A Crown in Time

In my last series, which started with The Road to Alexander, I wrote about a modern woman kidnapped by Alexander the Great and forced to spend the rest of her life in ancient times. The series ended, and instead of resting on my laurels and taking up something more rewarding like hang-gliding off cliffs or deep sea exploration, I started a new book. This time I was heading to the Crusades, and since I love time slip books, my heroine was sent back on a mission to set time back on track after a serious mistake put the future in jeopardy.

I finished the book and started another one (I am a glutton for punishment – I can hardly find time to cook dinner so where was I finding time to write? Answer – lots of take-out pizzas.)  My publisher thought it was a good idea to tie the books together, so although it’s not a new series per se, there is a connecting element which is the Tempus University Time Travel Program – a handy place to have if you want to go back in time.

A Crown in Time is a standalone novel that starts the series which includes three standalone books so far.  The series is called The Tempus U Time Travel series, and I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I have enjoyed writing it!

A Crown in Time: She must rewrite history, or be erased from Time forever… (The Tempus U Time Travel series)

Since it was perfected in 2900, time travel has been reserved for an elite, highly trained few. However, on certain occasions, a Corrector is needed to rectify a mistake in the past.

Do your job well, and you’ll go down in history. Fail, and you will be erased from Time . . .

In the far future, a convicted criminal is given a chance at redemption. The Corrector Program at Tempus University is sending Isobel back in time, to the year 1270, to rewrite history.

Her mission? To save the crown of France.

If she follows the Corrector’s Handbook everything should run smoothly. But soon, Isobel finds herself accompanying a hot-headed young noble on his way to fight the infidel in Tunis: a battle Isobel knows is fated to be lost.

Isobel must fulfil her duty, knowing she can never return to her time, knowing one wrong move can doom the future, or doom her to be burned as a witch . . .

Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07ZF4QWNP/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_tkin_p1_i7

Publisher: Headline Accent (16 Jan. 2020)

ASIN: B07ZF4QWNP

ISBN-13: 978-1786157768

A Crown in Time

So here I am, with a new book out and my stomach still flutters and I can’t sleep at night, hoping it will be well recieved, that people will buy it, read it, and enjoy the story.

If you have always dreamed about going back in time, if you ever wondered what it was like to live in the past, why not travel with Isobel as she goes to the Middle Ages to save the crown of France, and is caught up in the terrible, ill-fated eighth Crusade.

Folks born in June_

Universal kindle link: getbook.at/Crown

A Crown in Time
Publisher: Headline Publishing Group
(paperback copy)
ISBN: 9781786157768

(kindle)
ASIN: B07ZF4QWNP

Ask your library to order a copy!
Thank you!

 

 

 

Ancient Gaul, druids, and a modern woman

In my time travel book, The Road to Alexander, a modern woman from the future travels back in time to interview Alexander the Great. He mistakes her for Persephone, goddess of the dead, and “rescues” her, wrenching her from the tractor beam and stranding her in 333 BC. For the first four books of the series, I used Alexander’s real history (as far as it’s known) his army, battles, and travels, as the framework for the story. But once Asheley saved him from his death in Babylon, I left history behind. Instead of following the story of Alexander’s life, I was free to imagine whatever I wanted; but I still had to set the story in the far past. My characters travel from Alexandria in Egypt to the thriving Greek colony of Massalia (Marseilles), then up through ancient Gaul (France) to Lucotocia (Paris) and on to the far north, where the Vikings have yet to become the fierce marauders who terrorized the coasts of Europe.

I dove into research – how people traveled, how long would it take to walk/ride/sail from one place to another, and while I was researching, I discovered that instead of the isolated villages and communities we imagine the Iron Age as being, people traveled and traded extensively. Different cultures had already left their mark on the northern tribes, but the Romans had yet to dominate their world, which gave me an idea. What if the Romans had been stopped in Gaul? What if they had been blocked – and instead of Romanizing Europe, the Celts had survived and thrived? Who, or what could have changed history? Since Ashley is from the future, she knows the importance of the Romans invading Gaul. They vanquished the Gauls, they cut down the sacred groves, and they slaughtered the duids . They anihilated the culture.

I live in France. The French are definitely a Romanized civilization. They have straight roads, they adore paperwork, they are proud of their architecture and science. They are also proud of their Gaulish history; one of their best loved fictional characters is a feisty little Gaul called Astorix. He lives in the last un-conquered village in Gaul – surrounded on all sides by Roman army encampments!

Astorix and his fellow Gauls are thorns in the occupying Romans’ sides. The stories are set in about 50 BC, so roughly three hundred years after my hero, Alexander the Great, wanders into the area. But things didn’t change as radically or quickly back then, and the houses, roads, and trading posts were all pretty much the same.

In France, several open-air museums feature Gaulish villages, with their thatched-roofed houses and picket fences.  Thanks to the museums, and Asterix, it was easy to imagine life in pre-Roman Iron-Age Gaul. What was harder, was imagining the Gauls successfully repealing the Roman invaders. Clannish, leary of the written word, and prone to infighting, the Gauls were no match for the highly organized Romans.  Only one man, Versingitorix, succeeded in uniting the tribes in order to fight Rome – but he was a hundred years too late. Julius Caesar was in charge of the army, and he was a brilliant tactitian. If, three hundred years before Caesar invaded Gaul, the druids had been able to form a cohesive army and force the different tribes to unite; Rome would never have gained a foothold in Gaul and would not have gone on to the British Isles. History, (or rather, our present) as we know it would have been changed. What the Gauls lacked was a leader – and who better than Alexander, who had united the Macedonians, the Greeks, and many other tribes under his banner. That, then, is the basis for my story, “Chants to Persephone”. Of course, Ashley knows that this can never happen, so she somehow has to get time back on track! Related image

“Chants to Persephone” is a nod to my adopted country, and brings to life ancient Gaul in the pre-Roman Iron Age. I hope you enjoy Ashley and Alexander’s adventures as much as I enjoyed writing them!

A short excerpt: 

Yovanix spoke as if weighing his words. ‘If it’s true Iskander lost his soul, I think I know why. If Voltarrix captured Paul and put Iskander’s soul in his body, can you imagine what would happen? Paul can no longer call the moon, but he can grow up to lead an army. The Druids are starting to feel the end of their world approaching. They speak of only one thing now; stopping the Romans before it’s too late. Some think it’s already too late. Voltarrix is one of the old ones who believe that time can be twisted.’

‘Twisted?’ I echoed. My voice sounded odd.

‘The druids believe that time can be changed, like a river’s course. They can change it, slow it, or speed it up. With enough work, they can even make it flow backward. Time is the foundation of the druid’s religion’

It was starting to make sense. Time. The Aztecs had foreseen the date their empire would topple, and they had tried to turn back time with their ceremonies. Nothing had worked for them. Nothing would work for the druids. The Romans would take over and usher in the modern world. Unless a boy, who never should have been born, somehow changed time.
It was conceivable – there were still two hundred years. After that, nothing would halt the inexorable march of the Roman Empire and the event that changed the world; the birth of Christ. But suppose the druids somehow managed to unite the Norsemen, Celts, and Gauls against the Romans? What if Paul were somehow the catalyst? Paul – with Iskander’s soul.

I took a deep breath. I would have to think about this. There were three people in the world who should never have been born: Paul, Chiron, and Cleopatra – and I was not supposed to be in this time or place. Anyone of us could, conceivably, change the world. A butterfly’s wings indeed.

Link to buy: 

Amazon.com

About the Author: 

Jennifer Macaire is an American living in Paris. She likes to read, eat chocolate, and plays a mean game of golf. She grew up in upstate New York, Samoa, and the Virgin Islands. She graduated from St Peter and Paul High School in St Thomas and moved to NYC where she modelled for five years for Elite. She went to France and met her husband at the polo club. All that is true. But she mostly likes to make up stories..

 

 

Unhappy Holidays – The Divorce

Did you know that more men leave their wives and children on Christmas day than on any other day of the year? New Year’s eve runs a close second. But there is a reason for this. Men don’t leave their wives to be on their own. No man ever decided to leave cooked meals, made beds, scrubbed bathroom, and vacuumed rugs to be by himself.  No, men leave because they have found Someone Else.  And that Someone else has insisted the man spend Christmas with her. And so the old family is left, and off the man goes to start anew. But behind him is something broken.

Soon after the aborted Christmas pageant, my parents divorced. It was a long time coming. Maybe if I’d been older I would have seen the signs. But I missed them all. From my child’s point of view, it was like standing on a rug, and having someone yank it out from under me. It’s cliché, but it’s true. And on Christmas day, the rug got yanked. We woke up as usual at the crack of dawn – kids that normally slept late and regularly missed the bus, shot out of bed like rockets and careened down the stairs, yelling fot the parents to get up and get out of bed, and it all started perfectly well. That year I got a toy that I’d seen on TV and wanted for ages – it was a candy-maker: you poured some powder in a mold and plugged in the machine, and it churned out a sort of chemical gummy bear that the FDA would never approve these days. I remember sitting under the tree, happily making a sticky mess. Then my mother opened her gifts, and they were a fur coat and an amethyst ring. She was astounded and tried on the coat, twirling around to show it off. My dad didn’t hug or kiss her. He looked embarrassed, bent down to ruffle my hair, then he said he was leaving, and he walked out the door.

I thought he was going out to get milk or something.  but no, he didn’t come back. My mother explained what a divorce was. The candy, that had moments ago been so delicious, suddenly made me feel sick.

The next month I was invited to spend time at my father’s new condo with his new girlfriend. Kids are flexible. After the first few weeks we had pretty much accepted that our parents had really divorced, and that we could get pretty much any toy we wanted because they were feeling guilty. Despite our anger and misery, it felt good to take advantage of their guilt to get the dolls, plastic ponies, stuffed animals, and whatever else our little broken hearts desired. We got over it – of course – but it left a bitter memory for Christmas.

So imagine my dismay when, just two years ago, on Christmas eve, my neice’s husband walked out on her and her two children. Because he’d found Someone Else, and so he turned his back on his kids and wife and abandoned them. (Because that’s what it was – abandon – on Christmas eve, no less.) Talk about a joyless dinner. Talk about an awkward evening. Pretending cheer and joy when two little children are bewildered and my neice was in shock. We sat around, fake grins on our faces, feeling dreadful for the family that had suddenly been shattered, and I remembered my own shattered Christmas and wondered why men couldn’t wait for a better moment. A month before or after Christmas – that would be useful. At least to let us know we don’t have to buy a present. We took the gift we’d wrapped for the absent father and tossed it in the trash. I couldn’t even bear to regift it.

What kind of man does that to his family? Well, my father, for one. It’s painful to admit that someone I thought the world of would do that to me – and I did think the world of him. But it does no good (and I know from experience) to carry a grudge. I still loved my father, although it took me a good many years to accept that he loved me too – and still walked out on me. And then it took more years to trust people who said they loved me. I kept my heart and didn’t give it away, too afraid the person who had it would walk away if he found Someone Else, and I’d be left looking at blinking Christmas tree lights. 

 

 

All the Light that’s Seen

My crazy sister said, “All the light that’s seen comes from the goodness of people.”

When she saw rays of sunlight streaming through the clouds, she’d cry. That was God’s grace shining down – and God’s grace was simply the goodness of people.

My sane sister said, “All the light that’s seen comes from the sun.” 

When the sun rose, she would sigh in relief – because deep down, she was worried that one day her sister would be proven right, and when there were no more good people, then there would be only darkness.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A few words about meth

Just Don’t Do It.

My mom just got back from a trip to the city. The parents of a man who we’ve known for over twenty years, (a man we love, who loves us), came to get her. They drove her back to the city, to this man’s apartment, where he’s been shut up for weeks. He’s a meth addict, you see. It’s been going on for a while now.  But the man we knew, and the man we loved, doesn’t live there anymore. My mother’s face was pale as she told me the story. The man screamed at everyone to get out. He shoved her away. Ten members of the police were there, but without a warrant couldn’t get in to find the drugs. If they had, then our friend would have been arrested, taken into custody, and forcibly removed from his addiction. As it was, after hours of pleading, he finally let my mother in. The apartment was freezing cold. He has no heat. He just wants his meth. My mother broke down. Told him it was goodbye. She didn’t know him anymore. She loved him, and always would, but she told him the person she loved was gone, taken over by the drugs. They hugged. She left. I think she left part of her heart back there. In a cold, dark, meth room.

The holidays are fragmented this year. One of our dearest friends has left us for meth. I can understand the power of addition. I can understand the deception that drugs play on your brain. One of my cousins was addicted to pain killers. He lost his home, he nearly lost his life. Luckily he has come back. He made it through the darkness and the cold and cama back home – but not without help. He had to be convinced to go to a rehab center, and every day is a new struggle – and a new victory. But so far, our friend on meth has refused. He prefers the dark and the cold – and the blinding escape that is meth.

Why does the human brain crave drugs so much? Why do we believe fake news? Why is fantasy preferable to reality? This year, the holidays seem unreal.

 

Holidays

So this year we’re doing something different. The family is fragmented. Some are going to spend the holidays with their partner’s family, others are working, others are sick, others are too old to sit at the table. So this year, we’re adapting. For the ones who will be gone, we are making dates to share a meal when they return. For those who are working, another date has been found for dinner. For those who are sick, we are organizing a dinner with just a few family and friends, and there are special instructions for what clothes to wear and how to avoid infection. For the elderly, we have set aside a day where we will go to them, bringing their gifts and some (I hope) good cheer.

The strengths and weaknesses of everyone are on show this year. How one reacts to illness, to oldness, to stress – and how to try to balance work and family – and more than one family – are the subjects of the holiday. Family members who have drifted away, and those who have pulled away are missed. And I am cooking again. Two chapons, two different kinds of stuffing, and chocolate chip cookies. The apartment is warm with the oven, which has been on since this morning. Now, seven hours later, one chapon and one casserolle of stuffing are finished, and the cookies are all done. Tomorrow I will cook the second chapon, and I wish I had a turkey instead. The fat chapons with their delicate skin are hard to cook. I miss the thick-skinned turkeys – so easy to prepare and roast. But all the market had were chapons this year, so I had to make do.

What else has been happening? Nothing I can really talk about yet. I’m unfortunately sitting on a couple secrets. Secrets are things that can tear families apart, so I am most unhappy. I think the secret to my side of the family is that we don’t have (too many, I hope) secrets from each other. We accept each other as we are – lame, blind, autistic (Republican)… and accept that we are family and that the blood we share is, in fact, thicker than water. (Or gravy, in this case). But my husband’s family only want perfection. And they are big on putting on a front, which is nice when you’re outside looking in, but less nice when you are inside and trying to hold the props up.

Sure, we fight, but we’re a pretty forgiving bunch. My cousin Jack has even let me back on his Facebook page, so my Trump bashing probably hasn’t ruined our freindship. He knows I won’t stop bashing Trump, and he won’t stop wearing his MAGA hat. We’re fine. Life goes on. The Democrats will eventually be able to clean up the mess the Republicans left. And then it will start all over. And so, the holidays are here, and will come again.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, and Enjoy your solstice season – and let go of the props. Hug your family members instead.

 

 

 

 

What others think

We spend our time thinking, so it comes as no surprise that what other people think concerns us. Often though, what I think and what others think are so different that I get destabilized (my word for the month). Case in point – I thought it would be a great idea to paint my shoes one day – I was tired of my plain, brown shoes, so I painted them red. And my teacher thought it was a terrible idea and I got sent to the corner of the room – what the teacher used to call “The Thinking Corner”, where we were supposed to stand and reflect on our mistakes. Except I really didn’t see what the problem was. The paint washed off. My shoes were still plain. I was in a corner. “Next time, think before you act!” said my teacher. Well, that was the problem – I did think about it.

My son Sebi and my husband share a trait – they don’t care what others think of them. They are so confident in themselves that they wear whatever they like, they do what they want, and others’ opinions matter not. When Sebi was little, I’d say “You can’t wear all purple, people will think–“ and he’d cut me off with “I don’t care what they think. I like it! Today, I’m a grape!” 

My husband went fishing with the most ridiculous looking outfit, and he rode his bike right through the center of town. I watched, wide-eyed in admiration, as he pedalled away, fishing pole sticking up, bare arms sticking out of his fishing vest ‘sans chemise’, his knees sticking out of holes in his jeans. How could he not care? But he really doesn’t. He’s happy with himself, and therein, I think – lies the answer. He’s happy with who he is and how he looks, and doesn’t give a hoot how others see him – he’s happy.

I, on the other hand, agonize about what others think of me, which makes it hard to get dressed some days and even puts a curb on my writing sometimes, because it’s hard to let go and let things show that you feel might make people raise their eyebrows or frown – which leads me to the question – Are the best artists those people who don’t care what others think about them, or is it the opposite – the best artists react to the way people think of them and shape their art as they try to make it into something that will please everyone?

My husband and son will be the artists that paint what they want, when they want, how they want – and the devil take the critics. I’m more attuned to criticsm and will tend to try to please the critics. I still don’t know if this is good or bad?

At any rate, it’s wonderful to know that whatever I do paint, my husband will be there cheering me on, because even if he doesn’t care what people think about him, he takes great care to let me know he thinks the word of me.

hapsteham

 

 

 

 

Anna Legat: My Guest Author: Attorney, Waitress, and Librarian – well-travelled Jill of all trades

Jane Risdon

https://www.facebook.com/AnnaLegatAuthor/ Anna Legat

Today I am really pleased to welcome Anna Legat back to my blog. We share the same publisher, Headline Accent.

She first appeared here in 2016 and she has written more books in her fab DI Gillian Marsh series since then…

Find out about Anna:

A globe-trotter and Jack-of-all-trades, Anna Legat has been an attorney, legal adviser, a silver-service waitress, a school teacher and a librarian. She read law at the University of South Africa and Warsaw University, then gained teaching qualifications from Wellington College of Education (Victoria University, New Zealand).

She inhabited far-flung places where she delighted in people-watching and collecting precious life experiences for her stories. She writes, reads, lives and breathes books and can no longer tell the difference between fact and fiction.

Read about the series she has written:

DI Gillian Marsh is the troubled heroine of my crime series, which include

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Past & present

So this is what happened the other day at the office: I was working when my boss came up to me and said, “An American is here, he says he knows you.” I look up, and there is a man in front of my desk. Tall, with dark hair graying around the temples, and dark eyes.  He had a wide smile, and I knew I knew him from somewhere.  My mind raced. We were in Mantes, but it was an American. He knew me. I knew him. But from Where? He looked so familiar! That smile! Those eyes!  “I know you,” I said.

“Oh, you know me all right. From St. Thomas. I’m [ — ].

And suddenly I was 16 all over again, and the handsomest boy in the school was standing there, grinning at me.

Time is a funny thing. You think you know it, but it’s like a river, like a rubberband, like amber, or like a movie. In a second, memories submerged me. And friends’, school, escapades, adventures,  teenage hormones run wild (I will Always blame my teenage years on my hormones, your Honor, and no one will make me say different!), drugs, sex and rock n’ roll – or actually pot, heavy petting, and Led Zepplin – came rushing back.  Here was my teen crush and he was my age now. We were  adults. This is the first thing that popped into my head – “maybe we’ll be able to have a sane discussion now“. I think in my teens, I was insane, but that is another story.

Where was he staying? Here in Mantes! My little city is gaining a reputation of being the perfect place for tourists. Close to Paris (just half an hour away), an hour from the Normandy coast, cheaper than Paris (by far), and full of good restaurants, beautiful river walks, and kind people. He had already been strolling around, and thought it was a nice place. But I was completely distabilized. My past had walked into my office, and I had thought I’d put my past behind me, but obviously my past would follow me wherever I went, even to Mantes. (I was secretly thrilled, folks) 

I told my husband we’d be having a guest for dinner, and told him it was a friend from highschool. My husband has “husband radar” so he said, “How good a friend?” and I said “Very good friend”, and husband radar pinged but he was cool and said, “I’ll be happy to meet him.” 

First tourist guide day was Mantes, the market, the river, the collegial. Second tour guide day was Normandy and Deauville. Third tour was to the city of Rouen, where we looked for traces of Joan of Arc, but there were hardly any left. Only a huge, black witches hat of a building in the old market place where they burned her at the stake. They say it represents a boat, but don’t let it fool you – it’s a witch’s hat and despite all the care that’s gone into the city’s historical center, I can tell you, Joan cursed that place well. It has the most creepy atmosphere of any town I’ve ever set foot in. (But we had a lovely day, and Auguste was a big hit with everyone).

So what have I learned from my past coming back to the present? I’m not sure. When I’m with him, I feel younger again, because all my memories with him are when I was a teen. Most of our conversations have been about what we did since then – our lives, our children and our hopes for them. Because we’re older now, we can compare arthritis (knee, foot), blood pressure (up and down, – what do you know?), and laugh that we never thought we’d be so old. More than half a century. How did we get this far? But I also realize, looking back, that we see each other more clearly now. That when we were teens, our egos, our fears, and our raging insecurities make us fragile. I had to put on a front. I didn’t trust anyone. I was unstable. I was desperate to leave school, leave the island, leave myself behind because I don’t think I liked myself very much. It’s easier to recreate a new person when no one knows you. The trouble with that is, you can’t leave yourself behind – ever. The past will always be there. (Dropping in with a wide grin).

But something else. This man, who I always admired, admitted he too felt like a fraud. He was shy, didn’t like to put himself forward, but because of his looks and easy manner, was often shoved forward, or pushed, or tugged. Looking at the yearbooks he brought with him, you see him on nearly every page. Everyone seemed to want part of him, like a lucky charm or a trophy. He must have felt pulled to pieces by us. Maybe flattered at first, but it must have been hard trying to live up to an image that other people thought of you. Since no one expected much of me, it was, I realized, so much easier to leave and to grow. What I have learned though – I think – is that it is never too late to recreate yourself. My boss is looking forward to it. After years of work and raising a family on her own, she is looking forward to retirement and to finding herself. She wants to try painting, to travel, to learn a new language, and I think that my friend from the past is doing that now. Finally shedding the person everyone thought he should be and finding himself. That he came to Mantes to visit his past before setting off on his adventure makes me happy. I’m glad my past came to visit.

Gomez