I swear

Swear words – most of the time they pop out without thought – you drop a can of beans on your foot, and it’s magical. Kids learn them faster than they learn aything else. Say “shit” just once in front of your toddler, and he’ll repeat it perfectly first time, unlike the words you’d been trying desperately to teach him: “Grandma is nice. Repeat after me, Junior. Grandma is nice! Ow, shit, that can of beans hurt!” (You know what junior is going to say, right?)

What’s more – you can tell where people are from by their swear words. For example:

If it sounds like part of a kid’s nursery rhyme, it’s English: The English swear words are adorable. Someone yells at you, “You utter wally wanker blighter numpty plonker!” You beam and say “So Cute!!”

If it sounds like something you’d order in a restaurant, it’s Italian: “Yes, I’d like a Leccare il culo, with a side order of Andare a puttane, followed by a mi rompete i coglioni. And for dessert, some Vaffanculo.”

If it’s kind of sexy and has the word merde in it, then it’s French: “Merde, c’est de la merde, putain de con de merde, je n’ai ras le cul de ce merdier!”

If you want to put it in a song and sing it, it’s Spanish: Tonto del culo, hijo de puta! Qué Cabrón! Qué Cabrón!

If it sounds like the person had a few too many beers, it’s German: Arschloch! Du blöde Kuh! Verpiss dich! Fick dich!

If it sounds Chinese… it’s Chinese: Ta ma de, shǎ bi, bèn dàn, wang ba, wo cao!

If it sounds like the person can’t decide what word to choose so they just mash them all together, it’s American: You stupidassmuthafucker, fuckinmotherfucking, goddamnasshole!

So, why this post about swearing? Because people swear all the time, Expletives are creative & descriptive. Shakespeare invented many of them, they spice up films and songs, and kids love them (much to our embarrassement when they cheerfully call out “Hey motherfucker!” from their stroller). And in my next book, “A Remedy in Time“, my heroine, Robin, swears fluently. In the future, Chinese and French swear words are used liberally, so brush up on your wo cao merde, you plonkers! Language is fun!

A Remedy in Time – coming January 2021 from Hachette Headline (cover reveal coming soon!)

Guest Author ~ Tom Williams on blogs and writing

When Jennifer invited me on to her blog, I had no idea what I should write about. I wasn’t even sure if I should take up her invitation. I’d just been reading that blogs don’t help authors sell books and we should all be careful about spending much time on them. As I blog on my own blog (http://tomwilliamsauthor.co.uk/) more than once a week on average, this was alarming advice.

The thing is that all writers nowadays spend an enormous amount of their time blogging or on Facebook or Twitter or (for reasons I’ve never understood given that they are selling books and not photographs) Instagram. And we all agonise about the hours that we are wasting.

But what’s the alternative? At the moment I am republishing the first three of my books in my series about James Burke, a spy in the Napoleonic era. I’m doing this because I have two new books in the series coming out and I want people to remember who James Burke is and to remind them that they want to read the next books. There’s been a long gap because of worries about rights issues (and if you want to hear something that authors worry about even more than their social media presence, it’s how they deal with the awfulness of a situation where they lose the rights of their own books). Republishing, for me, has meant having very pretty new covers and trying to raise the profile of the books on social media. So it’s not terribly good time to tell me that I shouldn’t even be writing this.

Burke In the Land of Silver

But what else is an author to do? People say that the answer is newsletters but, though I don’t try particularly hard to play the numbers game, I have over 400 people following my Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/AuthorTomWilliams/) and over 1,500 on Twitter (https://twitter.com/TomCW99). I put most of my effort into the blog on my website that gets well over 4,000 hits a month. By contrast I have fewer than 20 signed up to read my newsletter. (You can join them at http://tomwilliamsauthor.co.uk/newsletter/.) I think I’ll be blogging and on Facebook and Twitter for a while yet.

What I am not doing while I write this is, of course, writing my next novel. I’m incredibly impressed by people like Jennifer who, before everyone cut back on everything because of covid, could turn out beautifully written blog pieces on an almost daily basis and has written more books than me. Even Jennifer, though, would presumably have produced yet another wonderful series like ‘Time for Alexander’ if she had concentrated on that rather than chatting to us on her blog.

It’s a quandary. The fact is that there are hundreds of thousands of books produced every year (amazon.co.uk offers over 100,000 books in historical fiction alone) and, however brilliant your book is, nobody is going to read it unless they’ve heard about it, and they won’t hear about it unless you tell them. (Your mother might tell them too, but mothers are notoriously unreliable sales agents.) Hence all the blogs. And Facebook posts. And tweets.

Generally I really enjoy blogging. My blog features a lot of historical material as well as random stuff loosely associated with writing (there seems to be a lot about cover design at the moment) and the occasional thing on tango, because I like tango and people seem to enjoy reading about it. I get a lot of satisfaction writing about history. As I mainly write historical novels, this is a good thing as my life would otherwise be very sad indeed.

On the other hand, I am a firm believer that my blog should be positive and upbeat and that can be a bit wearing. Jennifer’s blog is also a joy. But sometimes I just want to point out to people that continually producing free stuff online takes a very great deal of time. I suspect I am not alone in occasionally feeling that there is, perhaps, a touch of ingratitude from those who regularly read what I write for free but who have yet to shell out £2.99 for one of my books. (I know they don’t, because if everybody who read my blog in a month bought just one copy of any of my books, they would be in the bestseller charts and they aren’t.) I’m going to carry on blogging anyway. It’s writing and writing is what writers do. And, after a brief hiatus, I’m sure Jennifer will be back as well. It would be nice, though, if after you’ve read her blog, you bought some of her books. They really are very good.

Religion

Religion: Do unto others, as you would have others do unto you. Do not kill. Do not steal. And that’s about it for all the world’s religions.

Politics: No abortion, no gay marriage, no women’s rights, non believers should be eliminated.

Why? Because rulers use religion to control women’s bodies, for example, or to control people. Non believers are harder to control, so they are the first to go. Women are weaker than men, but easier to control through religion – just make them believe that it’s all about love and children. Men are easy to control through religion – just make them believe they are the ‘chosen’ ones. Children are easily brainwashed into believing anything, just use stories and make sure they feel like they’re part of an exclusive group.

If people would just separate religion and politics completely, I’d have nothing against religion. As it is, it’s just ANOTHER BRICK IN THE WALL.

Chants to Persephone

Chants to PersephoneTime For Alexander Book 5

In the fifth book in the Time For Alexander series, the Oracle of Amon
tells Alexander he must go to the Land of Ice and Snow, so they leave
their home in Alexandria and head north, to Gaul.But the Thief of Souls not only captured Alexander’s soul. He also
wants Paul, and the druids have raised an army to capture him. In the
heart of winter, in ancient Gaul, a terrible sacrifice is made to
Persephone, goddess of the Underworld – and Ashley finds herself
taking part in a deadly ceremony.

The snow was nearly all trampled away by the night’s festivities. Most people had left, but a few remained. They were now packing their belongings and getting ready to leave. Spirals of smoke from campfires looked like blue tissue-paper streamers reaching for the sky. The snow had been turned to muddy slush on the paths. I walked down to the river’s edge and stripped off my dirty cloak. I looked at the blood caked on it, then I tossed it into the river and watched as the swift water took it away. I shivered.

‘That was a strange thing to do.’ Alexander looked at me from across the river, where he’d been standing beneath the trees.

‘I don’t want it any more. It was covered in blood.’

‘So was Paul, but I washed it off.’

I didn’t smile. There was nothing to smile about. I was tired and unhappy. My stomach hurt, my head ached, and I didn’t know what I felt any more. Alexander walked over the bridge and took my hand.

‘I’ll help you bathe,’ he said softly. I just nodded.

There was a crude bathhouse near the stream. In it stood a tub of hot water. Alexander had anticipated my every move. I climbed in. When I’d washed my skin and hair, I took a small birch twig and brushed my teeth. Then I dressed in the clean clothes he’d brought for me.

Alexander had been silent, sitting in the corner, but now he spoke in an odd voice. ‘What did you do last night in the cave?’

My hands, I saw, were steady now. I held them out in front of me and frowned. Then I let them fall to my sides, and said, ‘what do you think happened?’

‘I would prefer you to tell me.’ He spoke evenly. There was nothing in his voice to hint at what he felt.

I started to laugh. It was a low laugh that shook me. An embarrassed laugh, because I was not proud of myself. ‘I’ll tell you what happened,’ I said, wiping tears out of my eyes. The laughter had turned sour suddenly. ‘I got drunk on the ceremonial wine, and I made love with the Roman’s wife. I didn’t want anyone to die, and a man was killed in front of me while looking straight at me with a smile on his face. And then they ate him.’

‘What?’ Alexander sounded shocked. I didn’t know what he was ‘what-ing’ about. The fact I made love to a woman, the fact Anoramix smiled at me, or that he’d been eaten.

‘What “what”?’ I asked crossly.

‘They ate him?’

B&N , Amazon, Fnac

Hinterland

A word prompt to get your creativity flowing this weekend.  How you use the prompt is up to you.  Write a piece of flash fiction, a poem, a chapter for your novel…anything you like.  Or take the challenge below – there are no prizes – it’s not a competition but rather a fun writing exercise.  If you want to share what you come up with, please leave a link to it in Sammi’s Comment Section

She loves the rain.

Playing in the garden, making paths and jumps for her imaginary horses –

Wading in the creek,

Forest walks,

Meadow gathers.

When we moved to the city the crowds depressed her.

Even Christmas lights and July fireworks were shunned – too many people!

But she fell in love, she became a teacher, and now she’s moved to a blue and white hinterland house.

Our apartment is empty, the sound of city traffic mocks me.

In my daughter’s house, you can hear the birds sing.

Annie’s Choices by Tricia McGill

 Annie’s Choices

by Tricia McGill

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

GENRE: Historical Romance

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

BLURB:

In book 4 of the Settlers Series, we catch up with most members of the extended family from the previous three books. Annie at 18 is the eldest Carstairs girl. She has lived out at Bathurst west of the Blue Mountains, where she was born just after her Mama, Bella and Papa, Tiger settled there back in 1824. After visiting her brother Tim and his wife Jo just before Christmas 1843, Annie decides to stay in Port Philip, seeking adventure much as her brother did when he set out with Jo the previous year. Annie has inherited her mother’s independent streak, a character trait that sometimes leads her to make the wrong choices.

Jacob O’Quinn works for her brother, and the likeable young carpenter catches Annie’s eye. Jacob is quiet and reserved in his manner, having spent his life with his widowed mother. When handsome Zachary McDowell, the complete opposite to steady Jacob comes along, he sweeps Annie off her feet. Heedless of advice given by others, Annie makes a choice that turns out to be the worst she could ever make.

Restless, Annie decides to return to her home, and Jacob makes the decision to escort her. The journey back across the mountains proves to be a lot more eventful than she assumed it could ever be. The road itself may have seen improvements through the years but there will always be unexpected incidents to turn life around on its axis. A suspected murder brings the might of the law down on the shoulders of the young couple.

http://www.triciamcgill.com

http://triciamg.blogspot.com

https://www.facebook.com/authorTriciaMcGill

Buy Link: https://books2read.com/Annies-Choices

Author page: https://bookswelove.net/mcgill-tricia/

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Frontier life in Australia was made up of back-breaking hard work. The author says in her dedication; “gallant women and brave men”, and it’s true. This is the story of Annie, a girl who has come to spend Christmas season with her brother Tim and his wife Jo. The year is 1843, and after Christmas, Annie decides to stay in Port Philip, where life is far more exciting than in the mountains where she grew up. Young and frivolous Annie sets her sights on Jacob, who works for her family. Jacob is serious and hardworking. Annie manages to get him to take her for a drive, but a violent storm hits and they find an injured girl in a ditch at the side of the road. The girl suffers from amnesia and can only remember her name – Sally. Annie’s brother and sister-in-law agree to take her in until she can recover, and Sally and Annie, being the same age, soon become friends.

Then Zachary enters the picture, and Annie finds herself attracted to the dashing, mercurial man who takes her to parties and compliments her extravagantly. Soon Annie is driving out with him on Sundays, and going to his house where his family hold large gambling parties. Knowing her brother would not like that, Annie keeps that a secret. While at Zachary’s house, she also meets a servant girl who looks disturbingly like her friend Sally, who still claims she remembers nothing of her past life, and who has now started working in the Annie’s brother’s house.

This story is like a winding brook, carrying you with it as it goes, bubbling with life and laughter, joy and tears. It’s not only a coming of age story and romance; there is adventure, a murder, a journey, and a cast of well-rounded, believable characters. It’s also beautifully written and once I started reading, I couldn’t stop until I found out what happened to Annie, Jacob, Zachary, and Sally. Ms McGill’s writing is like a tapestry with the woven threads of the story leading you further into the design – a design that shows Australia in the eighteen hundreds in all its complexity. The author also includes the massacres inflicted on the Aborigines and their consequences. I love historical romance, and this one is a wonderful addition to my collection.

“Annie’s Choice” is book 4 in the Settlers’ Series, but it can easily be read as a standalone. Warning – reading this one will make you want to read the entire series! Highly recommended.

July – she will fly… not too fast, I hope

I am in the middle of edits for my forthcoming book – my publisher has sent me a list of titles to consider – they are:

A REMEDY IN TIME

YEAR OF THE CURE

A NEEDLE IN TIME

A TRICK IN TIME

A TWIST IN TIME

My editor says they prefer A REMEDY IN TIME – what do you think? I’m partial to A TWIST IN TIME, but I’m also wondering if A TIGER IN TIME wouldn’t be better? After all – there is a smilodon (the working title was Year of the Smilodon).

Any opinions would be welcome!

You can go here to vote – https://fast-poll.com/poll/66ea9866 thanks!

A funeral, a party, a smoking grill…

I am sorry about my sporadic posts – it’s not like I don’t have a lot to say – I do; words pour out of my head and fill the air around me like a flock of sparrows or swarms of bees – depending on my mood. I have been reading some, writing a little, and working a lot. Since we’ve gone back to work, I find I’m insomniac again, whereas during the lockdown I slept well and woke up early. Now I toss and turn – it’s too hot or too cold, there is too much noise, what will happen tomorrow? I wake up tired, I go to work tired, and come home exhausted – and still I can’t sleep.

Here at the apartment complex, things are busy. Our downstairs neighbors’ father died, and there was a three day funeral. Just before that there had been a big birthday bash on a Sunday nigh.. What happened was on Sunday, smoke started pouring in our window. I looked outside, and our neigbors had lit a charcoal grill. It smoked so badly all the people in the building had to shut their windows on a very nice, sunny, hot day. Being a member of the building syndicat, I got a ton of angry emails. The emails became incandescent when more and more people showed up and loud music started blasting from the apartment. Sunday evening 1 am, I finally knocked on the door to ask them to keep it down. Three people came to the door. I said, ‘could you please keep it down it’s after 10 pm and people have to work tomorrow.” Instead of saying ‘yes, we’re sorry‘, I got ‘it’s my neice’s birthay party’, to which I answered, ‘I don’t care’. That started a row about my not being respectful and my retort that respect had nothing to do with asking people to turn down the noise, and maybe respect could go both ways? The music did get turned down, although the neighbors to the left and right of them still complained. I went upstairs, put earplugs in, and went to sleep.

So when the music and barbecue started up again the next Friday, I knocked on their door to tell them to keep it down after ten pm and not to use the charcoal grill on their patio because it made everyone above them miserable. I asked whose birthday it was this time. I was not going to make the same mistake of saying ‘I don’t care’.

They informed me their father had died. (Insert a few seconds of embarrassed silence on my part). I gave my condolences. It was too late to stop the barbecue but they were very cool about keeping the noise level down (with 50 people crammed in their apartment it must not have been easy). The funeral went on for three days, but there was no more late night music blasting from the ground floor. The barbecue was put away. (I told them they could get an electric grill for the terrace).

Then the next day I got news that the code for the doors had changed, and I discovered no one but the owners had been given the new codes, so I went around knocking on doors and giving the codes to the renters in the building. It was a busy weekend – Auguste and I got to meet some of our new neighbors, and so far everyone seems to have the codes (no one has broken down the door yet, although someone did prop it open with a big rock yesterday).

I love my apartment, and I like most of my neighbors. We got to know each other better during lockdown, chatting with each other from our balconies – and we now stop and chat more easily. I think eveyone has some shyness in them that makes it hard to talk to strangers, even when you see them from across the courtyard for years.

On other news, my book “A Crown In Time” is on sale for $0.99 – so go grab a copy for your kindle and leave a review – I somehow need to get to 50 reviews. That would be great.

A Crown in Time: She must rewrite history, or be erased from Time forever... (The Tempus U Time Travel series) by [Jennifer Macaire]

https://www.amazon.com/Crown-Time-rewrite-history-forever-ebook/dp/B0873B9XX1/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=jennifer+macaire&qid=1592734955&refinements=p_72%3A1250222011&s=books&sr=1-1

Claire Ptak’s Banana ice-cream

Banana ice-cream

Banana “ice-cream” made only with frozen blitzed bananas and a little honey and salt. Finished with the best olive oil you can afford, the simple banana becomes something else entirely. Hallelujah.

Serves 2-4
3 medium bananas
A pinch of fine sea salt
2 tbsp honey
Extra virgin olive oil, to finish
Flaky sea salt, to finish

1 Slice the bananas and freeze them in a container for at least 1 hour. Remove them from the freezer and immediately blitz them in a food processor until smooth. Add the salt and honey, and blitz to mix. Decant the mixture into an airtight container and freeze again for at least two hours.

2 Serve with a drizzle of your best olive oil and a pinch of sea salt.

Dear White People, This is What We Want You to Do

Inside The Kandi Dish

I don’t want to hear “I can’t believe this.”

I want you to read upon the history you’ve had the privilege to ignore.

I don’t want your opinions or thoughts.

I want you to listen to the Black experiences you’ve chosen to forget.

I don’t want your #BLM Instagram story reposts.

I want screenshots of your bail out money donations and patronage of Black labor/art/knowledge.

I don’t want your passive Twitter likes.

I want you to follow Black tragedies as much as you follow Black trends.

I don’t want to vindicate your white guilt. It’s yours to reconcile.

I want you to check your racist parents and call out your apathetic white friends (especially when there are no people of color there) without expecting a pat on the back.

I don’t want your tears. I have plenty of those.

I want…

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