Letters from Elsewhere

Yes, Letters from Elsewhere is back for another series in which characters pop out from fiction to meet you. In this first letter of the new series, you can meet Sheba who is writing to Heather. Sheba comes to you straight from the pages of The Cocktail Bar, a brand new novel from Crooked Cat author, Isabella May. Although Sheba and Heather are not the stars of the book, their story plays a pivotal role.

Welcome to the blog, Sheba. I gather you have a few grievances against your younger sister.

Dear Heather,
I never wanted things to get so petty, so childish; so ridiculous, but you’ve always been the younger sister who got it all. In truth, it wasn’t really The Sting Thing that started it; you’ve always been the fairest of them all. If our parents’ judgement was the magic mirror, then you’d be Snow White, me the outright wicked Step Mother. Besides, you getting to be Sting’s groupie that day; getting to trail after the lilt of his voice as it reverberated from the archways of the Tor… well, I as good as predicted it all when I cut your tarot cards.

“You’ll be entranced by a tall blond male,” I’d said, “a tall blond male on a mound.”

A vision of my favourite musician in the world had flashed inexplicably into my head. Lo and behold, I must have transmitted that image to yours. Double lo and behold… the very next day there he was shooting his video for ‘If I Ever Lose My Faith in You’ upon Glastonbury’s iconic green hill: The Ancient Isle of Avalon.

Silly, isn’t it?

Me a married woman, still unable to forgive my younger sibling for not sharing the breaking local news, for not inviting her sister along that day. But nobody’s allegiance to a Sting song was greater than mine.

I could have taken a break from the caravan park. It was hardly peak season and I was my own boss – still am (despite what Tony might think), that place wouldn’t get a single booking if it wasn’t for me.

But I digress.

The stark fact of the matter is this: you didn’t think of a soul but yourself, you seized at your good fortune, my nephew, little River, hanging on your purple coattails. Do you even know how lucky you are to have him in your life? Not all of us are blessed with the gift that is a child, Heather.

No, you take, take, take!

What have you given that son of yours in return? Nothing but insecurity and confusion! Still you haven’t pieced together the puzzle that is his father; our own mother and father thinking butter wouldn’t melt in your mouth that summer of ’84. But I knew better. I knew you were at the festival… jumping into every Tom, Dick and Harry’s tents for a little Free Love.

That’s why I gave River a home here in my very best caravan (with his Alice), both of them fleeing the media’s trail. Yes, in his hour of need, I class myself as more of a mother to him than you have ever been. River will have a home here for as long as he needs it. But as for these pointless Chinese whisper style games that wend their way into my caravan park via my nephew’s hints that we should kiss, make up and live happily ever after: quit now while you are ahead, Heather dear.

This town isn’t big enough for the both of us. And only one of us has the helpful skill of black magic tucked up her sleeve.

Regards,
Sheba

Oh dear, this sounds like quite a rift in your family! Well, thanks for coming, Sheba. I won’t keep you any longer from The Cocktail Bar.

The Cocktail BarAbout The Cocktail Bar

Rock star, River Jackson, is back in his hometown of Glastonbury to open a cocktail bar… and the locals aren’t impressed.

Seductive Georgina is proving too hot to handle; band mate, Angelic Alice, is messing with his heart and his head; his mum is a hippie-dippy liability; his school friends have resorted to violence – oh, and his band manager, Lennie, AND the media are on his trail.

But River is armed with a magical Mexican elixir which will change the lives of the Three Chosen Ones. Once the Mexican wave of joy takes a hold of the town, he’s glad he didn’t lose his proverbial bottle.

Pity he hasn’t taken better care of the real one…

The Cocktail Bar is available here from Amazon.

BIO

Isabella MayIsabella May lives in (mostly) sunny Andalucia, Spain with her husband, daughter and son, creatively inspired by the sea and the mountains. When she isn’t having her cake and eating it, sampling a new cocktail on the beach, or ferrying her children to and from after school activities, she can usually be found writing.

As a co-founder and a former contributing writer for the popular online women’s magazine, The Glass House Girls she has also been lucky enough to subject the digital world to her other favourite pastimes, travel, the Law of Attraction, and Prince (The Purple One).

She has recently become a Book Fairy, and is having lots of fun with her imaginative ‘drops’!

The Cocktail Bar is her second novel with Crooked Cat Books, following on from the hit sensation, Oh! What a Pavlova, which appeared on this blog in September an was published in 2017. Her third novel, Costa del Churros, will be published in September 2018.

You can follow Isabella May on her website and social media here:

www.isabellamayauthor.com

Twitter – @IsabellaMayBks

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/IsabellaMayAuthor/

Instagram – @isabella_may_author

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I’m delighted to welcome a fairly new member of the Crooked Cat community of authors, Isabella May. Her brilliantly-titled novel is out next week. Over to you, Isabella.

Why I Wrote ‘Oh! What a Pavlova’

When my fellow Crooked Cat author, Miriam Drori, invited me to feature a guest post on her blog, I knew it could only be about one aspect of my multi-faceted, up-coming debut novel, ‘Oh! What a Pavlova’: Domestic Violence.

All of which ties in nicely – for want of a better word – with the subject of Miriam’s first non-fiction book with Crooked Cat (published last month): Social Anxiety.

[Miriam: Social Anxiety Revealed, for anyone who doesn’t know.]

But first a little backstory, if I may, courtesy of my book blurb:

Pavlova Book CoverKate Clothier is leading a double life: a successful jet-setting businesswoman to the outside world, but behind closed doors, life with Daniel and his volcanic temper is anything but rosy.

Some days – heck, make that EVERY day – cake is her only salvation.

Slowly but surely, the cities she visits – and the men she meets – help her to realise there IS a better future.

And the ley lines of Glastonbury are certainly doing their best to impart their mystical wisdom…

But will she escape before it’s too late?

Contrary to the way domestic violence is often portrayed…
Many victims (men, as well as women) are living a double life. And I don’t just mean a double life in terms of masking what is going on behind closed doors and acting ‘normally’ in front of family and friends, work colleagues and acquaintances; I mean a full-on, in your face Double Life that would suggest their entire life is Just Perfect in every single way. I know because I have been there. That’s why it was so easy, and so important, to write Kate Clothier’s story, to hopefully help others recognise their mirror image, to hopefully inspire them to wake up, smell the coffee and get the heck out.

We need only look at high profile cases of DV to see this.
And here I mention no names, but there have been numerous accounts of the relationships of the rich and famous taking on a very different nature once the front door is slammed shut and the luxury velvet curtains drawn tight. From actors to pop icons, chefs to politicians, no stone is left unturned when it comes to physical and mental abuse. No amount of money or privileged upbringing can act as a harbour. 

A violent partner isn’t violent all of the time.
One of the biggest myths when it comes to DV is that an abusive other half is constantly on the attack, be it with belittling words or fists. The reality is nothing could be further from the truth (although of course, I acknowledge in some cases, the violence can be incessant). Understandably, this makes it harder for somebody like Kate to flee. The ego will come up with excuses, many ridiculously ‘plausible’. In Kate’s case, antagonist Daniel might lob a plate of food at her across the kitchen… just a couple of times a year because he expected meat and two veg instead of salad, or pinch her calf beneath the shield of the table cloth whilst tucking into Sunday dinner with her parents in quiet response to her announcement she is off on another business trip… but only because he will ‘miss her so much’ and only once in a blue moon. The perpetrator might take to ‘gas-lighting’, enervating the diminishing self-esteem of their prey slowly but surely. Subtle manipulation is another tactic, all too oft employed like a wolf in sheep’s clothing; in particular the perpetrator might threaten to take their own life if the victim as much as hints that they will leave. Indeed the abusive mind is a labyrinth, diverting to avoid dead ends, twisting and turning until its goal of ultimate control has been achieved.

Domestic violence has no ETA.
Unlike the precious cargoes of books Kate sells to her overseas clients for her living, Daniel’s unpredictability can be viewed as equally damaging as any constant lashing out. Kate is perpetually stepping on egg shells; she’s flighty and nervous, full of procrastination and self-doubt. Her perpetrator is King of keeping her right where he wants her: unsure and terrified, less likely to leave him, more likely to stay.

Ultimately though, we need to get to the root cause of victimisation.
Here’s where I’m more than aware that ‘Pavlova’ could cause a little Marmite Divide; for this is a novel which dares not only to straddle genres, but to inject a little humour into the proceedings. And take it from me: comedy is one essential coping mechanism in any abusive relationship. No, not in the heart of any action, but as a general means of self-preservation, as a diversion from the hell that is daily life.

However, being self-aware of what is going on is one thing, understanding the spiritual journey we took to get there is quite another. Yet, it’s the only way to bring permanent change into our lives. There’s an intricate chemical reaction going on between the abused and the abuser. Until we address that with empathy, for both sides, we’ll keep on repeating the pattern – in all areas of life. This is my take on the subject anyway. It won’t sit well with everybody, but it is high time we delved deeper, unwrapped the layers of the onion to see what is at the heart of the things projecting out before us. If my words help just one person to do that, they’ll have been worth the blood, sweat and tears.

And that’s as much as I’m going to say about that. To find out more, you’ll just have to order the book!

Isabella May lives in (mostly) sunny Andalucia, Spain with her husband, daughter and son, creatively inspired by the sea and the mountains. When she isn’t having her cake and eating it, sampling a new cocktail on the beach, or ferrying her children to and from after school activities, she can usually be found writing.

As a Co-founder and a former contributing writer for the popular online women’s magazine, The Glass House Girls – http://www.theglasshousegirls.com – she has also been lucky enough to subject the digital world to her other favourite pastimes, travel, the Law of Attraction, and Prince (The Purple One).

She has recently become a Book Fairy, and is having lots of fun with her imaginative ‘drops’!

Oh! What a Pavlova is her debut novel… and her second novel has already been submitted to her publishers: watch this space…

Thank you, Isabella, for that thought-provoking introduction to your novel.

You can follow Isabella May on her website and social media here:

www.isabellamayauthor.com

Twitter – @IsabellaMayBks

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/IsabellaMayAuthor/

Instagram – @isabella_may_author