Categories
Books Holidays

Teamwork in Dark Venice

No one can work entirely alone. We all have friends, colleagues, partners in crime. Even authors, whose work is notoriously solitary, get advice from other authors and eventually connect with agents, publishers and readers.

That’s the message of my story, Teamwork, in Dark Venice, the new and wonderful anthology of short stories from Darkstroke.

The two women in the story are thrown into a situation where their only chance of extricating themselves lies in pooling their abilities.

I have visited Venice three times. It’s a unique and fascinating city. If you haven’t been, I highly recommend going there. And in the meantime, read these dark and delightful stories. Click on the link.

DARK VENICE

Still here? Read some hints of what you can find in the book.

Anna Legat
Veni Vidi Perivi
Hundreds of years from now Venice has sunk to the bottom of the sea but it is still capable of seducing a random traveller with its hypnotic charm. And there is a price to pay for feasting on its beauty.
Anne-Marie Ormsby
Night Call
A young woman searches Venice after dark when her best friend disappears, but the investigation is haunted by disturbing calls from the missing girl’s mobile phone.
Cathie Dunn
The Girl in the Lagoon
In the early 20th century, when fascism is gathering support across northern Italy, the discovery of a young woman’s dead body in a lagoon reveals a sinister plot way beyond Francesco di Luca’s imagination.
Christopher Stanfield
A Rose By Another Name
Reunited with her best friend Cindy Nix, notorious serial killer Apple Rose settles in the beautiful city of Venice. But a specter from the past returns and it won’t be long before they have to reckon with a bloody choice made long ago.
Cory Maddalena
And Venice Slept
While on her honeymoon in Venice, a young newlywed navigates the city’s winding streets and canals. The last thing she expects is to be haunted by an insidious entity known only through folklore as the poverella.
Donna Cuttress
The Tarot Reader
A Tarot card reader reluctantly becomes involved in deception, smuggling and murder.
GJ Scobie
The Inference Machine
While in Venice celebrating their twentieth wedding anniversary, Greg leaves Sally to spend an afternoon by herself in the Leonardo Da Vinci Museum, where a mysterious invention reveals secrets about her marriage she had never dared to contemplate.
Jenna Morrison
Devil’s Town
For years, Venice Harbor has been rumored to be cursed, and it is now known as Devil’s Town. An epidemic hit the island and Doctor Harvey Hardy is chosen to treat the natives of Devil’s Town; however, strange things begin to happen as soon as he arrives, which ultimately places his life in jeopardy.
Linda Conn Amstutz
Enough
When you have experienced this kind of love, nothing, not even death, can change it.
Mary Kendall
Paradiso Perduto
Simone stumbles upon a couple violently fighting in a dark Venetian alley one night which triggers haunting and painful memories best left forgotten. Can she reconcile the woman she has become with a younger self who had been brimming with brazen moxie and big dreams?
Miriam Drori
Teamwork
Two women – a British pianist and her Venetian tour guide – are only just getting to know each other when calamity strikes. Neither can extricate them from the situation alone, but together there might be a chance.
Ross Alexander
State of Love and Trust
A restaurant owner with a troubled past plans drastic actions to prevent a troubled future.
Sue Barnard
La Serenissima
A young writer travels round Italy in search of inspiration for his work. On arriving in Venice, what he finds will change his life for ever.

DARK VENICE

Categories
Books Holidays Israel

Hangovers

This post is about a hangover. No, it’s not what you think. I haven’t taken to the bottle. Well, not in excess, anyway.

Living it up on safari in South Africa.

No, it’s about a hangover from childhood. And the town of Akko, called Acre in English.

I first discovered this ancient and modern town from a book I read as a teenager. I think the book was The Source by James A. Michener, a fascinating story of a fictional archeological dig and the ancient stories it uncovers. For some reason, at that young and impressionable age, I couldn’t accept that a town would have a name that I knew to be a unit of measurement. (It’s about 4047 square metres, which I didn’t know then and won’t remember now). Every time I came across that name in that book, I thought how weird it was.

After moving to Israel, I learned the Hebrew name for the town, and I’ve always used it, even when speaking in English. I wouldn’t say Yerushalayim in English, or Natzrat. I’d use the English names: Jerusalem and Nazareth. Yet Akko remains Akko because, in my mind, Acre is a strange name for a town.

Jerusalem – centre of the world.
(Last time I was Nazareth, there were no digital cameras.)

Recently, because this town appears in the novel I’m currently writing, the sequel to Style and the Solitary, I asked a group of authors which name they thought I should use. None of them had a problem with that name: Acre. It’s just me, then.

That led me to wonder about hangovers from childhood. I’m sure I must have a lot more. Do you? I’d love to hear about them.

Categories
Blogging Holidays Social anxiety

Thirteen Today

Not me, of course. I left that age long ago and am happy to say, “Good riddance.” It wasn’t a good time, although there were often good moments.

I need to remember that. We – I and my possible memoir partner – have come to the conclusion that the difficult parts of our childhoods are easier to remember. They stick in our memories, while the happy times pass with enjoyment and laughter. They’re not so clingy.

Is that how it is for everyone? Do you remember the sad times more than the happy ones? Or perhaps we all have a general impression of how things were, and need to dig deeper to remember episodes that don’t fit the mould.

So, who is thirteen today? Wrong question. It’s not who but what. On March 23, 2009, I posted this:

Speech is Silver; Silence is…

…not golden. Just a fake gold that soon dulls.  Like the necklace I bought in Cyprus. They told me it was gold. I knew they were lying, but I bought it anyway. I felt I had to buy something because they gave me tea….

I’ve been keeping silent for most of my life. It’s time to talk.

So tune in again, keep in touch and don’t suffer in silence.

I was afraid when I wrote that first blog post. On one hand, I knew it would help to feed my growing passion to raise awareness of social anxiety. On the other, I was scared of a backlash. Even in those days, social media was a double-edged sword. I was afraid anonymous people would tell me social anxiety didn’t exist – that it was a made-up term and the problems were not real, either. That’s why I had no name at first, except for the name of the blog: An’ de Walls Came Tumblin’ Down.

Fortunately, the feared ridicule hasn’t happened – not yet, not on social media, I’m glad to say.

Looking back at the person I was then, across the long bridge of thirteen years, I feel proud. Plenty has changed. I’ve become a published author, I’ve delivered talks, I’ve grown in confidence. I’ve also become a grandmother, met lots of people in various settings, and travelled widely.

I’m still walking that bridge and probably always will, but it feels less of a struggle, these days. I’ve accepted that social anxiety is here to stay and learned to make friends with it.

Crossing a river during a hike in Norway, 2001

How about you? How have you changed in the past thirteen years, and do you tend to remember the sad parts of your childhood more than the happy ones? Do let me know in the comments below.

Categories
Holidays

Switzerland – Your Other Questions Answered

There was only one more question, but it’s a good one.

Olga Swan asked: “Did you read the article by Maureen Lipman, who said she’s never going abroad again, saying airports (esp LHR) are hell on earth? How did you cope?”

I hadn’t read the article, but I found it here and read it. While I sympathise with Maureen’s trials and tribulations (probably somewhat exaggerated for effect), I didn’t experience them. First of all, she went for five days. We’d already decided that short hops are no longer worth doing, unless you want to spend half of the time taking PCR tests, checking for updated rules and filling in forms.

Maureen’s other main problem was with the crowds and hassles at Heathrow Airport. We’ll think twice about landing at Heathrow if we ever make it to the UK. Ben Gurion and Zurich airports were nothing like that. Zurich airport seemed almost normal. They checked our vaccination certificates and entrance forms quickly and efficiently and we were soon out of there. Before the return flight, they checked our required PCR results, again with no trouble. At Ben Gurion, everything seemed normal going out. When we returned, we were pleased not to get stuck behind family members greeting each other and blocking the exit. (Anyone not flying is no longer allowed inside.) Instead, we had to go for our tests, but they were done very quickly and we soon found ourselves outside the building.

The (negative) results of the PCR tests arrived in plenty of time for me to go to folk dancing the following evening.

Travel, these days, isn’t what it was, but most of us don’t have the awful experiences that make it to the news.

Categories
Holidays

Switzerland – Your Unvoiced Questions Answered

On 20th August, after completing all the usual preparations and some extra ones, David and I were delighted to be sitting in a plane about to take off.

About four hours later, we landed at Zurich Airport, ready to spend two glorious weeks doing what we love to do – hike, admire views, travel in boats.

You: Why did you go?

We needed a rest, a break from routine.

You: Why did you go abroad?

We live in a small, crowded and tense country. There’s plenty that we love about our country and what it has accomplished. But sometimes it’s nice to get away and experience something different.

You: Why did you choose Switzerland?

We’ve been there many times. We know what to expect. It’s perfect for hiking, with lots of footpaths and excellent public transport. The views are amazing. Our first choice would have been the UK, where we have family and friends and are at home with the language. But current restrictions there are too complicated and limiting.

Let me ask you a question. Why are you asking so many questions?

You: We’re still in a pandemic. Don’t you think you should stay at home?

We stayed at home for nineteen months, most of it literally at home. When we tried to visit places, we found we had to book, and the places we tried were always full for the times we wanted. The pandemic, we’ve realised, isn’t going away soon, so it’s time to get out and enjoy ourselves, taking whatever precautions we can.

You: What did you notice in Switzerland regarding the pandemic?

In general, people are good about wearing masks. The ones who aren’t, in our limited experience, tend to be young men, who sit in a train carriage for the whole journey with their can of drink, presumably so that, if challenged, they can claim to be drinking and hence exempt from wearing a mask.

Even in Switzerland (but less so than in Israel) we saw masks discarded on the streets and on footpaths – even on this path high up in the mountains.

Any more questions?

Categories
Holidays Israel

Vaxing Lyrical

Getting the Covid19 vaccination, part 1

Yesterday, I got the first of two doses of the Covid-19 vaccination. The process was easy and well organised, and I’m feeling fine, thank you.

No country is perfect, Israel included, but it’s in times like these that I feel most proud of my little country. I think this article does a good job of explaining why Israel has succeeded in vaccinating a much higher proportion of its population than any other country. Basically, it’s due to our health service and the way it’s run, with clinics all over the country, and our ability to mobilise in times of emergency.

When makes me annoyed? When I read in the foreign press that Israel is going ahead with vaccinating while Palestinians have to wait. The fact is that Israeli Arabs have the same rights to health care (including vaccinations) as everyone else in Israel. Those who live in the Palestinian Authority have their own systems in place, independent of Israel. Israel is not responsible for their vaccination programme, although it will probably help them.

My appointment for the second injection is in three weeks. I would love for it to be followed by a trip to the UK, my home away from home. Sadly, I don’t see that happening.

Stay safe and healthy, everyone, wherever you are.

Categories
Books Holidays Israel short stories

2020 in Review

2020 – the year when nothing happened. Hang on… is that true? Something must have happened. Let’s see.

Best Holiday (Vacation)

We only had one proper holiday, but it was a wonderful, action-packed tour of neighbouring Egypt in January. I’m so glad we made the last-minute decision to join the tour.

Best Book Read

I read several wonderful books, this year. This was the best. A combination of secrets, lies, and great plotting and writing was what made this novel stand out.

Best Book Written

No contest there. I wrote only one book and wouldn’t have completed that without NaNoWriMo and our wonderful municipal liaisons. (I’m still editing it and hope to have it finished soon.)

Best Book Published

I’m proud to have my short story, Gruesome in Golders Green, in this fabulous collection of short stories, all inspired by the city I grew up in.

Best Photo of Me

Taken by my son for Independence Day.

Best Addition to the Family

Our granddaughter! She’s almost six months old, now.

Yes, some bad things happened, too. The main one was losing a very good friend.

Here’s to a better 2021 for all.

Categories
Books Holidays Israel

Number Seven

I’m author number seven out of the eighteen who have written stories for Dark London, the new anthology to be published by Darkstroke.

Dark London Authors

I’ve long thought of my lucky number as twenty-five. Why?

  • I was born on 25th August.
  • The house I grew up in was at number 75 (25 x 3).
  • I came to live in Israel on 25th October.
  • When I was 25, I lived at number 25.

However, seven is a rather special number in Judaism because:

  • The menorah (the 7-branched candelabrum) has been a symbol for Judaism for about 3000 years.
  • The festival of Sukkoth, which involves eating (and sometimes sleeping) in booths, as a reminder of the years when the Israelites wandered through the desert, lasts for 7 days.
  • Simchat Torah, the Rejoicing of the Torah, includes parading around the synagogue 7 times.
  • The wedding ceremony includes 7 blessings.
  • The festival of Shavuot, commemorating the receiving of the Torah, is celebrated 7 weeks after Passover, which commemorates the exodus from Egypt.
  • The shivah, the period of mourning, lasts for 7 days.

 

Ruth&David'sSukka
Inside a Sukkah (booth)

I couldn’t be author #25 because there aren’t 25 authors in the anthology, but I’m happy to be #7, and I imagine one of the characters in my short story is, too.

Publication will be this summer. I’m excited!

Categories
Holidays memories The writing process

Something You Didn’t Know

I hadn’t thought of that momentous day for ages, but when Lorraine Mace included this in her interview of me: “Tell me something about yourself your readers might not know”, I was reminded of something good that happened to me when I was twelve.

I won a bicycle!

There was a competition in my girls’ magazine. I had to answer questions on the rules of riding on roads. I even asked my mother whether she thought I should send in my answers and she said yes, never expecting me to win, but I did.

I had asked for a bike before. My parents hadn’t agreed. They said it was too dangerous. Yet my brother had always ridden a bike. I remembered the story of how my dad had taught him, running with him. I never saw my dad run and he didn’t teach me. (I learned to ride on the bike of a friend’s little brother. It was so low to the ground that I wasn’t afraid of falling off.)

“That was different,” they said in answer to my pleas. “We lived in the country, then.”

It was always different for him. The country, the boarding school, being a boy.

But I won a bicycle and so my parents couldn’t stop me from getting one. I remember we ordered a bike suitable for my height, but the one that arrived was adult-sized and so it lasted for years.

Bicycles
Cycling in Devon, UK

I don’t have a bike in hilly Jerusalem, but I’ve enjoyed some good times riding, over the years.

Categories
Holidays

Land of Gods, Pharaohs and Baba Ghanoush

Last week, we joined a trip to our neighbouring country.

Egypt 2020
Our happy guide

This was our second visit to Egypt. Thirty-five years ago, David and I toured the country on a limited budget and completely alone. This time, we travelled in style and with a group. Both trips were amazing, although they couldn’t have been more different; I’m still writing an article about the differences.

Karnak
One of the few photos from 1984. In Karnak.

Back at home, I caught up with a series of emails from people I was at school with. Some of them are retired and talk about having time on their hands. I’ve never been busier. Here are a few of the items on my to-do list:

  • Finish Egypt article.
  • Finish editing short story for darkstroke anthology.
  • Finish editing new version of Neither Here Nor There.
  • Choose new title for new version of Neither Here Nor There. (Hard)
  • Start submitting new version of Neither Here Nor There.
  • Work on new novel – crime genre.
  • Lots more.

Valley of the Kings, Egypt
Valley of the Kings

If you want to see any more of our photos, some of them are available on Facebook for all to see at:

The others will appear when we have time.