Good morning, everyone.

Letters from Elsewhere won’t appear this morning, I’m afraid, due to a misunderstanding. It might appear later today or on a different day. We shall see.

Instead, I have a surprise for you… someone who was shocked on reading my book.

ShockedReader

You can read her story on the other blog.

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TimeToTalk.
I haven’t been completely quiet about recent events on the border between Israel and Gaza. On Facebook, I shared several opinions and articles I agreed with. I even started making my posts public. It’s time people knew the truth; it’s important, because ignorant people are making things worse.

This British Jew changed his mind. One of the things that helped him was when he realised, “Over 80 percent of the people who were killed while trying to breach the border were members of terrorist organisations whose direct aim is to bring death and suffering into Israel.”

This Israeli was there, at the border. “The IDF employs many creative means of reducing friction with Gazans and uses numerous methods, most of which are not made public, to prevent them from reaching the fence.”

This is what the media is doing. “The reports were pretty much all in line, suggesting that peaceful protesters were fired on by bloodthirsty Israeli troops.”

I posted two statements that were mine:

  • I think it must be very hard for anyone living in the UK (amongst other countries) not to be influenced by the images and voices on the TV. That’s why I post the other side sometimes, although I don’t know if anyone listens to it.
  • The people who condemn Israel for defending itself in the only way possible are perpetuating these awful scenes. A strategy that works will be repeated.

I used to think we could ignore people whose opinions are based on lies. But we can’t, because those opinions create the facts.

Here’s another fact that people don’t realise. As I go about my ordinary life in Jerusalem, where I live, or in other parts of the country, I see Arabs – in the streets, in cafés, in hospitals, on public transport, everywhere. Last week I attended my son’s graduation ceremony at Israel’s Open University. Many of the graduates and families were Israeli Arabs. There is more to life than politics.

Letters from Elsewhere

Today’s guest has travelled here through air and time. Joseph Flynn comes from 18th Century Ireland, where he plays an important role in Heart of Stone by John Jackson. He is Agent to Lord Belvedere, the former Robert Rochfort. He also forms part of an intelligence network, put in place in a turbulent Ireland, following the Cromwellian Wars.

Joseph has brought a letter to Mr Stafford, a very highly placed functionary at the Horseguards, headquarters of the British Army. Let’s read what he wrote.

To Mr. Stafford,
Principal Secretary,
Horseguards,
London.

My dear Mr Stafford,

As requested, I have been following the activities of my employer here in Westmeath.
As your Lordship knows, the Rochfort family remain a dominant force here. The harvest has been terrible, and Mr George Rochfort seems determined to force as many families from their farms as possible. Lord Robert and his lady wife are a curious couple. She is young and sweet natured. Everyone on the estate, and here in Mullingar, loves her. She always makes time to speak to those she meets, including myself. A most amiable lady.
His Lordship is not so amiable. He neglects his estate, and as his agent, that is a matter of much concern to me. I try frequently to bring important matters to his attention, but without success. He seems to have no time for anything but the plans for his new house.
I hear that recruiting for the Army is poor. If the local men can stay on their land, they will. Some of the recruits come from families who have been thrown off their land. They must join the Army or starve. We need a soft winter.

For the rest, the county of Westmeath remains calm. I hear no complaints from the garrison, other than the usual complaints of the soldiery. I have heard occasional reports of French priests wandering the land. Should I hear anything of a definite nature, I will inform your Lordship.

My contacts do advise me that Lord Belvedere, my employer, is most certainly not a popular person. When in his cups he has been known to blurt out matters which should better be left unsaid. Although his young wife seems a most engaging and delightful lady, and, as I stated, is extremely popular in Mullingar and the area, the same cannot be said of her husband. She has already given his lordship a daughter; an event which, for most men would be a cause for rejoicing. Not so for his lordship. He seems to be putting the lack of a son and heir before all other concerns.

I continue to observe all I can, and assuring you of my diligence in service of his Majesty, I remain your humble and obedient servant,

Joseph Flynn. Agent to the Lord Belvedere.

I see. You’re spying on your employer. I suppose you think that’s in a good cause, do you? Ah, he’s gone.

About Heart of Stone

Heart Of Stone by John JacksonDublin, 1730

When young and beautiful Mary Molesworth is forced to marry Robert Rochford, widowed heir to the earldom of Belfield, she finds that her idea of love is not returned. Jealous, cruel and manipulative, Robert ignores her after she has provided him with a male heir, preferring to spend his nights with his mistress. Power-hungry, Robert builds up a reputation that sees him reach for the highest positions in Ireland.

Caught in an unhappy marriage, Mary begins to grow closer to Robert’s younger brother, Arthur. Acknowledging their love for each other, they will risk everything to be together. But Robert’s revenge threatens their lives and tears them apart.

Will Mary and Arthur find a way to escape Robert’s clutches?

Based on real events, Heart of Stone is a tale of power, jealousy, imprisonment, and love, set in 1740s Ireland. It is available from Amazon.

About John Jackson

John JacksonFollowing a lifetime at sea, John Jackson has now retired and lives in York. After thirty years of non-fiction writing, drafting safety procedures and the like, he has now turned his hand to writing fiction.

An avid genealogist, he found a rich vein of ancestors going back many generations. His forebears opened up Canada and Australia and fought at Waterloo.
A chance meeting with some authors, now increasingly successful, led him to try to turn some of his family history into historical novels.

John is a keen member of the Romantic Novelists Association and graduated through their New Writers Scheme. He is also a member of the Historic Novel Association and an enthusiastic conference-goer for both organizations.

He describes himself as being “Brought up on Georgette Heyer from an early age, and, like many of my age devoured R L Stevenson, Jane Austen, R M Ballantyne, and the like.”

You can find John on Facebook and Twitter, and on his website.

Letters from Elsewhere

Welcome readers and welcome to my guest today. He’s called DI Hunter Wilson and that sounds to me a fitting name for a detective. Hunter has come all the way from Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, and he’s told me how much he loves his city and is devoted to solving its crimes. I’ll always remember visiting Edinburgh many years ago and being shown a group of shiny, new, stationary police cars by a tour guide who told us that showed there was no crime in Edinburgh!

Hunter has brought a letter to his daughter, Alison, who lives in Shetland. In it Hunter tells Alison about the death of his friend and his determination to get revenge for this evil act.

Dear Alison,

I hope you are well and that your job is going well. I hope you will manage to visit me in August so that we can go to some events at The Edinburgh International Festival. I have been thinking about you and your brother, Cameron so much because yesterday, I was reminded very clearly how important friends and family are to us all.

I was called to the scene of a murder with that young DC Tim Myerscough. You know what a diverse city Edinburgh is and we had to drive from Fettes in the North passing pretty part known as Dean Village and the high residential tenements in Comely Bank to get to the Gilmerton in the South-East. The area of Gilmerton we had to go to has wide streets and the homes are mostly the four in a block flats that the Edinburgh Council built to rent out. Many of these were sold off in Margaret Thatcher’s era.

Edinburgh is such a beautiful city, with its castle, the palace and the grand St. Giles Cathedral where the tourists join the great and the good to worship. Here the children can swim in an Olympic sized pool, learn in art galleries and museums of International standards, follow the national rugby team and cheer on either of the city’s football teams. It breaks my heart when I witness an evil act. 

You know when I am twittering like this, I am trying to avoid telling you something awful. And that is exactly the case here. 

When Tim and I got to the flat in Gilmerton, I went over to look at the body. Imagine how awful it was to see the corpse of my friend, George Reinbold. He died alone and was clearly scared about something. Alison, I was so shocked! He was such a polite, thoughtful man. Who on earth would want to kill him?

That is what I will find out. Whoever did this must face the full force of the law.
Dad

Hunter is the hero of Hunter’s Chase, by Val Penny and published by Crooked Cat Books, and Hunter’s Revenge, which will be published by Crooked Cat Books in September.

About Hunter’s Chase

Hunter'sChaseCover (Val Penny)Detective Inspector Hunter Wilson knows there is a new supply of cocaine flooding his city, and he needs to find the source, but his attention is transferred to murder when a corpse is discovered in the grounds of a golf course.

Shortly after the post-mortem, Hunter witnesses a second murder, but that is not the end of the slaughter. With a young woman’s life also hanging in the balance, the last thing Hunter needs is a new man on his team: Detective Constable Tim Myerscough, the son of his nemesis, the former Chief Constable Sir Peter Myerscough.

Hunter’s perseverance and patience are put to the test time after time in this first novel in The Edinburgh Crime Mysteries series.

You can buy Hunter’s Chase on Amazon.

About Val Penny

Val PennyVal Penny is an American author living in SW Scotland. She has two adult daughters of whom she is justly proud and lives with her husband and two cats. She has a Law degree from Edinburgh University and her MSc from Napier University. She has had many jobs including hairdresser, waitress, lawyer, banker, azalea farmer and lecturer. However she has not yet achieved either of her childhood dreams of being a ballet dancer or owning a candy store. Until those dreams come true, she has turned her hand to writing poetry, short stories and novels.

Val is available on Twitter, Facebook and on her website.

Letters from Elsewhere

I think I’ve found a kindred spirit today! She seems timid. Many would call her shy, but I’ve always been wary of using that term for others, because I never agreed when it was applied to me. Tina has brought a letter she wrote to her friend, Melissa, who vanished a while ago. Apart from that, she seems too anxious to get involved in a conversation. Let’s read the letter; that might explain her reticence… either that or the book blurb below.

Tina comes from The Brotherhood by Jo Fenton, due for release on 25th July.

To my dear best friend Melissa,

It’s been ages since I saw you. I still can’t believe you disappeared without a word, but Dominic said you had to go away to rest. For some reason he thought it would be easier for everyone if you didn’t say goodbye.

He was wrong. It’s been awful not really knowing where you are. Everyone is missing you. Mark’s constant scowl would turn all the milk in the Abbey sour. I’m almost scared to speak to him now. He just snaps everyone’s head off. He did apologise to me yesterday, but he said something very strange, Mel. He said he wished he knew where you were! How can he not know? I didn’t like to ask him though…

I wish I knew how to find you. I think Thomas does. He’s started leaving me alone more – such a relief – and he said it’s because of you, but he wouldn’t explain why. If you’ve seen him and said something to stop him from … well, you know… then I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I’m actually starting to feel almost safe.

If only you were back!

Take care, dear friend, and look after yourself. I hope you’ll be back soon.

Lots of love

Tina xx

About The Brotherhood

The BrotherhoodThe Brotherhood – safe haven or prison?

After her parents’ sudden death, a grieving Melissa falls back on her faith and into the welcoming arms of a religious sect. Captivated by their leader, Dominic, she leaves her old life behind and moves to the countryside to join them.

But life in The Brotherhood is not as safe as it first appeared. When engineer Mark joins The Brotherhood, Melissa finds herself conflicted between her growing feelings for him and her crush on Dominic. With their leader’s initial encouragement, Melissa and Mark grow close.

But as her haven becomes a prison, Melissa’s newfound happiness is destroyed by Dominic’s jealousy. How can she escape and save the ones she loves?

You can pre-order The Brotherhood now on Amazon.

About Jo Fenton

Jo FentonJo Fenton grew up in Hertfordshire. She devoured books from an early age, particularly enjoying adventure books, school stories and fantasy. She wanted to be a scientist from aged six after being given a wonderful book titled Science Can Be Fun. At eleven, she discovered Agatha Christie and Georgette Heyer, and now has an eclectic and much loved book collection cluttering her home office.

Jo combines an exciting career in Clinical Research with an equally exciting but very different career as a writer of psychological thrillers.

When not working, she runs (very slowly), and chats to lots of people. She lives in Manchester with her husband, two sons, a Corgi and a tankful of tropical fish. She is an active and enthusiastic member of two writing groups and a reading group.

Find Jo on Twitter and Facebook.

Letters from Elsewhere

I’m delighted to have a visit today from Maria Ferreira, mother of the narrator in the about-to-be-released Chasing the Case by Joan Livingston.

Although we have never met before, I’ve read so much about this feisty nonagenarian that I feel as if I know her already. She plays an important part in Chasing the Case, a novel that was an honour for me to edit. Here’s her letter to her daughter:

Dear Isabel,

You were always such a curious child. If you heard something happened, you wanted to know why. If somebody told you a story, you asked about the missing pieces. I am glad you turned your curiosity into a job, first as a journalist and now as a private investigator.

I laugh when I hear you say you inherited the nosy gene from me. You know how much I love reading and watching mysteries. Now I’m doing what I can to help you with your case. It keeps my 92-year-old mind sharp — that and coming to live with you. I am grateful.

This wasn’t a good year for you — first with Sam dying and then you losing your job running that paper. But now you’ve decided to investigate this case about that woman, Adela Collins, who went missing in this town 28 years ago. For the first time in a while, I see you are not so sad. You are that interested and interesting girl I raised.

No one told you to investigate this case. You did tell me it was the first big story you had when you were a rookie reporter. But you also knew the woman. She worked at her family’s store, the only one here in Conwell. This town is so tiny with only a thousand people. How does something like this happen? I am curious, too.

But bad things can happen even where you think you’re safe. Take your little cousin, Patsy. We still don’t know who stole and killed her even after all these years. The family was never the same. Perhaps some day you will solve that mystery.

I hope you are able to bring some peace to Adela’s family. I’m proud I’m your mother and partner in crime.

Love,

Your Mother

P.S. I like your boss, Jack, at the bar you work. I heard he’s available. You’re too young to be single again. He’s a pretty nice guy. What are you waiting for?

Chasing the CaseAbout Chasing the Case

How does a woman disappear in a town of a thousand people? That’s a 28-year-old mystery Isabel Long wants to solve.

Isabel has the time to investigate. She just lost her husband and her job as a managing editor of a newspaper. (Yes, it’s been a bad year.) And she’s got a Watson — her 92-year-old mother who lives with her.

To help her case, Isabel takes a job at the local watering hole, so she can get up close and personal with those connected to the mystery.

As a journalist, Isabel never lost a story she chased. Now, as an amateur P.I., she’s not about to lose this case either.

Chasing the Case can be pre-ordered now on Amazon.

About Joan Livingston

Joan LivingstonJoan Livingston grew up on the coast of New England, where her grandparents arrived from the Azores and Madeira islands. While raising six children, she began writing in earnest when she worked as a reporter covering the rural hilltowns of Western Massachusetts. It was the start of a 30-year career as an award-winning journalist, an experience she says has paid off with realistic characters and dialogue in the fiction she creates for adult and young readers. After over a decade living in Taos, New Mexico, Joan and her husband recently returned to Western Massachusetts, which is the setting for most of her adult fiction, including her first mystery, Chasing the Case. She blogs about whatever interests her at www.joanlivingston.net.

You can also find Joan on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads and on Litsy as JoanLivingston.

 

 

Letters from ElsewhereToday I want to welcome a friend to the blog. I know Sarah because she’s a Jewish mother, who acts in all ways as a Jewish mother should. I also know her because I’ve read the book she comes from. It’s a sweet little story that we read and critiqued in my writing group, and it’s written by Henry Tobias.

My Dearest Regan,

When Jonny first told me about you, even though your first meeting hadn’t gone too well I felt his excitement. After all, I’m a Jewish mother and you sounded so ideal. But, as he told me more, I began to have reservations.

Your name! What Jewish family names their daughter after a character in a Shakespeare tragedy? Rachel, Rebecca, I know, but Regan?

When I first met you, I was enchanted by your beauty. You weren’t a classic beauty, not cover-girl pretty, but I looked into your face and saw your charm, the loveliness that Jonny had seen. Your soul glowed from inside your being and warmed Jonny’s heart.

When I learned of your problems, I was worried. But who doesn’t have problems? By that time I had seen how happy you made Jonny.

Regan, welcome to the family. It may be cliché but you’re the daughter we never had and both Dad and I love you like our own.

May you and Jonny live long, happy lives, and let’s not forget the grandchildren I want.

                                                                        Love,

                                                                            Sarah.

If you want to know about those problems Sarah hinted at, you’ll have to read the story.

Regan - a Love StoryAbout Regan – a Love Story

A touching novella about overcoming adversity, young love, the quest for spiritual fulfilment and never-ending love. The narrator remembers the 1970s and his one and only love. Longing is tinged with humour and pathos. The story will make you laugh and cry. Taking place across two countries, the characters and situations are real. A story which could be played out again today across the globe.

Regan – a Love Story is available from Smashwords, Apple, Barnes & Noble and Kobo.

About Henry Tobias

HenryTobiasHenry Tobias was born in London, England, and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa where he trained as a pharmacist. As a young boy he was a member of Zionist Youth Movements in South Africa – one of the factors which influenced his decision to live in Israel. The other influence was The Holocaust – the murder of some SIX million Jews by the Nazis and their accomplices, which included citizens of many of the nations across Europe. He has a deep love of reading, especially history, particularly of World War II, The Holocaust including The Kindertransport and Jewish history throughout the ages. Some of his favourite authors are Richard Overy, Bernard Lewis and John Toland. Now retired he writes and edits. He lives in Israel with his wife of 44 years. He has three adult children and so far one beautiful granddaughter. He has so far published one anthology of eclectic short stories, ‘Just for Fun’ and is currently working on his second book, an historical novel of World War II.