Humour in Writing – Anneli Purchase

Anneli Purchase

It is human nature to enjoy happiness, and although humour in books is not the enduring kind of happiness,   it can bring us snippets of it. Only the most serious of books would not benefit from a little humour woven into the text. My novel, “Julia’s Violinist” is a fairly serious story of a postwar love triangle. I’d like to share with you an excerpt from this novel to show that everything need not be dour at all times, even in a setting like that of Julia’s story, where love still thrives among the ruins of war.

Excerpt from Julia’s Violinist:

He stood in the doorway holding a bouquet of flowers in each hand. “For the lady of the house,” he said. A wave of his blondish hair fell forward as he inclined his head in a quick bow to Brigitte. Julia took a deep breath as Brigitte motioned for her to come closer.

“This is my sister, Julia Feldmann. Our new friend, Karl Werner.” Karl gave the second bouquet to Julia and shook her hand.

“So happy to meet you, Julia. I hope you like flowers too.”

“I love flowers. Very nice to meet you, Karl.” He was charming. No doubt about that.

“Mutti, Mutti!” Steffie ran into the house, gasping for breath. “I saw a man picking the neighbours’ flowers.”

“Psh-sh-t! Steffie!” Julia said.

“That’s him!” She pointed, mouth agape, and hid behind her mother.

“They were being wasted over there and I knew there were two lovely ladies in this house who needed them. Now, Steffie—is that your name? What a pretty name. You won’t tell on me, will you?”

“No.” Steffie peeked at Karl from behind Julia’s dress.

Julia watched the smile playing around Karl’s lips as he wooed Steffie into becoming an accomplice in his crime.

“Let’s get these lovely flowers into water so they haven’t been picked in vain,” Brigitte said. “Why don’t we sit in the living room? Steffie you can go on back out and play.”

“Don’t forget to keep our secret,” Karl called after her.

“I won’t,” she said, skipping out the door. “Sofie! Guess what!” they heard her call.

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Julia’s Violinist is available for only 99 cents from now to the end of July through amazon.com and smashwords.com.

 

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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

Timing is Everything

Anneli Purchase

Anneli Purchase

 Julia’s Violinist is a love story that is dear to my heart. I’d like to tell you a little bit about it in time for Valentine’s Day.

Photo courtesy of Victor Tribunsky

Nineteen-year-old Julia lives in the tiny hamlet of Neusattl. She is in love with Michael, a roguishly handsome young man who plays the violin beautifully.  He lives in Saaz,  a much larger town about 15 kms away.

town square

His long hours at work, and the early darkness of winter evenings make it almost impossible for them to see each other.  Julia wonders if he really loves her after all. They break up when an acquaintance of Michael’s turns on the charm and sweeps her off her feet.

1939. War is declared. Everything changes. The next years bring love and loss and love again, but not with Michael. He has disappeared without a trace.

Julia begins a new family, a new life, with a man she is still getting to know. He is not the gentle fun-loving fellow that Michael was, but he promises to look after her. In the desperate postwar times it has to be enough. Then one day a letter arrives from her first love of over twenty years ago:

Excerpt from Julia’s Violinist

April 30, 1952

Dear Julia,

I hope that I’ve found you at last and that you are well. I’ve been writing letters and looking for you since the war ended. I didn’t know if you were dead or alive. I was so happy when the Red Cross sent me this address for you. They told me you are listed as a widow, so I presume that Lukas did not survive the war. I’m sorry for your loss. He was a good man.

I’ve been in Canada since 1938 when Hitler’s enforcers came looking for anyone who had opposed him politically. I was lucky to escape. I couldn’t even say goodbye to Marlies. I heard later that she died in the Dresden bombing. She had relatives there and was visiting at that terrible time. Sadly, they all perished.

A group of us, who feared for our lives, went into hiding. We managed to slip out of the country and come to Canada via Britain. There are a lot of German people in the Dawson Creek area.

Would you and your daughters consider coming to Canada? It is a land of hope and opportunity, they say. I believe it. It has been good to me. I have a bakery here in Dawson Creek and it is doing well. Why don’t you come? There are hard times ahead for you in Germany. Life is better here. Say you’ll come.

Michael

*****

What would you do? Read Julia’s Violinist and find out what Julia did.

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Julia’s Violinist is available in paperback or e-book at amazon.com, amazon.co.uk (and other amazon outlets), and smashwords.com.

Writing Styles – Part 6

Anneli[7]

Anneli Purchase

Today’s writing samples are taken from my novel, “Julia’s Violinist.

It is the story of a love triangle set in Europe and Canada and spanning the decades from about  1912 to 1973.

The character description is of Karl’s mother, Alana:

At last she stepped up onto the tram. Oh, it was good to be out of the wind. Alana unbuttoned her jacket and let it hang loosely. She sat and, with practiced detachment, ran her hand down the length of her leg, enjoying the feel of her chic, new silk stockings. The appreciative gazes of the male passengers pleased her. She smiled smugly at the women, inviting their disparaging glares.

The setting is of a classroom in a German boys’ school in the 1920s:

Herr Solberg took Karl by the scruff of the neck and hauled him into the school, lifting him so that the tips of his toes were all that touched the ground as he walked. Karl tingled with excitement. At the end of the break, the class had to witness his punishment. Karl stood at the front of the classroom looking at the faces of his classmates. Some covered their mouths to hide their expressions of horror at the pain they knew was coming, while others beamed openly in gleeful anticipation.

The scene ending is of Karl being freed from POW camp in 1946:

The Russian guard tossed a tatty bundle of letters to him and read the next name. Karl was stunned. Not a single letter for over a year and now, on the last day, a bundle of … thirty-one, he counted. All from Julia.

He was frantic with wanting to open them, but nothing, not even these special letters, could make him lag behind in the POW camp. Out! Out! Just get out first, and then I can look at them.

As soon as he was out of sight of the prison camp, he sank down on the ground beside the road. His hands trembled as he opened the first letter. Through tears he saw her lovely handwriting, so perfect and neat; words that spoke of loneliness and longing. Each letter contained a small anecdote of Julia’s home life and ended with the hope that they would see each other again. Around the edges of the pages his name was written over and over in a border design, “KarlKarlKarlKarl. I miss you, Karl.”

He wasn’t sure how long he sat there. Other recently released POWs walked by. No one stopped. They had seen it all and there was nothing unusual about a man sitting in the dirt crying his eyes out as he read his mail.

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Julia’s Violinist is available in paperback and all e-book formats at Smashwords.com

and at all amazon sites, particularly

amazon.com

amazon.co.uk

amazon.de

Find out more about Anneli Purchase and her books at her website: http://www.anneli-purchase.com