Three Things – “Grace”

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Pen Name- Grace~ Elizabeth GL McGarva

I’m pleased to host “Grace” (her pen name), a writer  whose words tell of her insight and sensitivity. I’ll let her tell you about herself.

 

Who Am I~

~ Retired public school teacher, early learning planner, volunteer, mother, blogger @ the wordpress site, aliceandmolly.com, and fledgling writer.

 

Blissful Moments~

Dark coffee, family, friends, music and books.

Beautiful Words~

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” 

–          Soren Kierkegaard

This wise quote sums up my writing pitch.  I mine back through life experiences to discover the truths of a family~ enduring love, loss, betrayals, the necessary compassion and ultimately, forgiveness – the living forward part.

 Three Things I Don’t Write~

 • As Anneli before, I don’t write of vampires although I once was hooked on a popular blood lust series.  Supernatural powers frighten me; pointy teeth are distracting and coffins are disconcerting.  I have enough anxieties without adding vampires to the list of fears.

Sci-fi~ I realize that science fiction is popular, entertaining, at times political; I just don’t “get” over-sized creatures like Godzilla so best I stay away from that genre!

Romance~ I believe in “happily ever after,” yet couldn’t write that genre in a convincing style!

Three Things I Do Write*~

 * Confession~ I am a fledgling writer, studying, and networking with other bloggers and writers, honing my words.  I have submitted three short stories, two stories to magazines (one rejected) and one, published on writersite.org (Thank you, Luanne!)  I am Freshly Pressed on wordpress.com (Thank you, wordpress!).

 Short Stories~ Several of these difficult to write shorts are the story seeds for the novel I am presently attempting to write.

Beautiful words~ I am captured by a poignant mix of lyrical phrase and I attempt to write short stories with a heartfelt and compassionate voice, to show my flawed characters as human, to share their beautiful and messy truths with the reader.

•  Children’s Stories~ I have read hundreds of children’s stories to hundreds of children! I am listening to my mother’s words, “Write about a Manx. Can’t you write about cats, Grace?” she says. I agree, Mom. Cats are a popular choice of character for younger readers; I’d prefer to write of sprites and hummingbirds!  I’m playing with a few ideas for a convincing plot, conflict, and characters that would appeal to the Junior Reader!

     Thank you, Anneli for allowing me to guest post on your blog and for your kind support and encouragement.  That’s the finest part of the writing journey that I am on – the paths that lead me to authors and writers willing to inspire and mentor another.

The Whispering Grasses

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Julia couldn’t sleep. She stared at the ceiling in the darkness, mulling things over. She was tired of it all. Tired of trying to make the marriage work. She had seriously considered running to Michael. She and Rosalie had left the house early before anyone woke up. Rosalie asked a lot of questions at first, wondering where they were going.

“Just for a walk. Just you and me,” Julia had said. They had a long quiet walk through the fields of prairie grass that started a block from their house and went on forever. Rosalie accompanied her wordlessly. Perhaps she accepted that her mother needed the quiet time. She seemed to enjoy having her mother all to herself, to judge by the loving grip of her little hand. In time the quiet whispering of the long grasses soothed Julia and she was able to go home again.

Except for meeting with Michael after he and Karl had fought in the street, Julia had no real contact with him for eight years. They’d had chance meetings in town when he appeared out of nowhere, but Julia doubted that there was much chance involved on Michael’s part.

Those few times they exchanged whispered greetings, usually in the Co-op when she was shopping for groceries.

“How’s my little girl?”

“She’s fine. Please go away now before someone sees.”

“I miss you.”

“I have to go now. Take care of yourself.” She dared not say more, lest she fan flames that would end up burning them both. That was the extent of their relationship, and after all these years, Karl was still crazy with hurt and jealousy. It was no use. She was too tired to go on.

She got out of bed and went to the medicine cabinet. She took what was left in the bottle of sleeping pills and lay back down in her bed.

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Find Julia’s Violinist on amazon.com and on smashwords.com

Turning Points – Nicky Wells

My guest today is an author you may recognize from a previous visit.

Nicky Wells is your ultimate rock chick author. Signed to US Publisher, Sapphire Star Publishing, she writes Romance That Rocks Your World, featuring the rock star and the girl next door… because there’s no better romantic hero than a golden-voiced bad boy with a secret soft heart and a magical stage presence!

Nicky’s books offer glitzy, glamorous romance with rock stars—imagine Bridget Jones ROCKS Notting Hill! If you’ve ever had a crush on any kind of celebrity, you’ll connect with Nicky’s heroes and their leading ladies.

Nicky loves listening to rock music, dancing, and eating lobsters. When she’s not writing, she’s a wife, mother, occasional knitter, and regular contributor at Lincoln’s Siren 107.3 FM. Rock on!

 

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And a special news flash: ‘Sophie has now been nominated as Best Heroine in the eFestival of Books Awards 2014. Here is a “turning point” excerpt from one of the Sophie books, “Sophie’s Turn.”

Excerpt:

I found myself dialing her number before I could give it any further thought. I was desperate. This was an emergency.

She answered after the fourth ring, sounding sleepy and anxious.

“Rach,” I burst out. “I’m sorry to wake you. I’m desperate. Girlie emergency. Can I talk to you?”

All of a sudden, I cried again. All the pent-up anxiety and frustration came out without warning, and the relief at having caught Rachel on the other end of a phone line didn’t help matters either.

“Sophie,” she mumbled, suppressing what sounded like a monster yawn. “What time is it?”

“About one, your time. It’s two here. I’m in Paris. In a hotel. On my own, for the moment.”

“Right,” came her sleepy response. “What’s up?”

“I’m engaged to be married,” I announced. I needed to wake her up, and fast.

“I know that,” she muttered, now sounding slightly cross. “Except I thought you were having second thoughts?”

“I’m engaged to be married,” I clarified with emphasis, “to Dan.” I paused. “To Dan, as well as to Tim.”

There was a clatter and a shriek at the other end, and then some frantic clawing noises and a suppressed swear word. If my interpretation was right, she had just dropped the phone and knocked over a glass that had sat innocently on her bedside table.

“You. Are. Kidding.” She was finally back on the line and, as I had intended, now fully awake. “Please tell me you are kidding.”

“I kid not.”

I gave her an edited version of events and I could sense her excitement through the wire.

She kept a long silence after I finished. Eventually, she asked the million dollar question: “Now what?”

“That’s why I’m calling,” I informed her. “I don’t know. But I’ve just realized something.” I paused dramatically. “And I need your advice.”

“Go on,” she coaxed.

“You’re going to laugh at me. After all this time, you are going to laugh at me,” I warned her.

“What is it?” she demanded.

“I’ve just realized that I don’t love Tim. Never have. At least, I don’t think I ever have. I don’t really know. I think I was in love with the idea of him, the idea of our relationship, the idea of our life together. Does that make any sense?”

Rachel did me the favor of remaining completely serious.

“Absolutely. That makes a lot of sense.” There was not a hint of “I told you so” there, and I welled up again in gratefulness for having such a wonderful friend.

“But,” I continued, “I don’t know if I love Dan, either. I mean, how could I ‘know’, I mean?” I didn’t talk much sense, so I tried to put more coherence into my thoughts.

“After all, I have lusted after this man since I was nineteen, never mind he’s ten years my senior. Because that’s what teenagers do. He was like a dream. And when I first met him, it was like a dream come true. Having him woo me, romance me, and make love to me…that, too, was like a dream come true.”

I halted. “You still there?”

“Sure am,” Rachel confirmed. “Just listening.”

I took a deep breath. “I think Dan obviously gives me something that Tim isn’t giving me. And whatever that is—I haven’t quite worked it all out yet—but whatever it is, it’s obviously important to me. But does that mean I love him? How do I know?

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Nicky’s booksSophie’s Turn | Sophie’s Run | Sophie’s Encore | Spirits of Christmas

Join Nicky:Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Romantic Novelists’ Association |Sapphire Star Publishing | Amazon | GoodreadsPinterest

Did you know? There’s a single out now by Nicky’s fictional rock band Tuscq come to life! “Love Me Better” is available for download from AmazoniTunes and many other places. 

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Ever Talked to a Goat?

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I’ve chosen a turning point in my novel Orion’s Gift. This book actually has many turning points, but that’s what will keep you turning pages. One of my favourite parts of the book is when Shiree, Kevin’s bullying ex-wife, tries to get back to Loreto (and the airport) to make her getaway after hurting Kevin in an effort to make him share his inheritance. Be warned, she is a crude woman:

Excerpt:

I was shaking so much I could barely manage to keep the car on the road. I only hoped that turning left at the highway was taking me south, back to Loreto.

“Dumbass Kevin! Such a stupid jerk. What did he have to go and fall off the goddamn cliff for? I mean all he had to do was say ‘Okay, I’ll share the money.’ Greedy bastard.”

I hoped he wasn’t dead. He was a nice enough guy, and I didn’t really want the kids to be without a father—for some reason they still cared about him. But still, why should I care about him anymore? He’d obviously moved on. That skinny stray he was with … God! You’d think he could pick a girl who wasn’t so undernourished. Scrawny bitch. What rock did he turn over to find her? But what did I care anyway? The bimbo was working on him at the bottom of the cliff, so maybe he wasn’t dead.

“Aw, who the hell cares? If he’s dead, I should get all the money. For sure I’ll check it out.”

I had to tighten my grip on the steering wheel. The roads down here were so goddamn twisted. You hardly got around a corner going one way and it started to turn the other way. Couldn’t they bloody well make up their minds when they were building the damn road?

“Oh, shit!” I slammed on the brakes. “What the hell are those? Goats? Goats, crossing the goddamn highway? Jesus, what a place.” They took their sweet time prancing across the road. A few of them decided it was easier to walk along the highway in my lane rather than keep crossing. I leaned on the horn and gave them a nudge with the car bumper. They scrambled down into the ditch.

“About bloody time,” I yelled out the window.

“Krikey! I’m losin’ it. Talking to a goat.” I groped for my purse and dug around in it for my ticket. I nearly went off the stupid winding road trying to read the departure time.

“Aw, crap! Might as well slow down. I’ve missed today’s flight out of here. I’ll have to stay at a hotel in Loreto and catch tomorrow’s flight home.”

*****

Next morning I parked the car and dropped off the keys at the counter. The rental people were nowhere in sight. Just as well. They wouldn’t see the damaged front end till I was gone.

Over at the airlines counter, I dug out my ticket and pushed my way to the front of the line to check in.

“My ticket’s an open return. I want to be on today’s flight.” I showed her my passport. “See? All in order.”

Momento, Señora,” the airline employee said. She picked up the phone and talked in Spanish so fast I doubted the person on the other end of the line could understand her. “Please come this way,” she said. She held up her hand to the next customer in line, telling them to wait. I smirked at them over my shoulder.

She took me to a side room. “Sit down please,” she said. “One moment.” Then she left, and I thought I heard the lock click on the door. I checked it and sure enough it was locked.

“What the hell?” I banged on the door. “You didn’t have to lock it,” I yelled.

It took a little longer than I expected, but at last the door opened. A police escort onto the plane? But a niggling thought wormed its way into my brain. Maybe I wasn’t going to get out of here so easily.

“I have a ticket,” I said. The two uniformed men ignored me. Maybe they didn’t speak English. I waved my ticket in front of their faces. “Ticket? See? I have ticket.”

“Señora. You must come with us. Please turn.” Next thing I knew I had cuffs on.

The nerve of them treating me like that. My throat felt dry and I swallowed hard.

“Hey! What the hell do you think you’re doing? I’m a guest here. I have a ticket to go home.” One was already propelling me out the door. The other grabbed my purse from beside the chair. Passengers standing in line turned to gawk at me. I stuck my nose in the air and looked away as I marched past.

Outside the air-conditioned terminal, the midday heat walloped me extra hard. I felt perspiration beading on my forehead. Things were not going according to plan. It couldn’t be about Kevin. Nobody could say I did anything to him. The stupid oaf just fell off the cliff.

The guy who had me by the arm opened the back door of the police car.

I jerked my arm away. “What do you think you’re doing?” I yelled. “I’m not getting in there.” He grabbed my arm again and pulled but I braced myself. Next thing I knew, I had a pain in my ribs and I went flying headlong into the back seat. “Police brutality!” I screeched. Surely there’s someone around who can do something.

The goons drove off. Yelling hadn’t worked, so I changed my tactic and tried to talk nice to them, but they just shook their heads and laughed as they talked to each other.

My body was drenched in sweat and my stomach burned.

Orion's Gift

For a few more days, this novel is on for 99 cents at

amazon.com (for Kindle)

and at smashwords.com (for other e-reader types) with the coupon code UQ49E. Apply the coupon code after you click to buy the e-book to get the 99 cent price.

Might Shiree end up in a place like this? The Santa Rosalía Jail?

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While her ex-husband and his new skinny stray enjoy the freedom of dry camping in Baja in places like this:

Baja Desert[1] Baja Desert[3] Baja Desert[4]

You’ll have to read Orion’s Gift to find out.

Children’s Adventure in Mauritius

I’d like to sit on this beach with my writing pad and jot down notes for my new novel. My guest, Pooben Narayanen, is lucky enough to do this if he wants to, as he lives in this paradise that is Mauritius.???????????????????????????????

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Here is Pooben to answer some interview questions I asked him.

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1. How do you feel about being a writer? 

I enjoy it, but it is tough. You have ideas in your head and then you have to motivate yourself to put them down on paper or type them up on your computer. That is the toughest part.

2. What kinds of things do you like to write about?

Oh wow! There are several things, but here are my favorites starting with fiction: writing for children, also horror or the paranormal, and everyday life. Non-fiction: if I could I’d write about people. All kinds of people, real people. I’d write about what it is they do, what their life is like and what their thoughts are. I mean regular everyday people – no superstars – just people. The goal, I think, is to prove that the social construct – that is race, ethnicity, and all those other divisive elements – are irrelevant. To prove we are all the same.

 3. What is the title of your book?

The Mount Hope Explorers Club and the Great White.

4. Can you tell us in 25 words or less what it’s about?

Three ten-year-olds living in Mauritius meet a great white shark, and they have to save it!

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5. There is a lot of swimming and snorkeling in your book. Did you grow up loving the water? Tell us about it.

 I was taught how to swim in the ocean at a very young age, but we moved a lot, so I didn’t get to follow through in the younger years. When we lived in Mauritius, going to the beach was a big deal. My parents were busy with work and in Mauritius, people frown upon activities such as snorkeling. When you are in school you should be studying. So for a long time snorkeling was not an option. I started getting into it when I got older.

6. Did you have a group that you hung out with when you were about ten years old?

I wish I could say yes but there wasn’t much of a group. I hung out with some of the kids where I lived.

7. What kind of mischief did you and your friends get into?

One thing I remember is playing army in my grandmother’s vegetable patch. It was awesome because part of the garden was like a jungle. We would spend hours playing there. My grandma would get mad because we’d run through the good vegetable patch!

8. What is the motto of your characters in the Explorer’s Club? What is their goal, their aim, as they pursue their adventures?

The motto is “Never be bored.” Their goal is simply to keep busy and keep things interesting. They know, thanks to Dr. Gail, their mentor and curator at the Mount Hope Museum, that the world is full of interesting things – starting with Mount Hope village.

9. Do your characters end up having learned something in the story that has improved them in some way? What values have they learned that will aid in their growth towards adulthood?

My hope is that the characters grow to become citizens of the world. They are open-minded and pragmatic. The main values they are learning are fairness, acceptance, and empathy.

10. What are your favourite hobbies?

If I had the time it would be hiking and snorkeling. One or the other would make me happy!

11. What is your favourite way to spend time with your children?

Right now it usually involves running around according to their schedule. You go through a range of emotions in those moments.

12. Would you like it if your children did the activities that your characters do in your book, if they were the age of your characters? Why or why not?

I think I’d love that. To have that kind of freedom would be amazing but reality is different, right?

13. Do you have another book planned? Without giving away the plot, can you tell us what type of book it will be?

I have started working on the second book. The Mount Hope Explorers Club go to the Red Island: Madagascar. They find themselves involved in a possible coup, international intrigue, and dodgy people.

14. Where can people buy your book?

My book is available on Kindle (click here).  You can also find Mount Hope stories on my blog: www.mounthopeexplorersclub.com

***

Thanks for your visit, Pooben. I’ve read The Mount Hope Explorers and the Great White, and I think anyone with children would enjoy reading this to them or having them read it for themselves. Lots of good adventures with page-turner quality. Best of luck with your books.

Turning Points – Carol E. Wyer

Meet today’s guest, author Carol E. Wyer.Headandshoulders

Carol writes light-hearted humorous fiction and non-fiction aimed at those who wish to grow old disgracefully. Recent books caught the attention of the media and with the release of Grumpy Old Menopause, she appeared on BBC Breakfast television, over thirty radio shows, and now makes regular appearances on BBC Radio Derby as a Loud Mouth. (I can’t imagine why!)

Carol says:

My novels are full of twists and turns so it’s difficult to say they have one turning point. In reality there will be several moments where the reader will raise his eyebrows in surprise (I hope). Just Add Spice is one of those. It’s about Dawn, a middle-aged woman, who joins a writer’s group full of eccentric characters-and a young man who has a keen interest in her- in order to learn how to best write her first novel. She is advised to make her character as credible as possible by thinking and behaving like them. That’s fine, except her character, Cinnamon Knight, is an avenging Lara Croft type, out to exact revenge on every badly behaved male she encounters and who will happily murder them if necessary. Gradually, Cinnamon Knight begins to take over her creator, or has she always been there lurking in the depths of Dawns’ soul?

Through writing, Dawn discovers her own true identity and soon realises that she has been blinkered to the truth behind her own marriage. The complexity of relationships, love, marriage, danger, lust and confusion are all within the pages of the novel which might make you wonder if you should inject some spice into your own life.

Here’s an extract:

It was very late when she went to bed having completed the latest chapter. Jim was fast asleep and didn’t hear her slip quietly between the sheets. He was making that puffing sound he usually made, just before he burst into rhythmical snores that would increase in decibels until Dawn felt like screaming. She was tired now. Her eyes were sore from staring at the screen and she needed some rest before Jim decided that it was time for them both to wake up.

He was one of those, “early to bed and early to rise” people. About five o’clock he would start to become restless in bed which would inevitably waken Dawn. He would then yawn noisily several times and huff as if he didn’t fancy another day on the planet. Some short time after that, he would throw back the covers and tumble out of bed, clumping about the bedroom, opening wardrobe doors noisily and then running the bathroom tap for ages and flushing the toilet several times, oblivious to Dawn who was still bleary-eyed from tiredness.

Age was creeping up on him. She glanced at him. Light cast from the digital alarm clock glowed blue across his face. His mouth was open and he was dribbling slightly. She prodded him gently in the side to encourage him to move off his back and onto his side, where he might not make that irritating puffing sound.

Dawn pulled the covers up to her chin and nestled into the warm of the duvet. The puffs turned into gentle rumbles. Dawn burrowed further under the duvet. The rumbles became louder. Dawn gave him a prod. The rumbles stopped. Dawn sighed and covered her head with the duvet. Sleep wasn’t far away. She edged towards it relaxing and welcoming the night which would envelop her and leave her refreshed. She began to drift, floating towards that comfortable oblivion.

She was woken from the almost dream-like state by an almighty snore. Jim was at full volume. She shook him gently. Nothing. He continued to snore. She tried to move him. No way. He was out for the count. She hid her head under the duvet and fumed. She needed some sleep for goodness sake. It was 3 a.m. She needed those two precious hours.

Cinnamon suddenly appeared from nowhere. She was in Dawn’s mind whispering to her. Cinnamon wouldn’t listen to this holy row. She’d give him a sharp kick. As soon as the thought entered her mind, Dawn’s leg shot out involuntarily and caught Jim’s sharply on the tender portion of his calf muscle. The snoring stopped instantly. Cinnamon winked at Dawn. Dawn snuggled down again. A few minutes later the rumbling began once more. Cinnamon leapt up and grabbed the Tempur pillow from under Dawn’s head. It was weighty and sank in the middle. Straddling Jim with her long strong legs, she placed the pillow over his head and prepared to hold it over his face. Dawn shook her head. Too much Cinnamon. He’ll suffocate. Cinnamon blew a strand of hair away from her nose, nodded and got off Jim. Dawn leant across and instead pinched Jim’s nostrils together until he started spluttering. As soon as he started coughing, she feigned sleep. Jim coughed some more, then rose to get a drink of water. When he got back to bed he turned over onto his side and dozed back off.

Dawn smiled quietly in the dark and held her thumb up to Cinnamon who disappeared again into the recesses.

Just Add Spice

 

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Safkhet Publishing

 

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Turning Points – Patricia Sands

Let’s go to Provence for a visit!

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My guest today is author Patricia Sands.

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Patricia Sands lives in Toronto, Canada, when she isn’t somewhere else. An admitted travel fanatic, she can pack a bag in a flash and be ready to go anywhere … particularly the south of France. With a focus on travel, women’s issues and ageing, her stories celebrate the feminine spirit and the power of friendship. Encouraging women of all ages to stare down the fear factor and embrace change, she has heard from readers (men too!) ages 20 to 83. Her award-winning debut novel The Bridge Club was published in 2010 and her second novel, The Promise of Provence was an Amazon Hot New Release in April 2013 and a USA Best Book 2013 Finalist. She returned to France in September 2013, for a month to research her next novel, due for release in 2014. In June 2014 she will lead two 11-day tours of the south of France, based on her last novel, for 14 women with the Women’s Travel Network.

 Find out more at Patricia’s Facebook Author Page, Amazon Author Page or her blog where there are links to her books, social media, and monthly newsletter that has special giveaways and sneak peeks at her next book. She would love to hear from you!

From her book, The Promise of Provence, here is an excerpt showing a turning point in the story:

 

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Intro:

Suddenly on her own in her mid-fifties, Katherine Price steps out of her comfort zone and goes on a home exchange to Provence. In this excerpt, she has just picked up her rental car after taking the train from Paris to Avignon. Little does she know that her life will begin again in ways she could never have imagined.

Excerpt:

Starting the car, she pulled onto the road with a lurch as she changed gears. She was overcome for a moment with memories of her dad teaching her to drive a stick shift. He had been so patient with her.

Once you learn to drive a manual transmission you don’t forget, she heard his words, smiling as she sailed smoothly along after she awkwardly finished the necessary gear shifting.

Leaving the more urban area, Katherine encountered her first challenge: roundabouts. Ronds-points, she reminded herself. Think in French here!

Holding her breath, she entered as confidently as possible and as the GPS directed made a left at the second exit. The vehicles already circling have the right of way, she had read. After a few more, Katherine felt she had them mastered.

Oops, perhaps not, she muttered as she found herself not quite sure of her exit in a later one. Shifting gears hesitantly and going around a second time, someone swerved in front on her right, cutting off her exit, and around she went again.

Oh brother, I’m having a Griswold moment, she sighed, remembering European Vacation, which she had watched with her nephews and niece many times.

Gripping the wheel, she took a deep breath as she swerved quickly, counted to the third exit, and veered off onto it.

Maybe I do need a bit more experience, she conceded, for a moment unsure whether to laugh or cry.

The roads gradually became narrower and less busy which allowed her to take a longer look at the pastoral countryside. As she rounded a corner, cresting a small hill, she suddenly pulled the car to the side of the road and burst into tears.

In front of her was a postcard scene from Provence in June. An enormous field of golden sunflowers glistened with an intensity that was hard to believe, as if someone had plastered a Visit Provence poster smack in her face.

To one side was the classic mas, with its outbuildings, the shades of the yellow-gray limestone farm structures softened by the mid-afternoon sun. Traditional weathered blue shutters on the south facing windows and doors were flung open on this fine day. It was a scene Katherine had admired in so many books and movies. She couldn’t begin to count the number of images exactly like this that had filled her computer screen in the past month.

And now there it was.

And there she was, overwhelmed by the moment.

She stepped out of the car and hollered at the top of her lungs, “I’m here. I’ve done it! Je suis arrivée!”

Grabbing her camera, she let the lens caress the fields, buildings, and sky, knowing this was just the beginning. The pleasure of composing each shot was like eating a divine piece of chocolate. She could almost taste it.

Katherine leaned against the hood of the Citroën letting the reality sink in. Not simply the scenery but the truth of it all: she was in France, of her own doing, by herself.        The “by herself” part at this moment felt a bit raw. She felt as if she were on a precipice, unsure of what was coming next in her life. But it wasn’t danger or fear that she was experiencing. Rather there was a sense of excitement and an urge to quickly proceed to see what lay ahead.

I’ll deal with being alone. I can do it. This adventure is full on, she thought as she settled back into the car. Pulling off the grassy shoulder, she grinned, thinking, I can’t wait to see what happens farther down the road—in more ways than one.

Then she laughed out loud.

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