Christmas Chez Shey’s. AND a Coastal Christmas Blog Hop

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Christmas Chez Shey’s. By Shehanne Moore.

Cold enough for you? I’ve been reading through all the warm coastal Christmas posts and want to say I also live on the coast five minutes walk from the one pictured above, near Dundee. Not this Dundee-

That’s in New South Wales, this one in Scotland.

where right now temperatures are well in the minus and hamsters will get their asses booted if they don’t butt out and get on with finishing my latest book which is actually set on the Cornish coast not long before Christmas.

I recently did a post about my the  heroine of this book, who would sell her soul for a Christmas garland, and about how, when it comes to Christmas decorations…..

It’s not just the memories we hold onto, it’s the life we live, the life we’ve made while understanding that that life evolves constantly, which makes what we have right now in our hands, all the more precious.  I’m not going to be waking up ten times a night to see if Santa’s been, or woken by my girls running in to ask me if Santa’s been. Now me and the Mr, get up, get the tea on and open the parcels. Christmas in Scotland can be weather dependant, so we always hope our family are going to be able to get from one end of the city to the other. A few years back a tree fell right outside our door blocking one of the two roads into where we lived then.   Of course folks were soon out tying bits of tinsel on it and Santa Stop here signs.  We also hope there’s not going to be any accidents like the year the oven door fell off first thing on Christmas morning and broke on the tiled floor…..

It would be lovely to  stroll down to Broughty Ferry Beach and castle–pictured several images above– five minutes away but the family are all coming for a traditional dinner, turkey and duck.

I don’t know what you’re all cooking but here’s the menu.

Thank you for decorating the dining room table  fellahs…

making the cakes to hand round with the mulled cider to the arriving guests.

and for offering to make the meal…….

Maybe not eennee theeng  but you sure said plenty thing.

Now after the meal you will be sure to light the log fire,  won’t you? having stocked up all the log baskets first? We don’t want the guests to be cold in our Scottish climate. Or to have to go outside in the frost and rake about in the shed for more wood.

Mind you, I suppose you have fur coats? Then I need you to get the games started,  Pass the Parcel and Pin the Star on the Tree, which the grandbaby ses he is well gonna win,  Doorman and these other games you still need to plan,  for when the evening guests arrive, cos you know evening time is ‘partay’ time.

Indeed it is. Now you’re getting this. I’m thinking maybe Rapid Response and Limericks but we need a few prize winning games, so get the thinking hats on.

Forget that presents stuff, Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without our family and friends around us, good food, good cheer AND the games to really get the party started. For me these are the things that make Christmas Day, the things I want to stand here again and see.  The big things.

Now…a  bit about this coastal romance group. They  are authors and readers who love reading romance by the water, whether it be the ocean, a lake, a tropical island or any other body of water where heroes and heroines fall in love and live happily ever after.

Well actually now I think about it, there’s a swathe of Lady Fury set on a coast, not to mention backstory set on various islands, Malice and Sin from The Viking and the Courtesan get shipwrecked on an island, the Black Wolf from His Judas Bride lives in a cave on a shore, AND did I mention that Brittany from The Writer and The Rake  is no stranger to Dundee?

AS for Christmas? Well, I believe Loving Lady Lazuli has  a lot to do with Christmas.

Anyway, you can enter the rafflecopter by clicking on the link but in addition to the Gift card and the 30 ebooks, second prize, there’s also a daily chance to win an ebook. All you have to do is visit the authors on the list  and leave a comment on their Christmas blog. Prizes will be drawn on Christmas Eve.

  The post before mine is Rich Amooi.  And tomorrow’s is  Fiona McArthur

Here is the overall link http://bit.ly/2A4bbkK

So what are you waiting for? Me to ask…is there anybody out there who can give these dudes the names of a few Christmas games my guests can play?  

 

Ann  B Harrison

Bronwyn Stuart

Shirley Wine

Susanne Cass

Fiona Marsden

Clare Connelly

Jenn J Mcleod

Hilary Grossman

Sasha Cottman

Monique McDonnell

Shehanne Moore

Susanne Bellamy

Bronwen Evans

Kris Pearson

Carla Caruso

Bree Verity

Rich Amooi

Fiona McArthur

Elizabeth Ellen Carter

Tea Cooper

Renee Conoulty

Kate O’Keeffe

Nikki LeClair

Tracey Alvarez

Leesa Bow

Phillipa Clark

Darcy Delany

24th December: Prize Draw

 

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Notoriously Mike Steeden

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Mike .  My dearest hamster chums, I’ve heard tell that you only got as far as page 6 in my new book ‘Notoriously Naked Flames’ when you picked up on that most naughty of bad words ‘nakedness’.

I realize that being cloaked in permanent fur coats ‘nakedness’ is a tad alien to you and can but only issue a grovelling apology for any offence caused. However, do be warned there’s quite a lot more ‘nakedness’ throughout my tale. I have a feeling this could be a difficult chat…still, as I always say, ‘onwards and upwards’.

Mike.  As for what next ? Well, the story shifts backwards in time in order to move forward. To explain, my lovely heroine, a small yet perfectly formed beautiful albino gal, is what is best described as a freelance assassin selling her consummate skills to government intelligence agencies far and wide in her quest to rid the world of those evil ones who have committed war crimes and such like.  History has taught us that there were many such evil beings to be suitably ‘dealt with’ both during WW2 and immediately following the end of hostilities – the time zone the tale is set in.

I must stress, that insofar as one can with a fictional character, that I did ask her permission to be in an almost constant state of undress, whereupon she replied that she was fine with the idea on the proviso that her man did likewise. For his part, as any red-blooded chap would, he readily agreed!

Mike. Notwithstanding your perfectly reasonable request that I write a book just for you guys and gals I simply don’t have it in me. You must realize that my 115th birthday approaches and I tire easily. However, to make part amends herewith a poem penned especially for you. It goes by the name of Shey’s Brood

I hear there’s a new breed of golden hamsters who’ve colonized The Moon

They lay claim to being far better than the rest

Yet when playing the game of ‘Mirror, Mirror on the wall’

The Mirror answers, ‘I think you’ll find Shey’s brood are still the best’

 

 Mike. Writing a book was the hardest thing this meagre brain of mine has ever undertaken. Worse even than being asked to spell ‘yacht’ on pain of death at infant school all those years gone!

Mike.  From the outset, the lovely Shey warned me that this would be so, advising me that anything worth attempting would, by necessity, be hard work demanding patience, determination and commitment – all things that don’t come easy to me. It is not praise for the sake of praise when I truthfully say Ms S is an inspiring gal, a fact I imagine others can also verify. Also, her counselling, pointing out that writing the last word to the last chapter by no means meant the job was complete proved to be a truth if ever a truth existed. My eternal thanks, Shey. This was all new to me, the one who generally writes ‘almost poetry’.

Shey. Yes you do know her and she is going to ask the next question.

Shey. The period leading up to the Second World War seems to hold a special fascination for you. Why is that?

Mike. I have long since been obsessed with the period twixt the two World Wars. Especially so, The Crazy Years of a Paris that endured despite itself. The Montparnasse district of the city, a place of café culture, boozy tobacs and artists’ studios, a magnet for budding intellectuals, philosophers, painters, photographers, writers from not just France, but from all over the planet.

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In short, The Crazy Years spawned an anarchic avant-garde; became a place where free-thinkers lived out the Bohemian ambition to the full as a matter of course.  Within the currency of that twenty-year timespan the place was a nonconformist domicile for the likes of Hemingway, Man Ray, Picasso, Matisse, Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, James Joyce, Scott Fitzgerald, Salvador Dali, even political exiles such as Leon Trotsky, and that is merely scratching at the surface. 

Art movements, from Art Deco, Cubism, Surrealism, indeed more ‘ism’s than one could shake a stick at flourished.  From my perspective, who in their right mind would not want to be part of that scene. I have said many times that even in the knowledge of the ever-growing cancer that was Nazism would all too soon herald the demise of such outlandish, often provocative self-indulgence, I would, be it in the gambit of Godly gift travel back in time and stay for as long as the place would have me.  That, in essence is why I decided my book would be set in the period the wild days were ending and a new, dark order was to hold sway.

Mike.  It is true my heroine does not, by necessity, have a name.

 

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Mike. As is revealed in the book, in her early years she followed her artistic bent, becoming an exotic dancer in the decadent basement dives of a Weimar – pre the rise of Hitler – Berlin. 

That fact, plus later, playing the game that is espionage posed her problems simply because her unusual beauty coupled with her albinism meant she could be easily recognized by her many enemies. One way of making her life a little safer was to never reveal her name, thus making it harder to track her down through official sources. Additionally, she has a secret relating to her pedigree, a secret she wishes to keep under wraps even beyond the grave; a secret that might just change the world views of the high and mighty should it become public knowledge.  

The aspect of undisclosed lineage is dealt with toward the end of the book. Does her secret get out? I’m not saying!

As to the subject of sweet Svetlana…I will never understand just what she sees in this crippled geriatric billionaire that is me…who has taken pride of place in many a short story I have penned, a girl who has selflessly tended to my every need, all I can say is that within the pages of Notoriously Naked Flames there is a gal who heralds from the self-same pastures as dear Svet, namely Romania. Indeed, this gal may even be Svet’s younger sister for all I know! Her name is Zada, a compassionate creature who may never have caressed my Havana, fondled my ear trumpet, rubbed my monocle clean or fetched me my evening glass of fine port, yet she is a diamond gal and a true friend of my two wild protagonists. I’ll not have a bad word said of her.

Mike.  Do you know, I haven’t bumped into Jonny since the old King died. The last I heard of him he was in South America, Brazil I think, adjusting the water pressure – he is a plumber after all – of a gal by the name of Carolee Croft. She writes some jolly fine risqué books I’ve heard tell. One thing is for sure though, Jonny (who’s adoration of fairer sex is the stuff of legend) would have his own salivating take on my heroine, more so than usual as she’s mostly got her kit off.

Mike. Listen to Shey, not me.

 

Mike. I’m not sure.

Mike.

I have a character in my head,

inevitably a lovely girl. This one has gone quite bonkers yet sees her madness as a positive thing; an escape from the mundane rituals of everyday life. I’ve penned a few thousand words yet worry what I have is presently a tad too surreal.  That it works inside this head of mine does not mean it would make any sense to the world at large. It would be presumptuous of me to think otherwise. Time will tell. Certainly, I’d relish the challenges of writing another book.

Blulrb on Vimeo Music by Zoolon Audio.

Notoriously Naked Flames from Mike Steeden on Vimeo.

 

EXTRACT …EARLY SUMMER 1952 – SUSSEX, ENGLAND (page 6)

She examines her defenceless giant searchingly as he bathes. He, the one who is a portrayal of rare full-fledged innocence, and wonders if the macrocosm inside his head replicates the one outside of hers. She hopes against hope that locked within exists a rainbow’s multi-coloured arc, or is all this lost upon the extraordinary self, empty of speech, hearing and sight, unaware that gesture is the only language he bestows. Touch and smell his native inside-out lone connection.

She communicates as best she can. Upon his awakening, she is always there. Her ‘hello of sorts’ a lover’s tangled tongue kiss.  No passion though, they are no longer the passing lovers they once were. More that the sharing of her unique taste serves to let him perceive her, recognize her. Always has him gift a beaming smile just for her. She wears the self-same perfume each new day also, it helps him identify her proximity.

With no great difficulty she aids him out of the bath, warm towels, warm heart care. Time for drying and dressing, though the palaver of dressing irks him, induces a frown. Regardless he is immune to nakedness within his ambushed consciousness, his curious dominion.  Not for him the embarrassment of the earthly collective.

The sun shone the day before.  Albeit keeping a caring eye open, she chose to let him wander the lawn, uncovered.  From nowhere a summer storm brewed, small hailstones. She watched as he held out his palms, threw his head back, greeted the spheres of water ice, an air of amazement, no suffering.

The eternal ‘what next’ frustrates her day; muddles her mood.  She undresses, calculates he may have no recollection that human beings come in two packages.  Her hands upon his chest, fingers spread wide, sensation of touch inviting.  Invitation accepted, he mirrors her actions, stroke for stroke, his look curious, questioning, captivated.  No folly in innocent exploration.

A telephone outside of his realm rings. Might be important, she pulls away. Notices he sheds a single loaded tear, from which continent of emotion it heralds, likely she will never unearth.

He has been this way ever since she rescued him.

Part espionage thriller, part romance, part fantasy, part adventure, ‘Notoriously Naked Flames’ is Mike Steeden’s first novel. Spanning the lead up to World War II, the war itself, and into the early 1950s, the unnamed heroine of the piece, a bewitching albino of Bohemian bent, masquerades in all manner of risqué guises dishing out her own version of clandestine justice to those evil souls spawned of conflict’s disregard for compassion, law, and order. She also finds herself nursing her lover, a giant of an Englishman once in the employ of MI5, back to a semblance of his former self following his torture at the hands of Cold War Soviets that had left him deaf, mute, and blind. Her task is made a little easier with the help an Eastern European girl she befriends in bizarre circumstance.

Together, the trio of ‘Notoriously Naked Flames’ takes on life in all its demonstrative disguises while the racy heroine keeps under wraps her tale of otherworldly evolution, for were it to become known to the public at large, it might just invalidate religion as we know it and bring forth a new Dark Age. Can she keep safe her secret?

https://mikesteeden.wordpress.com/

 

Deck the halls with the usual boughs

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Shey, aw come on fellahs, cos I take out things like my ancient fairy that’s only got one arm, not looking at anyone here…….

and the plastic Santa my mum got in Hongkong just after the war …and all is good with the world.

Christmas is often a looking back. But it’s not all about nostalgia. For me it was everything that went into the making of that day, no matter where people were in their lives, what they had, didn’t. And I think it’s almost a ritual where we hold onto something small in order to hold onto something bigger.

Shey. Yeah but what she is really holding onto is so much bigger. It’s the order of the life she’s made for herself, the house she’s poured everything she has, including herself, into, since losing her husband and child one dark and stormy night. On page one she’s just lost that house and everything in it. What do you do when you have nothing, not even the Christmas garlands, the clothes on your back?  Do you give up? Succumb to the fact you’re so cursed, everything you touch turns to ashes– because it does? So, being a corpse in many ways why should it matter?  

Or, because these things are all you have left  and you’re not quite the corpse you think, do you make a stand, knowing what you are throwing on the table doesn’t matter. isn’t worth a worn farthing? Whoever touches you will die anyway.  A problem shared is a problem halved after all, is this woman’s motto.

Shey. Indeed there will be a hamster reference.

Shey. Last book,  a two headed hamster. This  one a mealy mouthed hamster. Of course the whole thing is fanciful.

 

Shey.  When you finish it. 85 thou words is good dudes but you need to stop fiddling with the Christmas decs

and finish it. Then you need to decide what publishing route to take on this one. But if it’s the one I think you’re considering, it should be Spring.  You can do the cleaning first. Dear little dudes, I do hope this has got you into the spirit of Christmas. Thank you for letting me on my own blog.

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Extract.

“Then… if you didn’t win…”

“No. I suppose that’s what I meant when I said I wasn’t a gentleman.”

“I’m sorry, Mr…Mr Wryson, you will think me vague but the truth is I really don’t understand what you being, or not being a gentleman, has to do—”

“I’m acting on behalf of my employer.”

“Your employer?”

So it was true? She’d lost Doom Bar Hall. Still, she’d made this decision before this man walked in here.  How he looked, how old he was, who he was, had made no difference then.  Why should it now?  She’d die sooner than let this place go.

“He thought there would be difficulties you see.”

“Apart from my brother lying drunk on the floor there, I can’t imagine how.”

“Well he did. And that was why he asked me to spy out the lie of the land. After all, this is quite a house to lose–”

“Do you think I don’t know that? That is why my offer is the same because I don’t intend to lose it–”

“Especially when there’s past associations.”

“Past associations.” She resisted the urge to finger her throat, which prickled as if a moth’s wing was stuck in it. “What do you mean?”

“I mean my employer once lived—not in the house itself—but on the estate, and is known to you.”

“Known?”

She swallowed the astonishment sitting suddenly like ice in her mouth. There was only one man she could think of who had done that but of that one man, she did not want to think. Not when the blood drained from her face, the floor loomed so perilously close she struggled to stand in her black slippers and Orwell staggered to his feet.

“Dstny…old gal, I triled to tell you.  But you…you…”

“Old? How many times have I told you not to call me that? Twenty five is hardly old. What it is, roughly, on average, is how many times you call me that in a day.”

“Anyway, you’re nlot seris…”

“Says the man who has just cost us this place.”

“Unless the name Divers O’Roarke is unfamiliar to you, Miss Rhodes?” Gil Wryson’s voice was oiled velvet.

“Divers O’Roarke?”

How did she say the name as if it was nothing to her, the name of the man who had cursed them, cursed her loudest of all?

Because she must.

“No.  I believe I have vague memories of him.”

“Good, because he is waiting outside. I will be sure to pass the details of your offer to him if you still desire it.”

Before she could think whether she did or not, whether the word desire was putting it rather strongly, or she should change her mind, a footfall sounded in the candlelit doorway behind her.

“Good evening, Destiny,” clanged the sounding bell of hell and that damnably soft,  Irish voice,  she recognised from that same place. “I see you haven’t changed one bit.”

 

 

 

The Tale of a Minger.

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In Search of a Beginning …..   By RBN Bookmark

 

Shit St. Doesn`t have a postcode.

The Dead Loss Triangle

Bookmarked

Nobbled at the knees

The list of would be titles I found myself wrestling with seemed endless.

Yet time and again that nagging voice in my head would say, “No, not that one”. Urging me to try again and come up with something my subconscious and I could agree on.

The book was almost two years in the writing, the countless rounds of edits and rewrites adding still another six months until the finished article was finally ready for publishing.

They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, nor I would like to add, should one judge a book it by its title……well maybe not always.

  I was stumped for a title; this was my first book and could well be my last so I wanted something special, and yet very working class.

It was midnight, everybody had gone to bed and I had decided to stay up awhile longer. Gazing at the blank TV screen and sipping from a glass of red wine, my thoughts ran amok.

All sorts of things were going through my head and none of them made any sense. I recalled accidentally throwing my brother through my parent’s front room window when we were small. He only wanted me to give him a leg up so he could sit on the window ledge, but I guess I must have eaten my porridge that morning. He of course was completely unscathed, his trip through the windowpane hadn’t even disturbed his NHS spectacles which were still their usual lob sided self.

It was so quiet that night. For once my neighbour’s new-born baby had ceased crying and it had fallen silent on the other side of the Wailing Wall that separates us.

I filled out another glass of Beaujolais and roamed wherever my wandering thoughts took me.

 

 

My wedding photo from 25 years ago, staring back at me like a stranger in time from across the walI. While all this excavating the past was giving my brain a neurological hernia, I seemed to be getting no closer to finding a title for my book until I, by chance, recalled an incident that happened in Guernsey some years earlier.

After an enjoyable week’s holiday on nearby Herme Island, my wife and I had a few hours to kill before our flight home took off from Guernsey Airport. So we wandered aimlessly along the waterfront of St Peter Port, Guernsey carrying our luggage in tow. Oh how I hate waiting for flights…don`t you?

We encountered two well-nourished local teenagers, intent on a spot fun of tourist baiting.

Our misfortune was that we`d be the warm up act for the rest of their mischievous day.

The mark was overstepped when they attempted to make a beeline for my wife, and with that war was declared. In the end it was a bloodless battle, my teenage opponents felt more at home trading insults from a safe distance than engaging in the gentlemanly art of having ones block knocked off.

I remember the only act of violence being when I knocked one of the fat duo`s ice cream out of his hand. Like his bravado, it disintegrated on impact that warm summer’s day in July.

I knew I´d rattled their cages

 and so I walked away and left the fat duo to moan the demise of an ice-cream and lesson too; Never judge a book by its cover!

Insults about my red hair whizzed past me like arrows, but my actions had blunted their arrowheads. As the insults flew thick and fast, I chuckled to myself while puzzled bystanders attempted to make sense of what had happened.

As I neared the end of the Ice-cream Road battleground, the final insult landed short, yet audibly behind me.

You ginger bastard, you fucking ginger minger!!”

I at once snapped out of the past, for this was my eureka moment……..this was the title I’d been searching for.

A Minger`s TaleBeginnings was born!

R.B.N.Bookmark

# the word minger is a derogatory term, for a person or thing that is as unattractive and unpleasant. I explain its meaning in my book as; One who has fallen from the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down.

 

                          
If only he knew where God lived, he would urinate in his letterbox! Growing up is a difficult time in the life of Ribban Bookmark, this book traces his journey down a Minger Highway, signposted with humour and littered with roadkill oneliners.

 R.B.N. Bookmark turned to writing in 2014, in the end, it took a family tragedy …life is strange.

Born and raised in the northern city of Manchester, England, his background is working class and he tends to find humour in hardship and the way folk overcome the obstacles that life has thrown at them.
Upon leaving school at 16 he entered into a society rocked by poverty, unemployment, rising crime, and riots. Much of his inspiration when writing is drawn from his own experiences during this period.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Minger%60s-Tale-Beginnings-R-B-N-Bookmark-ebook/dp/B01DJAXURM

                            Facebook https://www.facebook.com/RBN-Bookmark
 
                            WordPress www.rbnbookmark.wordpress.com
 
                            Website  www.rbnbookmark.com
 
                            Twitter @rbnbookmark
                            Or find him on Instagram

Interview with Kate Furnivall and some dudes

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‘Hi there, Dudes, I am honoured and excited to be here.’

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zmed revKate. Well, BB, you know I go weak at the knees at the sight of that handsome phizog of yours.

 

and the infamous green hat. I used to hate green, my least favourite colour, it reminded me of school cabbage. But now it reminds me of your dashing self and I insist on wearing nothing but green these days. You are of course my fave dude but don’t tell Silv, will you? She’s a touchy little madam.

Kate. Elope? What happened to the big fancy wedding you promised to that Russian wench? Olga or Polga or Smolga or some such. And the gingerbread house? I must have a beautiful gingerbread house, you know. A fancy one. No skinflint stuff, my Bobbikins.

 

Kate. You are as sharp as a tack, BB. You got it in one! I just love that enchanting city. If it’s Paris you are planning on eloping to, then that’s a whole different ballgame. I am packing my bag as we speak. It’s true I have a huge fondness for Italy – and for Italian signori – and have set two of my books there, but Paris is the place I would choose for romance every time. It is the beautiful City of Love. La Ville de l’Amour.

 

Kate. Well now, that depends on how much time we have, mon ami,

but here are some must-sees. First, Montmartre. It’s my fave place in all Paris, the old artists’ arrondissement. With narrow cobbled streets climbing up to the breathtaking icing-sugar (frosting) white Basilica of Sacré Coeur,

which always puts me in mind of the Taj Mahal. And not far down the hill lies the ooh-là-là notoriously naughty Moulin Rouge cabaret on Boulevard de Clichy.

The dancing galz and their feathers are going to knock your little green socks off, BB.

Then we’ll head south to the stunning rose windows of Notre Dame Cathedral and the Impressionist Musée D’Orsay. And after an amble along the romantic quais, we can take a trip by moonlight on the Bateau Mouche on the Seine or head over for French 75 cocktails à deux at Le Fouquet’s on the Champs Elysées. I tell you, Bobby Bub, this is the start of a beautiful friendship.

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Kate. My new book is called The Betrayal and it does what it says on the tin. Two sisters. Conspirators. Murderers. Betrayers.

But … are they? There are so many twists and turns, and nothing is what it seems. The action takes place against the gorgeous backdrop of Paris 1938 with the nightclubs playing crazy jazz and the drums of war sounding in the distance.

Even the real-life shocking danceuse, Josephine Baker, puts in an appearance.

The city is on edge, a wildness is in the air. My story is of twin sisters, Romy and Florence, who are hiding a terrible secret that tears them apart. My desire to write about this subject came from the fact that I am a twin myself and wanted to explore how that incredibly intense relationship can draw two people together against their will, bound by blood, even when they are driven apart by violent events.

Being a twin is strange. It creates a bubble around the two of you and isolates you from the rest of the world. Yet I know from my own experience of being a twin how different your ideas and ambitions can be despite the closeness. Romaine and Florence come at the world from opposing viewpoints, just as my sister and I did. At times this creates distance between them. But always the bond holds firm and the love – that is as much a part of them as the colour of their eyes – never falters. But the terrible secret about their father’s murder stretches their loyalty to breaking point.

I have to say here and now that it was seeing all the shenanigans that go on around your gingerbread house week after week that inspired me for much of the mayhem that takes place in The Betrayal.

Broken limbs, a fire, damaged documents and even an attempt at world domination. Exactly like Dudeland. Okay, no moss monster but there’s a really nasty character who comes close. Tragically, no hamsters. They’d soon be gobbled up by the rats that creep up from the Paris sewers at night.

Kate.  Romy and Florence are very different. Romy is a daredevil, a reckless pilot who flies aircraft to the left-wing Republicans in the Spanish civil war. She fights against Fascism, but she leads a dissolute life, using drink, gambling and men to help her forget the day that she woke up in her father’s study with him dead at her feet and his blood on her hands.

She has no memory of what happened that day. In contrast, her twin sister Florence is an elegant socialite in a position of power and privilege. She is married to a diplomat who works with the Germans to destroy the very people whom Romy is fighting to help. To save Romy’s slender neck from the guillotine, the sisters put the blame for their father’s murder on an innocent gardener, but their lies come back to haunt them.

Kate. My nice French recipe is to get you in the mood. It’s for a Soixante Quinze! A French 75! This lemon-hued cocktail is insanely good and was very fashionable in the 1920s. So grab your shaker. It is named ‘French 75’ because taking a sip of it feels like getting shelled by a French 75mm field gun. Aah, la vie est belle!

Ingredients

2oz champagne

½ oz lemon juice

1oz gin

2 dashes simple syrup

Lemon twist

Method

Add gin, champagne and syrup to a cocktail shaker filled with ice, shaking as hot-hot-hot as Tom Cruise to combine. Strain into an iced champagne glass. Top with more chilled champagne and a twist of lemon. Voilà!

 

 

Kate. My next book is The Truth. It is about lies. The lies people tell and the truth that is hidden in the dark places behind them. I am very excited about this one. This time I’m in Germany 1945. What a terrible chaotic period that was. The war was over and the Allies were trying to put the country back together again. A time of desperation but also of huge hope for the future. My character Klara is trapped with her young daughter in one of the Displaced Persons camps. Needless to say, danger stalks the camp and …. My lips are sealed!

Thank you for having me, Bobby Bub. It’s been a blast. I’ve got our Eurostar tickets to Paris in my hot little hand …..

 

 

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katey 1

katebooks

Kate Furnivall had the shock proof of her life when she learned just over a decade ago that she was part Russian. Not a demure all-English rose after all then. It changed her life. Triggered those Russian genes into action. Inspired by her grandmother’s dramatic St Petersburg life-story at the time of the Soviet Revolution, Kate wrote her first historical novel, The Russian Concubine, which hit the New York Times Bestseller list and was sold in 25 countries.It hooked Kate into the thrill of setting powerful emotional stories in dramatic far-off locations. She took to travelling with a vengeance – Russia, China, Malaya, Egypt, Bahamas, Italy, France. All became backdrops for her sweeping tales set in the first half of the 20th century when the world was in turmoil.

Research trips were riddled with wonderful adventures and weird discoveries that enrich her books. She delves into dark themes as well as intense love stories, and strips her characters to the bare bones in times of crisis to see what they are made of. Her books are full of tension, twists and thrills, atmosphere and romance.

Kate was raised in Wales, went to London Uni and worked in advertising in London. She now lives in blissful Devon with her husband, snuggled up close to Agatha Christie’s house for inspiration. She has two sons and a manky cat.

Kate has written ten historical novels, two of which have been shortlisted for the RNA Historical Novel of the Year Award.

http://www.facebook.com/KateFurnivallAuthor

http://bit.ly/2yzPGJk

 

Could you kill someone? Someone you love?

Paris, 1938. Twin sisters are divided by fierce loyalties and by a terrible secret. The drums of war are beating and France is poised, ready to fall. One sister is an aviatrix, the other is a socialite and they both have something to prove and something to hide.
The Betrayal is an unforgettably powerful, epic story of love, loss and the long shadow of war.

Vienna’s Street of blood and some dudes.

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Blutgasse, Vienna’s Street of Blood by Catherine Cavendish.

 

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My latest novel – Wrath of the Ancients – is mainly set in the endlessly fascinating city of Vienna, Austria’s imperial capital and one of the most architecturally beautiful cities in the world. This is largely due to the efforts of one of its most famous Emperors – Franz Josef – who reigned from the turbulent revolutionary year of 1848 until his death in 1916.

It was Franz Josef who ripped up the cramped, unhealthy and unsanitary heart of the walled city and replaced it with the famous Ringstrasse, encircling inner Vienna and flanked by magnificent neo-classical Greek edifices housing the parliament, opera house, post office and much more besides.

Yet some of the narrow, winding cobbled streets remain. No longer unsanitary, these provide a romantic evening stroll and a peaceful daytime wander, away from the hustle and bustle of the main tourist areas.

 

One of the oldest of these streets is Blutgasse – Blood Street – which lies in the heart of the city, near to St Stefan’s Cathedral.

The street is home to a number of picturesque courtyards – most of which are open to the public to wander around. At night, with few people around, the silence can be quite uncanny. The tall buildings effectively soundproof the street and, with no traffic allowed, the sound of your footsteps can be the only noise to puncture the quiet. It becomes quite easy to believe some of the many legends surrounding this unique place.

It is said that, in 1312, the Knights Templar were brutally slain in this street. So many were killed that its cobblestones ran with blood, giving it the name it has been known by ever since.

 

The men had tried to hide, but in vain. It is said that they did manage to conceal their treasure there which, to this day, has never been found. Maybe this is why they return, still searching for that which was theirs.

Their headquarters can still be seen at Blutgasse 9. This leads to a courtyard called Fähnrichshof (Ensigns’ Court)  Here stands an ancient plane tree, said to house the remains of a Knights Templar’s sword, embedded deep within it.

For many years, those who were condemned to death had to walk along this street to their place of execution.

No wonder their cries echo as whispers to this day and take people by surprise. The ghosts don’t wait for nightfall. Many of them can be heard and even glimpsed in broad daylight.

Another legend which refuses to go away is that of a fearsome basilisk, which lived in a deep well along the street.

Such creatures were greatly to be feared as they could kill with one glance and their venom was so powerful, it left a deathly trail in its wake. Whenever anything went seriously wrong, you could be sure the basilisk was at the heart of it.

For one small street, Blutgasse packs a mighty punch. Stroll along it, stop, listen. Is that the sound of swords clashing? Or the hiss of the mighty basilisk, arising from its slumber?

 

 

Destiny In Death

Egypt, 1908

Eminent archaeologist Dr. Emeryk Quintillus has unearthed the burial chamber of Cleopatra. But this tomb raider’s obsession with the Queen of the Nile has nothing to do with preserving history. Stealing sacred and priceless relics, he murders his expedition crew, and flees—escaping the quake that swallows the site beneath the desert sands . . .

Vienna, 1913

Young widow Adeline Ogilvy has accepted employment at the mansion of Dr. Quintillus, transcribing the late professor’s memoirs. Within the pages of his journals, she discovers the ravings of a madman convinced he possessed the ability to reincarnate Cleopatra. Within the walls of his home, she is assailed by unexplained phenomena: strange sounds, shadowy figures, and apparitions of hieroglyphics.

Something pursued Dr. Quintillus from Egypt. Something dark, something hungry. Something tied to the fate and future of Adeline Ogilvy . . .

Wrath Of The Ancients

Available from:

Amazon

Nook

iApple

Google

Kobo

About the Author:

Following a varied career in sales, advertising and career guidance, Catherine Cavendish is now the full-time author of a number of paranormal, ghostly and Gothic horror novels, novellas and short stories. She was the joint winner of the Samhain Gothic Horror Anthology Competition, with Linden Manor. Cat’s novels include the Nemesis of the Gods trilogy – Wrath of the Ancients, Waking the Ancients and Damned by the Ancients, plus The Devil’s Serenade, The Pendle CurseSaving Grace Devine and many more. She lives with her long-suffering husband, and a black cat who has never forgotten that her species used to be worshiped in ancient Egypt. She sees no reason why that practice should not continue. Cat and her family divide their time between Liverpool and a 260-year-old haunted apartment in North Wales.

 You can connect with Cat here:

Catherine Cavendish

Facebook

Twitter

Goodreads

 

 

 

 

 

Mitchell is a hard sell. Fiona Chapman is an angel

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Book Review: The Writer and The Rake, by Shehanne Moore https://fiona-chapman.com/2017/10/24/book-review-the-writer-and-the-rake-by-shehanne-moore/

Book Review: The Writer and The Rake, by Shehanne Moore

The Writer and the Rake (Time Mutants #2)The Writer and the Rake by Shehanne Moore

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love a bit of time travel romance, so I was looking forward to falling into this story and discovering how the two main characters would stumble across each other – or, in the heroine’s case, appear in the 18th century in the blink of an eye.

Brittany is your classic heroine; she portrays a strong, don’t-mess-with-me, nothing-can-hurt-me-exterior, but as the story moves on you begin to notice cracks in her resolve.

It took me a while to warm to Mitchell, however, as he came across as conceited and totally void of emotion and empathy. Except this is where Ms Moore has written her colourful, full-bodied characters so well. They are perfectly flawed, because no-one is ever as they seem on the surface.

The overall story arc is beautifully chaotic, comical and a touching read. It left me with that wistful sigh of the happy-ever-after, and tailed-off thoughts of… what happens next?

I’ve not read The Viking and the Courtesan, but it’s definitely being added to my TBR pile.

 

Mother, freelance writer and social media marketer, passionate about life, love and wellbeing.

Writer of inspirational articles, from the best moments and discoveries in life, to finding your level of happy. Creator of real-life, sassy heroines and their journey in finding out who they are.

Social media marketer, cultivating and nourishing meaningful relationships through networking. Sowing and growing excitement for brands across social media with boundless energy and enthusiasm (also keen gardener and wordsmith). Inspiring others to seize the day and embrace life with added sparkle.

After all, we’re just winging our way through life, and we only get one chance at it.

Dare to dream… Then live it

 7 Simple Ways to Survive on a Budget

In 2012, I left full-time employment to concentrate on my family and a writing career, in favour of a better work/life balance. This book was inspired by my decision and looks at simple ways to save money in the current economic climate, filled with hints and tips I apply on a regular basis.

 

 

 

Let’s get social!

 

 

Interview With the Earl. Take 2.

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https://thecontentedcrafter.com/

http://bit.ly/2gCShdD

Stillmore. If they cheat I will.

Stillmore. Sorry. I do not know if I was listening there. Didn’t you mean the winner?

Stillmore. Oh, what is wrong with you dudes and this unbearable whining? You must know how it does my head in. Obviously cheating is the only way to beat me.  And if you do that you deserve to be shot. Now then, let’s open shall we?

Stillmore… Hang it all where has that piece gone?

Stillmore. Oh stop sounding like Splendor. The one that was there a moment ago. I know I am not mistaken about this. any more than I am mistaken about anything. Ever.

Stillmore- Or should I say two pieces? Well, it matters not. Certainly I am not about to be beaten by a hamsterous bunch of cretins.

Stillmore- Obviously Shey wanted me to look my best so she used several of the most famous chess games in history as the basis for these bits of the book. For example the  Splendor /Baxby final, where she offers her queen early, was based on a famous Russian game and  worked like this….  Excuse me, where’s that piece gone?

Stillmore- If YOU are meaning THE first one where Splendor cheated–

Stillmore. Where’s that piece gone?

Stillmore–Let me say to you what I said to her…’You never let me finish.’

Stillmore — Right. Where’s my king?

Stillmore–Believe me… the waste of a bullet that would be. Now, if you don’t mind I have far better things to do with my time than sit here listening to this cretinous chatter.

  Extract.

Drawing his collar up as protection against the chill night air, Stillmore strode to the edge of the curb. “Hang it, Chasens, my cane. And find the woman a carriage. She looks like she needs a ride home.” Well, wasn’t this a dilemma. How the bloody blazes could she have lost and that check still be in his pocket?

“Thank you, but I shall walk,” Splendor said, her chin held high and her face whiter than if she’d seen a ghost.

“Suit yourself.”

She must want to spend the night with him. How else could he explain her sitting there like a moonstruck mouse messing up every single move she made? How was he meant to reward such imbecility? By making himself look stupid? He’d tried. He’d let her have his rook, his bishop, his knight, and half his pawns. But his queen? No. There were things he drew the line at. God knew he had tried every trick he knew to throw the game in her favor without making it glaringly obvious, and she had still lost. She was a damnable woman. Not at all his type. Too tall. Too argumentative. Too vexing. Too much trouble.

He withdrew his watch from his pocket and snapped it open. “Although you must know you are being perfectly ridiculous insisting upon walking at this hour. It’s late. It’s been a long day. And you don’t exactly live close at hand.”

“And that is somehow your concern?”

“Well, no, now you come to mention it.” Having admired the watch’s pale face glinting in the moonlight for several seconds, he flicked it shut. “I was merely trying to be helpful.”

Her widened eyes left him in very little doubt that she didn’t just believe the concept of him being helpful was as far as the stars beyond him, she believed it was going to stay at that distance for some considerable time. Probably forever.

He was just going to have to keep the ten thousand pounds. Anything else would make him look a fool. His gaze flitted over the oval of her face, shadowed by the street lamps. They’d had a wager, hadn’t they? He might as well get his wager’s worth.

“But I shall pick you up tomorrow evening at seven. Be ready.”

‘Lady’ Splendor better not think of bolting either.

 

Interview with the Earl. Take 1.

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THE RULES

Place the award logo or image within your blog post. Thank the person who nominated you and link their blog in your post.

 

https://aquileana.wordpress.com/

 Tell your readers 3 things about yourself.

Nominate 10-20 people.

Ask your nominees 5 original questions of your choice.

Share 5 links to your best blog posts.

Notify each of your nominees by commenting on their blog.

 

 

Answer your nominator’s questions.

 

Extract.

He tightened his finger on the trigger and focused his gaze on the exact spot he was going to hit, the spot he had the right to hit. Damn it all to hell. Never mind facing a murder charge for a boot-wrecking nincompoop, what if this wasn’t a boy?

He tilted his chin. A woman at a man’s chess tournament though? She’d be arrested for fraud.

No.

He cocked his eyebrow. He had a clear shot, and he must take it. Now.

This damned jackanapes had made him look a complete fool, and not content with that, had proceeded to almost shoot off his toe. Indeed, the shot could have taken off anything.

A woman might very well fire off a shot like that, though. A complete bamboozler that might take a better shot down by chance. Yesterday’s visitor and this cousin had the same hair coloring, the same disconcerting habit of talking as if he was an idiot. They required patience to deal with too. Then there was the matter of the scent.

One more sadness at the bottom of a glass.

He had never shot a woman. What kind of man would?

Oh, for God’s sake, if the shirt outlined soft, swelling breasts, he’d stop, stop right now, stride from this field, and let this go.

It didn’t. What other choice did he have?

He narrowed his gaze, fully cocked the pistol, and taking a deep breath, squeezed the trigger.

Meet Esme, the woman who hunts recipes.

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loves to share her passion to cook, bake and experiment in the kitchen.

 This is her way of relaxing after a long and hard week in the office, and if you wish to call it her  ‘retail therapy’, please do .

Esme : Thank you for the compliment, although I was not involved in the decision making of naming myself, I accept the compliment on bahalf of my belated parents.  The rumor goes that it’s a name that Mom and Dad fancied and then named me as such, but later I found the following explanation for my name:-

Esmé is a French given name.

Esme may also refer to:

  • Esme, a town in Turkey
  • Esme(genus), a genus of damselfly
  • “Esmé”, a story by Saki
  • “Esme”, a song on the Joanna Newsom album Have One on Me, and its titular character

OR

 Esmé or Esmée is a French given name, the past participle of French esmer “to esteem” (whence also English aim).Esmé came to be used in Scotland in the 16th century as the name of Esmé Stewart, 1st Duke of Lennox (1542–1583) and is now among the most popular baby names for girls in the UK.

Esme – BTW – Esmé is my call name, although I do have 3 Christian names which have no resemblance or connection to my call name, so you can see Mom and Dad loved the name Esmé so much that that’s what I go by, but for the records and family tradition I am Maria, Elizabeth, Magdalena.  Should you call me Maria, I will take a second or more to respond you.

Esme :  This is me:

My about page:

https://cookandenjoyrecipes.wordpress.com/about-2/and Welcome page:

https://cookandenjoyrecipes.wordpress.com/about/as well as a link to my Who, What, Where and Why?? page: https://cookandenjoyrecipes.wordpress.com/2017/08/17/who-what-where-and-why/

Link to my blog The Recipe Hunter (Cook and Enjoy): https://cookandenjoyrecipes.wordpress.com/

Esme.  Yep.  I love to cook, experiment and share recipes and thus also need to “hunt” to find new recipes from other cultures and areas around the world to add to my collection and test whenever possible.

Esme  :  Unfortunately I do not personally have or had hamsters (sorry about that), but I did ‘hunt’ and found the following:

http://www.easy-kids-recipes.com/hamster-food.html hopefully you can ask Shey to prepare them for you.  Let me know what you think once tried and tested!

Esme :  WOW, that’s a loaded question!  Maybe I can answer in the reverse:  I do not like spicy and strong food, although it must be favorful.  I prefer to savor my food and prefer to have a good experience tasting each morsel I eat, without burning my mouth to cinders when eating.  I also do not like warm tomatoes, or escargot but pretty much everything else is a go for me. 

I leave you with Es’s family famous Chicken Pie recipe: The first link you will see being just a regular post of this awesome recipe (although I have to say to myself):

 

https://cookandenjoyrecipes.wordpress.com/2016/09/24/ess-family-famous-chicken-pie/

The second link featured in a magazine of a fellow Ex-South African FB group member, now residing in Texas, and Publisher of Neighbors of the Woodlands

https://cookandenjoyrecipes.wordpress.com/2017/05/20/ess-family-famous-chicken-pie-2/

Esme.:

 Recipes I have by the dozens, or thousands, so pleaes hop over and check out my blog: The Recipe Hunter @ https://cookandenjoyrecipes.wordpress.com/ I also provide you with a link on the blog, for recipes I personally tried and tested: https://cookandenjoyrecipes.wordpress.com/?s=es%27s&submit=Search   The last one I made (would like to do more, but time is always an issue with working full time and then running my FB Group and Blog and other social media outlets) but hope you will like this one: Es’s Chicken Scones (https://cookandenjoyrecipes.wordpress.com/2017/09/01/ess-chicken-scones/ )

Esme.  Bobby Bub, I am not gourmet chef, I am just a plain old mother, wife and regular cook that try her best to put something yummy and nice on the plate for her family and friends.  I am sure there are many many of my fellow bloggers and FB group friends that do a way better job at cooking and baking than me.

Esme.

Yes, I did ask Shey to do a Guest Post, and I am so so happy and grateful for her G…uest #20: Cooking’n books

(https://cookandenjoyrecipes.wordpress.com/2017/09/03/guest-20-cookingn-books/ ) sharing with us her Creme Bastarde recipe (another one on my 1,000 mile long list to test out.)

Esme : Whoop, whoop, yes, yes and once again yes, please share as many recipes as you like.  As you know I am The Recipe “Hunter” and this will make me the Happiest “Hunter” or should I say “Huntress” in the world.

Esme : A8 Share away ‘hamsters’, now you’re on the clock and I await each and every new recipe coming my way!!!

Social media links:

Please join our Facebook group: The Recipe Hunter

Follow me on Pinterest

Join me on Instagram  You can now also follow me on Twitter:  The Recipe Hunter –  @TRH_Cook

I joined the ranks of StumbleUpon

I am also a Proud member of the Top 100 food Blogs