Tuesday 19 September 2017

Greece is the Word

September wouldn't be the same without my annual post about my holiday in Greece (sorry, no writing post today).

As many of you will know, if you've been following my blog for a while, Greece and its islands are my favourite place to holiday (apart from the Lake District). We try to go every year, picking somewhere new each time - although we are finding it harder and harder to find new places to fit our tough brief: quiet, scenic, green, little harbour, pretty beach.

To date, I have holidayed in Stoupa, Kardamilli and Parga on the mainland along with the islands of Corfu, Thassos, Kefalonia, Samos, Skopelos and Ithaca. All lovely. 

This year's choice was Paxos, a little island off Corfu, and what a delight it was - although at one stage we weren't sure we were ever going to get there. Due to the inefficiency of the long term car park staff at Gatwick (resulting in a wait of 50 minutes to hand in our car keys) we missed our flight. This also meant that by the time we'd caught another, at five in the evening, we'd missed our hydrofoil connection and had to stay overnight in Corfu Town. Not a great start to our holiday. Anyway, we got there in the end and it didn't spoil the rest of our beautiful week.

We stayed in a house just outside the harbour village of Loggos on the side of an olive-clad hill. This is the view of our pool.

The position was perfect, just fifteen minutes walk through the olive groves to Loggos and ten minutes to a choice of four small pebble beaches.

This is one of them. September is the perfect time to visit as the summer crowds have left and when we walked down to the beach for a swim at six o'clock, we had the beach practically to ourselves. What a treat. We're quite used to pebbly beaches, so the lack of sand didn't bother us. In fact, it's nice not to have sandy towels and feet!

Of course, as usual, we ate much too much. When we first holidayed in Greece we'd buy our lunch and eat it at wherever we were staying but in recent years we've found we can't resist the lunches in the tavernas: tatziki, tiropita (cheese pie) Greek salad, fried courgettes and saganaki (fried cheese) washed down with some Mythos beer. No wonder we always come home heavier than we arrive! I'd better not mention the bakery in the village which sold orange or walnut cake steeped in Greek honey and the best baklavas ever.

In the evenings, we were spoilt for choice as there are several lovely tavernas. In fact we never had a bad meal and after we'd eaten, we'd wander along to a bar on the harbour front for coffee and baklava and to watch the world go by.

I'm home now and my week in Paxos has given me the motivation to work on my first novel which is set on a Greek island. It's been put away while I wrote my second novel but now it's time for an airing... I can't wait!

If any of you have any recommendations for our next Greek holiday, do let me know.

Tuesday 12 September 2017

The Death of Her - Guest Post Debbie Howells

It's exciting when a debut author comes onto my blog but it is equally exciting to have an author visit whose previous two novels have been highly praised and who has earned a seat on the coveted Richard and Judy sofa! This is Debbie's second visit to Wendy' Writing Now and she is here today to tell us a little about her third psychological thriller, The Death of Her.

Over to you, Debbie.
The Death of Her is my third book.  It’s set in North Cornwall, along a stretch of coast I know well and takes in the sweeping countryside and some of the more secluded, wilder coves.  And of course, the waves…

Nothing is by chance.  A wave is the culmination of many factors.  There’s the swell, the wind, the shape of the coastline, the ocean floor.  It shows the divine timing to all things, because you can’t hurry the perfect wave. He’s taught me the need for patience as you see a set coming, the importance of relying on your judgement. The perfect wave will come when the time is right.

I stand there watching him as he deftly rides a wave to the shore then, instead of paddling out against the tide, catches the rip.  Its powerful flow is an easy ride out past the waves, when you understand the forces at work, as Rick does.  When you don’t, it’s an easy way to die.

One of the themes is the reliability of memory.  We’ve all heard someone recount a sequence of events that we remember quite differently and while I was researching this, it fascinated me to learn how easily memory can be suggested or false memories implanted.  There are a number of studies I read about, in which the subjects were convinced they’d been involved in an event in their childhood which hadn’t happened, even to the point of embellishing their memory of it.  It makes you think…

Back to my book… A young woman is found battered and left for dead in the Cornish countryside.  When she’s airlifted to hospital, she remembers two things – her name, Evie, and the name of her three year old daughter.  But as the police investigation gets under way, there is no evidence her daughter exists.    

As more of Evie’s memory comes back, she appears convincing, but it soon becomes apparent that her memories are at best fragmented.  Not only that, but vital pieces are missing.  With no-one to back up what she’s saying, it’s impossible to believe her.
But from the darkest place she’s ever known, Evie knows her daughter’s voice, her chameleon eyes, every precious hair on her head.  But the police remain unconvinced – unaware that on the fringes of Evie’s life, there’s someone else.  Someone hiding, watching her every move, with their own agenda and their own twisted version of reality.

I don't know about you, but I can't wait to read this new book of Debbie's which is already receiving 5 star reviews on Amazon.

You can find out more about Debbie here
You can buy The Death of Her here