, the restaurants, and the football.
AW  Ah, you like your sport.  And do you have a favourite team, Didier?
DD  Not particularly.  My two sons, when they were boys, both supported the local team in Mende and my eldest son still goes to many of the matches.  I'll accompany him occasionally.  If I'm asked.
AW  Do I detect a bit of a rift in the family there, Didier?
DD  No.  I'm usually included when my grandson is going too.  He's 10 years old, now.  He's growing up and has more important things on his mind these days, than watching a match.
AW  So, Jacques, your current case has brought you both here to Marseille.  Is there anything that you can tell me about that?
JF   We've been engaged by the family of an abductee.  We're here to interview a witness who believes that the person we are seeking is here in Marseille.  I want to be sure it is the person we are looking for.  We've agreed to meet that witness here at the Vieux Port.
AW  I see.  Any chance that I can listen in on your interview?
JF   I think you already know that the answer to that question is, no.  This is a very delicate matter.  The witness doesn't want to be named or to be identified to the police.  And, I don't want us to do anything, or to be seen to be doing anything, that might cause the kidnappers to panic or harm their victim.  We know of other kidnappings in the surrounding départements where the victim has died.  I want to prevent that from happening, if I can.
AW  OK, Jacques.  Got the message loud and clear.  Any news of Beth that you can share with us?
JF  She's as well as can be expected under the current circumstances, but I am worried about her.
AW  Worried?  Can you tell me more?
JF  Another time perhaps.  We need to be in place Didier.
AW  Well thanks guys.  Best of luck with the case.

Well, nothing has changed, he's still as illusive as ever!  Jacques and Didier are heading along the quai Rive Neuve.  Let's hope their witness turns up and that they get the information they need.

You can read more about the city of Marseille hereherehere and here
Marseille, the next Jacques Forêt mystery, is available for pre-order Here

Tuesday, 24 September 2019

Writer and friend, Mary Jayne Baker...

visits my blog this week.  Hi, Mary Jayne, and thanks very much for being here.  The enigmatic and enduring Miss Moonshine is the subject of your post today, I believe.  So, tell us more...

September will see the release of the second anthology of short stories about Miss Moonshine – Christmas at Miss Moonshine’s Emporium – set in the fictional Yorkshire town of Haven Bridge.  All nine contributors are successful romantic novelists from the north of England.
It’s funny to reflect now on Miss Moonshine’s origins, before we realised how important she was going to be in all our lives.  Over one of our regular cake-stuffed lunches, Helena Fairfax suggested we collaborate on an anthology, an idea that was taken up readily by the rest of us (I think some of us may have had wine…).  And so the Authors on the Edge were born – nine novelists from Yorkshire and Lancashire who regularly met up on the “edge” in Hebden Bridge, near the border of our two counties.
Various themes were suggested to link our 10,000-word short stories together in a single volume.  As some of us write contemporary romance while others write historicals, it needed to be something that could span different time periods – I think for a little while we toyed with the idea of an item of clothing that would be passed from owner to owner.  But eventually we settled on the idea of a mysterious shopkeeper, whose timeless shop in a fictionalised version of the town where we met provides happily-ever-afters to everyone who enters.  Provided they deserve them, of course!
The shopkeeper would be named Miss Moonshine, we decided, and would be an otherwordly figure who dressed in outlandish clothes (we originally pictured her as looking a little like Vivienne Westwood!), had sparkling hazel eyes and a shock of white hair, and was devoted to her elderly chihuahua Napoleon.  The act of creating her felt a little magical in itself, seeing how she came to life in all our tales and took on a personality all of her own.  As different as our stories were, Miss Moonshine was always there being just exactly herself, regardless of who was writing for her.  By the time we’d put together the first volume, I think all the contributors felt “Miss M” – as she’s affectionately known by her creators – was someone very real indeed.
In the first anthology, Miss Moonshine’s Emporium of Happy Endings, Miss M sells a variety of items to the people who come through her doors: a fire opal necklace; a music box; a ballgown.  The one thing all have in common is that after receiving them, the owner’s life will never be the same again!
I loved writing my story “The Last Chapter”. In it, Miss Moonshine gives a young friend a cheesy pulp fiction novel, Budgerigars Don’t Talk, which eventually leads her both to the idea that will save her business and the love of her life.  One big fan of this tale was my mum, who had a request for the next story I wrote – more about Miss Moonshine!  And when mums give orders, of course daughters have to do as they’re told…
In my Christmas story, “The Ghost in the Machine”, my journalist heroine delves more into this mysterious shopkeeper and the whispered rumours about what happens to those who enter her shop.  When she dares to cross the threshold of the emporium herself, she comes to find herself in possession of a 1920s-era Woodstock typewriter.  This eventually leads her to a tragic love affair of the past – and to one of her own in the present.  But will she expose Miss Moonshine’s magical meddling in the lives of her customers?
Here, heroine Scarlett meets the enigmatic Miss Moonshine for the first time.

Scarlett tried not to stare, but she couldn’t help it. This had to be the oddest-looking individual she’d ever seen. Certainly the one with the weirdest fashion sense.
Miss Moonshine had a shock of white hair, fluffed beehive-like on top of her head like an elderly Sandy Shaw tribute act. She was dressed in a long, black-fringed dress that would have suited the widowed dowager in an Agatha Christie, complete with string of pearls. And on her feet, a pair of massive Doc Marten boots.
How old was she? If someone had told Scarlett the woman was sixty, she wouldn’t have been surprised. If someone had told her she was nearly a hundred, Scarlett still wouldn’t have been surprised.
‘Miss Moonshine, I take it?’
The old lady glanced up from fussing Napoleon. Her mouth twitched.
‘So you’re here,’ she said softly.
Scarlett blinked. ‘Er, yes. I appear to be.’
There was silence while Miss Moonshine looked her up and down.
‘Look, could we make this quick, dear?’ she said eventually. ‘I’ve got a poker game to get to.’
‘You play poker?’
‘Oh no, I never play.’ Miss Moonshine’s hazel eyes glinted. ‘I win.’
Scarlett regarded her for a moment. ‘Huh. I believe you.’

I’m very excited for Miss Moonshine’s next outing this Christmas, and to find out what magical gifts she has in store for the residents of Haven Bridge!

You can follow Mary Jayne on Amazon Facebook Twitter and on her Website

Thank you Mary Jayne, and another fellow Author on the Edge will be visiting the blog next month, so watch this space...

Kate Field Melinda Hammond My Own Post Jacqui Cooper Helena Fairfax

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Please welcome, friend and author, Carol Warham...

...to the blog today.  Hi Carol, and thanks very much for being here.

CW  Hello Angela.  Thank you so much for inviting me onto the blog for a chat.
AW  You're very welcome. So Carol, secondary characters, as writers we all need them.  But I like some of my secondary characters better than others.  What about you? 
CW  These are the characters I particularly enjoy writing about.  I feel they give me free creative rein and I use it to the full!
These secondary characters have a very important part to play and they should have as much thought and consideration as the main ones.  They should be very much three-dimensional characters, with enough substance to them, that the story could actually be seen through their eyes.
They are vital to the plot and should be well-drawn before you need them in the story.  They are the friends, family, colleagues or even strangers, who help move the story forward.  The reader doesn’t need to know all the details of their lives, but the author should know her/his supporting cast.  Of course, other minor characters will weave in and out of the story, people in shops, restaurants or acquaintances, but these are usually one dimensional and we don’t need to know too much about them.  Without these, the main characters would be living in an unreal, almost isolated world.
Your secondary characters are those which have some definite effect on the story, either good or bad.  Some will motivate the hero or heroine, others may hinder, distract or cause conflict.  They interact with the main characters through dialogue and events.
These characters can often be helpful in revealing details of back story or events which are unfolding.  This may be through actions, or having a friend to discuss things with or sound off ideas.  For example; the heroine may have a close girlfriend who she confides in, giving an opportunity for dialogue while the heroine discusses her problem etc.  This comes over better than a lot of internal thoughts!
Their hopes, fears and actions are often the pivotal points in the plot or in the decisions made by the main character.
Awarded for Resolutions
In my own novel, Resolutions, I found the secondary characters wove the tapestry of the story against which the hero and heroine struggled to make the right decisions.
Emily is Carly’s best friend, or rather she was.  She has her own problems and guilt to live with.  Can they still be friends?
Maggie has known Carly since she was a child and is almost a mother to her.  Can she help Carly make the right decision?
Jim and Abi run the local hotel and have good reason for not welcoming Carly back into their lives.  How will Carly cope with this?
Who is Savannah, the beautiful woman who suddenly turns up and threatens to destroy Ben and Carly’s happiness?
Some of these could have their own story, and who knows, maybe one day they will.
...about the author  Resolutions is Carol’s debut novel and is set, close to where she lives in Yorkshire, in The Last of the Summer Wine country.  She is surrounded by beautiful countryside, ideal for walking which is much appreciated by Sam, the dog.
Writing has been her love since childhood. She started by making small comics for her dolls, progressed to training as a journalist for a short while.  Once the family had grown up Carol settled down to writing and published short stories, poems and holiday articles.
In recent years she has become a judge in the short story section for the HysteriaUK competition and also for the RNA’s romance novel of the year.
She is now busy working on two novels, swapping from one to the other, as inspiration calls. Both have a historical theme, one is set at the time of the Armada, the other includes a certain King who was found under a car park.
...about the book How do you go back to somewhere you believe everyone hates you? Carly Mitchell returns to the small town of Yeardon in Yorkshire almost a year after running
away on her wedding day. Now she wants to try to make amends with Steve, his family, and the townspeople who had prepared a huge party to celebrate her New Year’s Eve wedding.
She intends to stay only for a few days at the Resolution Hotel, owned by Steve’s parents. However, her plans change when Steve’s father is taken ill, and she feels obliged to step in and help with running the hotel. This also means having to deal with Steve’s antagonism since he has never forgiven her for humiliating him.
Another more pleasant complication comes in the form of Ben Thornton, the local doctor, to whom Carly feels an immediate attraction. They enjoy getting to know each other and falling in love, until a famous model turns up in the town, and attempts to monopolise Ben.
Steve attempts to get his revenge on Carly by driving a wedge between her and Ben, and by threatening to reveal what he knows about Ben’s troubled past unless Carly leaves town.
The resolution lies in Carly’s hands as she struggles between wanting to flee from the town again and wanting to stay with the man she has grown to love.

You can follow Carol on Amazon at  Tirgearr Publishing on Facebook  Twitter
and on her Blog

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Come stroll with me...

...through the city of Marseille.  I'm taking you out and above the city today to the basilica of Notre Dame de la Garde...

From the Vieux Port take Quai Rive Neuve and follow it round until you reach rue Fort Notre Dame and take  a left.  This street rises gently from the marina until it reaches a small square with 5 routes out.  Boulevard André Aune is what we're looking for.  But I'm also looking for a location that I can use as a model for some scenes in my 4th Jacques Forêt mystery - Marseille.  As I've been meandering along I've been checking out the small side streets and little cuttings.  As I cross the square looking for bd. André Aune I spot a narrow ruelle that curves round.  I decide to investigate.  It's barely a car width in breadth, the angle of vision from the main road is short because of the curvature, and there's a very useful low arch with a tiny courtyard behind.  It's in permanent shadow because of the tall buildings on either side and it is quiet.  It's perfect and I get some shots - not that these will ever be used on this blog!  These shots are to help my memory as I'm writing.  When the scenes in rue des Licornes play out in the book, I will be seeing Jacques and Didier right here in this side street in my mind.
But, that is not our only goal for today.  Bd. André Aune rises much more steeply and eventually opens out onto a small planted and treed area with steps opposite.  At the top of the steps is Montée de l'Oratoire.  From here you can see the path and steps leading up to Notre Dame de la Garde.  At the top of the steps do remember to stop and turn around - the view across the city is amazing.
Just a fraction of the decoration.  Yes those are replica ships!
Standing on the site of an ancient fort and a much earlier and smaller chapel on a rocky limestone outcrop, this 19th century basilica overlooks the city.  Hence the name, Our Lady of the Guard.  It is almost as though the building is keeping a watchful eye!  Construction of this particular building began in 1852 and took 21 years to complete.  Come inside with me and you'll understand why.
The stunning mosaics are made with materials from Italy and the recent restoration took 7 years to complete.  Apparently, this is the most visited place in Marseille, and, when you look at the décor, that snippet of info becomes understandable.
There's something else to see too.  As I walk around the building, I can see the scars of the battle for the city in 1944.  Yes, there really are bullet holes in the stonework.  There is also a plaque dedicated to Réné Valentin, the leader of a battallion of Tirailleurs (Infantrymen) from Algeria who were tasked with liberating the basilica.  Because of the position the church holds above the city any assualt would have to be clandestine.  It was a local man, Pierre Chaix-Bryan, who alerted the assualt forces to a hidden corridor and staircase that
ran from a house (No 26) on what was then called rue Cherchel (now rue Jules-Moulet) up
to the church.  The battle to take back the church from the occupying forces took place on August 25th, the battle to liberate the city as a whole was finally complete on August 28th.
As I leave the basilica, I'm going to take a slightly different route back.  If you continue on Montée de l'Oratoire you will come to Place Colonel Edon.  This is the spot where a tank crew supporting the assualt on Notre Dame lost their lives.  The tank, the Jeanne d'Arc, is still here and is now surrounded by a small memorial garden and monument.

STOP PRESS #MeettheAuthor :  I will be giving a talk and conducting a writing exercise at Parisot Library (Place de l'Eglise, 82160) on September 28th from 10.30 am.  It would be great to see you there if you would like to join me.

Marseille will is now available for pre-order Here  and you can read more about the city of Marseille Here  Here Here and Here