Wednesday Wander – Praia da Falesia, Portugal

So, where have I wandered to today? You might be forgiven for thinking these are the red sands of outback Australia or the Arizona desert, or even some sort of Martian landscape. In fact, I’m only a couple of hours (by plane) from home this week – this is Praia Da Falesia on the Algarve, Portugal.

Praia Da Falesia is one of the longest beaches in Portugal, stretching over six kilometres from Vilamoura in the west to Olhos de Agua in the east. Falesia means ‘cliff’ in Portuguese, and these wind and water sculpted shapes are a dramatic backdrop to blue water and sunbathing.

The Algarve has been attracting travellers for millennia, with Roman and Moorish ruins along the coast testament to the civilisations who came and went. It’s the southernmost region of continental Portugal and the name Algarve comes from the Arabic Gharb Al-Andalus, which denotes its position west of the Iberian Peninsula.

The sands really are those magnificent shades of orange, ranging from almost cream to dark umber, brilliant against the blue sky. The photos almost don’t do the colours justice – it was breathtaking to see for the first time. We spent several days on the beach collecting shells, swimming and relaxing, our hotel just a short walk away. Portugal was a place of orange blossom and warmth, delicious seafood and friendly people, and history stretching back for thousands of years. I loved it, and look forward to going back for another visit one day.

Thanks for coming on another Wednesday Wander with me – see you next time!


If you enjoyed this post and want to read more, you can find me on Twitter @AuthorHelenJFacebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Plus my latest book release, A Thousand Rooms, is now available on Amazon. Visit my Amazon Author Page to see more.

 

 

Guest robot: Lisa Burton – An invitation

A great post from Craig Boyack via Sue Vincent, part of the wonderfully generous blogging community. If you have a character needing an interview, visit Lisa – her show is excellent!

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

How much would you pay to reach a potential audience of say, a hundred thousand readers? And what if, instead, you could do that for FREE, with no strings attached?

Writers need to promote their work… interviews, guest posts, radio shows…they are all excellent ways of getting your work seen and, hopefully read. There are any number of sites willing to make holes in your hard-won and often meagre royalties by offering you advertising space, or nameless (and possibly non-existent) followers and who will charge you to appear on their blog or website. While everyone needs to make a living, and while there is nothing wrong with investing money, as well as your time to promote your work, why pay for what you are being offered for free?

There are very many people offering guest spots to writers. WordPress bloggers will also post their links across many social media platforms…

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#writephoto – The Wasting

Sue Vincent runs a wonderful writing prompt, #writephoto, each week, using her own photography as inspiration. Maybe it’s the snot monster talking, or maybe, once again, Sue has come up with a great image, but as soon as I saw this week’s photo I heard the first line of a story. And here it is:

‘So that’s the last of it then, is it?’

‘Well, yes.’ I shuffled sideways, as though I could hide the patch of green. ‘I’ve used all of it.’

Master Pinchface advanced on me, bony finger extended. ‘And you call this a Wasting then, do you?’

‘Um.’ I looked around. I mean, the place did look pretty much like a wasteland. Or at least the start of one. The grass dead and tumbled, the soil rising as dust to the sky. Except for that one patch. ‘Well…’ My voice cracked, and I felt myself flush.

‘Let me get this straight.’ The Master glared at me, eyes red under his hood. ‘You were given, at great expense by the Council, a bag of Wasting dust. And your job, your only job, was to render this,’ he grimaced, waving his arm, ‘place,’ he spat the word, ‘a wasteland. Am I correct?’

I nodded. My mouth twisted and I shuffled a little further away. It hadn’t been my fault, really it hadn’t. But she had been so pretty, sitting there in her russet gown, wings all silvery like the moon on harvest night. I’d not had the heart to sprinkle the dust where she sat, combing her long dark hair and singing, her voice like chiming bells. And then when I remembered it was too late, the bag flapping empty in the wind. And now she was gone.

‘So tell me,’ the Master went on,’ what is the golden rule regarding a Wasting?’ He raised feathery eyebrows, shrivelled lips pursed.

I cleared my throat. ‘Um, the rule is, Let no green remain, or the land will grow again.’ I bit my lip. ‘I didn’t mean to,’ I went on. ‘And I think, well, it’s not too bad, is it?’

Not too bad?’ Master Pinchface’s voice rose to a shriek, tattered sleeves catching the wind. ‘You must be joking!’ He advanced on me, pointing his finger again. Too late I saw the tip had started to glow. The last thing I heard before my world went dark was laughter. Silvery, like bells on the wind.

———–

Master Pinchface moved forward, the pointed toe of his boot pushing at a pale stone lying on the grass, all that remained of the young apprentice. He shook his head. Taking a small bag from his pocket he opened it, spilling black dust that swirled across the small patch of green grass, turning it to brown. Now that, he thought with satisfaction, was a proper Wasting.


If you enjoyed this post and want to read more, you can find me on Twitter @AuthorHelenJFacebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Plus my latest book release, A Thousand Rooms, is now available on Amazon. Visit my Amazon Author Page to see more.

Wednesday Wander… On A Thursday – Morocco

I know, I know, yesterday was Wednesday. But the snot monster who has returned to lodge in my head and chest forgot to remind me, and so here we are, Thursday, and no Wednesday Wander written.

So, as I’ve still not managed to dislodge the beast, I’m going to wander somewhere warm. I’ve wandered there before, but this time I’m hoping the reminder of sun and sand and sweet ocean breezes might tempt it away, and I can get back to normal again.

I’m in Morocco, on the coast north of Agadir, where the Atlantic waves roll in. If you’re looking for warmth, this is the place – the food, the people, the very air vibrates with heat, welcoming weary travellers from far and wide.

It is a place of light and roses and the scent of orange blossoms, of lanterns and stone walls and camels by the side of the road. A place where you can go and just be, listening to the waves and watching the sun set, golden, a sense of magic in the air.

I’d like to be there right now, to be honest.

Thanks for coming along on another Wednesday (Thursday) Wander with me – see you next time!


If you enjoyed this post and want to read more, you can find me on Twitter @AuthorHelenJFacebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Plus my latest book release, A Thousand Rooms, is now available on Amazon. Visit my Author Page to see more.

Writing inspiration -10 places to find ideas

A lovely post from Sue about the many places inspiration can be found 🙂 Where do you go to find yours?

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

“I feel a blog post coming on…” The phrase has become a stock joke, particularly from my eldest son with whom I spend a goodly amount of my time. A thought will crop up in discussion and, waxing philosophical we will pursue it down the odd byways of the mind. Conversation, interaction with other minds… that has to be the best source of inspiration you can get, for me.The ideas and analogies thus born form a rich vein of inspiration every day.

In the beginning, though, there were long periods of procrastination, where I would sit in a caffeine fuelled stupor desperately seeking anything to take my mind off the lack of words on the screen. I became a dab hand at all forms of Solitaire and can lose myself in the online bookstores as readily as I can in their musty counterparts in another reality. These days if I…

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#Monday Motivations – The Bench

Esther Newton does a great writing prompt series called Monday Motivations, and her latest prompt is this lovely photograph. When I saw it a little story came to me, and so here it is:

She remembered when he’d put the bench there. He’d been young then, and strong, muscles firm against his skin, his flesh sweet against hers in the night.

Together they would sit, gazing through the trees, dreaming into the darkness, her head on his shoulder. Sometimes they would bring the radio and dance, holding each other close and swaying like the treetops above. Other times they would talk, making plans of family and home and love so strong it still left her breathless at his loss.

She still went to sit there every day, leaving the house they had built together, her old knees creaking as she negotiated the steps from the back porch. Sometimes she would take a handful of nuts for the squirrels or seed for the birds, especially when winter held the land in an iron grip, her breath misting the air.

Through the seasons she sat, as leaves turned and the evergreens dropped green needles that turned slippery brown under foot. And she would talk to him. ‘Come back to me,’ she would say, tears cool on warm cheeks, or hot against frozen skin. She would tell him her plans, tell him of the family, of all that had passed since the dark day he had left. Eventually, she would stop talking, and lose herself in a dream of summer darkness, of his arm strong around her. She would return to the house and sleep well that night, as though all the hard years since his passing had never been.

There was joy still, in her life. She brought their first grandchild down to meet him, small hand waving from the warm bundle in her arms. Then the second, and the third, speaking their names so he would know them, and they him.

Her family had tried to get her to sell up, to move on. To a place further south where the sun shone all the time, where old joints could feel young again. But she couldn’t leave their special place and, in the end, they came to understand.

And so it was, on a night toward summer’s end, while fireflies danced and the air still held the warmth of the day, that she made her way down to the bench once more, her breath catching as she negotiated the slope. It was silent under the branches, twilight sweeping the sky like soft wings.

She sat down. ‘Come back to me,’ she said, half smiling at her fantasy, dreaming of his touch.

‘I have never left you,’ she heard him say. She looked up, tears in her eyes, to see him standing just a little way down the slope. All at once lights were strewn through the branches, as though the fireflies had been bottled and shaken out along the leaves, glimmers of gold lighting his face, his dark hair, as he smiled at her, holding out his hand.

She stood, and it was as though she shed her skin, all the things that had weighed her down leaving her, so she was light as a soap bubble, rising through the air. She half ran to him, not slipping on the dry needles, her footing sure. She took his hand. ‘Oh!’ Her exclamation was soft, a whisper in the night, as she felt his warm fingers around hers once more.

‘I have missed you,’ she said.

‘And I you,’ he replied. ‘Even though I could see you, and hear you, it wasn’t the same. But now…’

‘Now?’

He said nothing, just looked past her, back to the bench. She turned and, when she saw the slumped body there, like a pile of old clothes, discarded, she understood.

And there was lightness all through her and around her, a thousand fireflies in the night, as she danced with her love once more.


If you enjoyed this post and want to read more, you can find me on Twitter @AuthorHelenJ,  Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Plus my latest book release, A Thousand Rooms, is now available on Amazon.

Thursday Doors – St Leonards Church, Shoreditch

This little green door stands in the porch of St Leonard’s Church, Shoreditch, one of London’s oldest churches.

The original church is thought to date back to Saxon times, but was rebuilt in the early 1700’s after the steeple became unstable, resulting in the glorious building you see today. And if you’re familiar with the nursery rhyme ‘Oranges and Lemons’, you’ll know how the bells sound – St Leonard’s is the church referred to in the line, ‘When I grow rich, say the bells of Shoreditch.’

There is a story, we were told, that Shakespeare was partially inspired to write Romeo and Juliet while in the church. However, I’ve been unable to find any corroboration for this and, as the building in its current state was created long after Shakespeare’s death, it’s most likely untrue. However, it doesn’t detract from the church’s strong theatrical history – there are several notable Tudor actors buried there, with a plaque to their memory from the London Shakespeare League. In the 1500s, two of London’s original theatres, The Theatre and The Curtain Theatre, were located nearby, where several of Shakespeare’s plays were first performed.

I visited the church this past weekend for a family wedding. Inside the paint was peeling, the floors back to bare boards. Apparently, they’re about to spend a fortune restoring the building. However, I like it how it is now, all the layers of history apparent, and feel fortunate to have visited when I did.

And as for the Shakespeare story? Well, it may not be true, but you never know…

This is my entry for this week’s Thursday Doors Challenge, courtesy of Norm 2.0. For more doors, or to add one of your own, visit Norm’s site and click the link.


If you enjoyed this post and want to read more, you can find me on Twitter @AuthorHelenJ,  Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Plus my latest book release, A Thousand Rooms, is now available on Amazon.