Jan 2015


As part of Indie Authors Appreciation Week, I’m reposting this story because of its connection to Jerusalem.

They stood, she and he, embracing in the centre of a perfect garden. Flowers all around. Pinks, reds, yellows, purples, whites. Water cascading down the rocks into the pool. Maturing plums and kumquats nested by sun-frolicked green leaves. Sweet, juicy fruit waiting to be gathered and consumed.

Over there, on the same level, stood a large bald prism. One triangular end thrust out through needle-sharp pine leaves. Acute angles pointed and menaced. Inside the prism, as clear as if its walls had been transparent and its position much closer, people wandered in a daze, struggling to grasp the horrifying enormity exhaled by tragic reminders.

“It looks quite near,” she said. “Could we walk there, down into the valley and up the other side?”

“Do you want to?” he replied in question.

“How long would it take?”

“Oh, about seventy years, going backwards.”

She glanced at him with a frowning half-smile. “We’d die before we got there.”

“Just as well,” he said, without smiling.

.

Explanation: The beautiful view from our beautiful garden includes the prism-shaped building that is part of Yad Vashem, Jerusalem’s Holocaust museum.

***

My spot in Indie Authors Appreciation Week is at 5pm GMT today (Sunday). Do join me there if you can.

Indie Authors Appreciation Week PosterI will also be running a competition, which you can find on the event page during my spot and also on my Facebook author page. The prize is a signed copy of Neither Here Nor There, which I will send anywhere in the world.

TomorrowPosterThe wonderful Carmilla Voiez has done an amazing thing. She’s set up a whole week for you to get to know 60 authors and their books. Each author has an hour’s spot, during which they will tell you about themselves and their books, post excerpts, run competitions, answer questions and much more.

On top of that, Carmilla has arranged sponsors for the event, enabling her to offer bigger prizes.

I would never have been able to organise such an event, but I’m delighted to be able to take part. The event starts tomorrow (Friday). My spot is on Sunday at 5:00pm GMT and I’d love you to be there. You can sign up for the whole event at https://www.facebook.com/events/393175627502030/permalink/409764545843138/.

Indie Authors Appreciation Week Poster

I want to tell you about a few of the people we met in India, starting with Sarat Acharya of Discover Tours, who made our stay in India so pleasant. He arranged our three-week tour of Orissa and Chhattisgahr perfectly. We travelled in comfortable cars with excellent drivers and stayed in some special places, including three palaces. Sarat accompanied us for the whole trip, sharing with us his extensive knowledge. He also brought along two other excellent guides for different parts of the trip.

Sarat

On top of that, he knew how to handle the noisy members of the group. He did his best to accomodate all requests, but was able to stand up to those whose requests were impossible to meet.

Sarat told stories. No, he didn’t just tell the stories. He acted them out, using volunteers. The story for which I volunteered involved Sarat pulling my hair hard. It hurt! But I’ve got over it now. All in all, Sarat provided a wonderful tour and gave me a taste for more. (But I might not volunteer again so readily!)

In the many tribal villages we visited, we were introduced to the residents, who seemed content and happy.

Village peopleSome of them danced for us.

DancersInChhattisgarhAnd some of us joined in.

Then there were all the people who wanted to take our photos together with them.

05GroupPhotoAnd the maharajas and maharanis, whose palaces we stayed in.

IMG_1119Last but not least, the friendly drivers, who also cooked several delicious meals for us.

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Surprise! This isn’t about India. I forgot I’d promised to post this little rhyme I wrote for Crooked Cat’s Christmas extravaganza (see below).

Three Years a Year

I pity the people with only one year,
Who end it all merry, never shedding a tear.
They have to say so many things in one go,
To one year goodbye, to another hello.

They try to reflect on the year that has passed,
While also looking forward to the one that is fast
Approaching… nearly… almost… it’s here!
Resolutions transferred from yesteryear.

In Israel, you see, we celebrate three
And each, in its character, is solitary.
Different, special and unique,
They make us happy, thankful and… meek?

Rosh Hashana is one of those.
With all its rules, it keeps us on our toes,
Requesting forgiveness for our sins.
That’s “our” for humanity; not just kins.

Then we join with the world and celebrate, too,
Although some disagree and think it’s taboo.
Sylvester, it’s called, I used to know why.
It matters not when I’m feeling high.

What, you may ask, is number three?
It’s the one that marks the year of the tree.
Goes under the name of Tu B’Shvat.
We plant more trees, sing songs. That’s that?

Well no, we give presents of nuts and fruit,
And we eat same with much relish to boot.
So whatever New Year is appropriate for you,
I hope it is happy and fulfilling, too!

To see all the other Crooked Cat stories, poems, giveaways and more during the six-week event, join our Facebook group.

Neither Here Nor There, my romance with a difference, is available from Amazon, Smashwords and The Book Depository.

I have a guest post on the lovely and unique blog of Seumas Gallacher. It may be humorous, but it also poses a serious question: do I need a brand? Any answers?

My next post will, I think, be about the good things of India. Because I prefer to remember them, and I also need to think about these for a forthcoming speech (see below). The less good things will appear in a later post.

That speech. Oh dear. When I agreed to do it, I expected to have more time to prepare. I expected to write it at least a week ahead, giving me plenty of time to practise it. It’s now Friday and it’s due to be given on Tuesday evening, and I haven’t started writing it. I’m getting worried. If I leave it any later, the only thing that can save me is if the snow forecast for Wednesday comes a bit earlier. Any chance of that, powers that be?

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