Too long away

There are few excuses for neglecting a blog but here are mine.

2016 was a difficult year for us. My husband’s cousin, a youngish man of 64(young from our perspective) died in the late Spring, a shock to all his family. Late in the summer our beloved dog Charlie became ill and died of a small tumour in her great heart. Health issues, since partially resolved, both our own and those of close friends, occupied the rest of the year.

But we are in a new year, and the pain of those losses is receding. Not to say the world is comfortable with a man with a clear personality disorder in the White House, but one can carry on.

My plans to become a writer of non-fiction have faltered, mainly because I write fiction and that seems to be that. However, there is a good deal more to learn about writing fiction and I am looking forward to a retreat in April with the kind friends of Writescape. Before that, I  will travel to Bermuda to visit my sister and her family. One of my journeys there resulted in No Motive for Murder, the third in my Dangerous Journeys series.

Another book, currently titled Painting of Sorrow, is under consideration by an agent. Fingers crossed.

Bad news is that my long-time publisher, Arline Chase of Write Words Inc. has closed up shop. Soon I hope to republish the books under my own imprint. so many thanks due to Arline for taking a chance on a beginning writer when she published Murderous Roots. All best wishes to Arline going forward.

Because of Arline’s retirement, I’ve been studying self-publishing both at CreateSpace and at Smashwords, where my books currently have a home. When I’m ready, I’ll reissue all four plus in the fall, the fifth in the series.

Of course, I read. Today I finished a book by a writer friend, Crozier Green. His novel of the early days of the Cosa Nostra in Sicily, titled The Little Wagons, was a terrific read. Please see the review below.

Crozier Green has written an engrossing, action-filled novel of the beginnings of the Cosa Nostra in Italy, seen through the eyes of three men and the woman they all desired. Two of the men rose from sulphur mines, graduated to the prison of Palermo and battled for supremacy in the nascent crime families of nineteenth-century Sicily. The woman, a wild and wildly-intelligent daughter of one of the bosses, manipulates both men and the officer of the Carabinieri who loved her, to gain power of her own.

The Little Wagons is suspense-full, fast-paced, well-written book that deserves five stars for its vivid characterization. Even minor characters are well-described. I won’t forget any of them soon.

The plot, involving as it does the entwined lives of four different people, is handled well. The opening description of the sulphur mines brings the reader into a hellish, claustrophobic world. The setting alone is sufficient to explain why men would do anything, including murder to escape from it.

The Little Wagons is a great read and terrific history.

That’s about it for a sunny and warm Saturday in the Kawartha Lakes.

 

 

 

 

Setenil de Las Bodegas

Setenil

We travelled to Spain in the fall of 2010 visiting Madrid and Seville before renting a cottage at Ronda, intending to explore the White Villages of the Sierra Nevada.

One day our route took us past the Roman ruins at Acinipo towards Olvera. We drove high above the River Trajo past the historic village of Setenil. We stopped to take pictures of this “village the mountain ate” before travelling on.

_MG_0835 - Version 2The village stuck in my memory and when I wanted to send Anne McPhail abroad after her adventure in Bermuda—No Motive for Murder—I brought her to Setenil with its cave-like houses and shops with their whitewashed exteriors.

The villages of the Sierra Nevada gleam from the mountainsides in this part of Spain. Every spring the citizens apply a fresh coat of paint to their walls, to reflect the harsh summer sun. Setenil does the same.

Setenil stood as a bastion for the Moors, its people attacked 7 times before the Christian king retook it in the long war that drove the followers of Islam from Spain, the Reconquesta.

Now tourists, those who find it in its remote location on a little-travelled road, sit in its cafes and walk the hilly streets.

It seemed a perfect, quiet location to bring Anne to repair her emotions. It seemed. What happened next is the story of The Child on the Terrace, coming soon from Write Words Inc.

We went on to Olvera that day, a steep town with a castle sitting on a pinnacle high above, and got lost in the Sierra Nevada.

Olvera, Spain

Olvera, Spain

Bermuda Railway Trail

Bermuda

If you’ve never been to this jewel of an island, you’re missing one of nature’s loveliest destinations. Walkers, divers, shoppers, beach lovers and birders can all find something wonderful here.

The Bermuda Railway trail http://www.bermudarailway.net/now/trail.html, is one of those wonders. Converted from the right-of-way of the little train that carried passengers for the 22 mile length of the islands, it now allows walkers an intimate view of Bermuda. Evocative names like Khyber Pass and Coney Island, identify various sections.

It’s a romantic walk, befitting Bermuda’s history as a destination for honeymooners, so romantic that I chose Khyber Pass as the setting for one of the characters in my recent novel No Motive For Murder propose to propose to his girl.

I found the perfect site for one of the murders in a pedestrian tunnel along a different stretch. When your rambles take you into Somerset, check out the nature reserves that thanks to concerned citizens and the National Trust, are saving wetland and habitat for birds and other creatures.

Put Bermuda on your must-see list, and not just for Elbow Beach, one of the world’s best.

Check out http://www.gotobermuda.com/default for information on visiting Bermuda

http://preview.tinyurl.com/camyphx for information of No Motive for Murder or click the link to the right.