Hilarity in my handbag

Patricia Feinberg Stoner is presenting an extract of her award winning book. ‘At Home in the Pays d’Oc’ is the funniest book I have read this year: I am still recounting her anecdotes at dinner parties. Forget ‘Victoria’, someone should serialise this book for the Sunday night audience – we all need a laugh!

It is an honour to hand over to, the wordsmith, Patricia Feinberg Stoner. 

 

Dear readers,

I’m so pleased to be able to share At Home In the Pays d’Oc with you.  In this extract I’ve chosen the moment when, after a long search, my husband and I first set eyes on what was to become our home in the Languedoc.  It’s my abiding memory, even after 30 years, and I still feel the lift of excitement I felt that day.  I was sure then, and I am sure now, that when I first walked into the dusty, red-flagged kitchen, the house opened one eye and said ‘Well, you took your time getting here.’

Why read At Home in the Pays d’Oc?  Look at the state of the world!  If we are all going to hell in a handbag, then wouldn’t it be nice to have something light-hearted to offset the doom and gloom?   I hope this book will encourage everyone to follow their dream and see where it takes them.

I hope you enjoy this tale of our adventures, and that the book brings you something of the sunshine and fun and laughter that our sojourn in the Languedoc brought to us.

With all good wishes

Patricia Feinberg Stoner.

Extract:

Jean-Jacques, the estate agent, turned right, drove up a narrow street between ancient houses, turned the corner and stopped. We got out of the car. On the corner of the church square and a road so narrow you could have spanned it with outstretched arms, stood the ugliest house I had ever seen.

It was clearly old, very old. It was clearly cobbled together out of what had been two houses. It rose slab-fronted from the street, acres of decaying, yellowish crépis (plaster) bisected by sundry phone and electricity cables. A ridiculous stone staircase flanked by a stunted tree rose ungracefully to a pocket-handkerchief front terrace littered with debris and encrusted with cat droppings.

I stopped dead in my tracks. ‘Ohmigawd’ thought Himself to himself (as he told me later), ‘we’ve just bought a house.’

Why?  There were prettier houses. There were certainly prettier villages – Morbignan in those days was, to put it politely, a little run-down. What made me fall so immediately, so irrevocably in love with this house in this village?

Did I see possibilities in the tree?  In years to come it would grow so high that it could be seen on Google Earth.

Was I enchanted by the steps, crumbling and lichen-dappled though they were? Did I foresee their future when, cleaned and decorated with pots of scarlet geraniums, they would prompt visitors to exclaim ‘What a lovely house!’?

Who can tell?  All I can say is, the heart wants what the heart wants.

More about this ‘tale of accidental expatriates’…

This is the story of how a small brown and white spaniel turned the lives of two English holidaymakers upside down.

Patricia and her husband Patrick are spending the summer in their holiday home in the Languedoc village of Morbignan la Crèbe. One hot Friday afternoon Patrick walks in with the little dog, thinking she is a stray. They have no intention of keeping her.

‘Just for tonight,’ says Patrick. ‘We will take her to the animal shelter tomorrow.’ It never happens. They spend the weekend getting to know and love the little creature, who looks at them appealingly with big brown eyes, and wags her absurd stump of a tail every time they speak to her.

On the Monday her owner turns up, alerted by the Mairie. They could have handed her over. Instead Patricia finds herself saying: ‘We like your dog, Monsieur. May we keep her?’

It is the start of what will be four years as Morbignanglais, as they settle into life as permanent residents of the village. “At Home in the Pays d’Oc” is about their lives in Morbignan, the neighbours who soon become friends, the parties and the vendanges and the battles with French bureaucracy.

It is the story of some of their bizarre and sometimes hilarious encounters:  the Velcro bird, the builder in carpet slippers, the neighbour who cuts the phone wires, the clock that clacks, the elusive carpenter who really did have to go to a funeral.

At Home in the Pays d’Oc‘ has won a Five Star Book Award from One Stop Fiction.  Here is a flavour of the other reviews:

Part memoir, part travel book, wittily written and engaging, At Home in the Pays d’Oc is so much more than ‘how to live in a foreign country’.  Despite being penned anecdotally, it flows with the rhythm of a good novel. Ingenue Magazine

The author, Patricia, in this captivating book, takes the reader on a voyage of discovery, a celebration of the years she and her husband spent enjoying their French home.  Susan Keefe, Living in France

What I most admire about the couple’s story is their attitude to life in another country. (While Many expats are the “Little Englanders,” the Stoners make a real attempt to integrate into the social system of their adopted village.  Kathleen Lance, One Stop Fiction

Patricia is passionate about humour, food and writing; she loves all dogs and some people.  She has written: ‘At Home in the Pays d’Oc’, ‘Paw Prints in the Butter: A Clowder of Comical Cats’ and ‘The Little Book of Rude Limericks’. Her writing is witty, entertaining and a joy to read.

Patricia is releasing her ‘Little Book of Rude Limericks’, on 15th November.

Read my review of ‘At Home in the Pays d’Oc’ or visit Patricia in my Chat Room.

Join Patricia’s blog for her latest news and mewsings.

paw-prints-in-the-butter.com

 

Please see all my  Book Extracts and my blog at jessiecahahlin.com.

 

Eric Seagull, storyteller, landed on my handbag

Introducing the engaging, children’s writer, Caz Greenham and her collection of seafaring adventures.  Who doesn’t love Eric Seagull

Dear readers,

I’m delighted to present an extract from my third children’s book in “The Adventures of Eric Seagull ‘Storyteller’” 3-book-series. ‘The Christmas Circus’. The extract below is taken from one of the many short chapters, making storytelling at bedtime easy.  This gives you a peep inside the magical, fun, seafaring world of Eric Seagull ‘Storyteller’ set in picturesque Brixham Bay. I chose to share ‘The Christmas Circus’ with you today because it’s a seasonal read. A time of friendship and caring at Christmas. And, as we’re already halfway through the month of October (a time I begin my own early Christmas shopping) it would be a great stocking filler for any child. The paperback copy has an eye-catching beautifully illustrated red glossy cover.  A feeling of friendship, and companionship, will be easily recognised in this seasonal read.  Eric Seagull will tell you more about the story

Happy reading,

Caz Greenham

Extract

‘Let’s set the scene, it was Christmas Eve!’ squawked Eric. Eric shuffled from side to side then hopped onto my bag. I think he could smell the gingerbread cookies I had bought from the bakery as a little treat. Caz wagged her finger at Eric and he commenced by setting the scene.

When I received an invitation to The Christmas Circus at Ladybird Cove, the herring gull invited his two friends along. With his tiny best friend and housemate Mouse Herbie, the white mouse, safely aboard his inner feathers and Norman Mail Pigeon following closely behind, they took off from my home (Rock-Face Nest) at St Mary’s Bay in wintry South Devon. After seafaring adventures with Lady Beatrice, Arthur Jellyfish and the Dawn Chorus, I spotted a sign: ‘Christmas Circus This Way’. But the adventurers soon discovered double trouble awaiting them inside The Big Top.

I’ll read you my story.  Eric perched on my handbag and started to tell me the story and it felt as if I was actually in the midst of the adventures.  He remembered every single word beautifully, and Caz was so proud of her little friend. He moved around a little, resisted the temptation to dive into a passer-by’s fish and chips and started to speak…

Extract selected by Eric.
‘You can sleep in the attic room at the top of the winding staircase tonight,’ Eric told Norman. ‘Tis a cosy room and no one should be home alone at this festive time.’

Norman agreed and thanked Eric for his big heartedness.
Norman looked at Herbie. ‘There’s some news that I’ve been meaning to share with you, dear mouse. Your homemade dandelion soup is the talk of Berry Head Park, you know. I look forward to sampling a large bowlful during lunch tomorrow.’

Herbie warmly smiled. ‘There’ll be sweet turnips baked in the oven, baby carrots, and potatoes grown in Eric’s compost. And wait ‘til you taste my best plum pudding.’

Eric Seagull’s long tongue swiped his beak as he listened to his friends chatting about tasty food.

Norman Mail Pigeon landed on the bench and dropped a role of paper.  I removed the red ribbon, opened up the rolled paper and found some reviews of the books.

Ronnie says… ‘I’m delighted to see this author has written a third in this series. I bought the other 2 books already, and have to congratulate the writer on her amazing writing talent and imagination. My grandson has been a follower of Eric Seagull and will love his stocking filler. His eyes will light up when he sees I have been able to obtain an author signed copy, once again. Thank you Caz Greenham. I am looking forward to a 4th in this series real soon. My grandson will be showing off his new Christmas book at school in the New Year, no doubt.’

Louise wrote… ‘After enjoying book 1 and 2, I was excited to hear that book 3 was out! Eric goes on amazing adventures and the author of this book has such a great imagination. The stories are written so well and a nice and easy read, lovely to read to children of very young ages too. Great family books and really enjoy reading about Eric and his exciting adventures.’

About the author
Caz Greenham worked as a secretary for more years than she cares to remember. She’s a mum to grown up daughters, and proud granny to 4 grandchildren aged 2 – 17. She lives in South Devon with her husband and 2 cocker spaniels.

Caz is a great storyteller and says that…
Typing ‘The End’ is a great feeling of relief and achievement. Heavy sighs! However, a sense of loss always follows the finish of all my books! More sighs!

Website: www.cazgreenham.com
Twitter.com/@CazsBooks

Selection box of Christmas stories for my handbag

Introducing author, Wendy Clarke, and her new collection of stories.

Dear Readers,

I am delighted to present my Christmas story collection, Silent Night and the extract I have chosen is from the story Project Christmas. It’s about a young man struggling to create the perfect Christmas for his young children after their mother dies and I chose it for its poignancy.

I hope you would like to place Silent Night in your handbag as the collection is a heart-warming read and perfect to dip into, while curled up on the settee with a drink and a mince pie.

My stories have been published in the Christmas editions of various women’s magazines. The extract is from the first story in the collection, ‘Project Christmas’. When it was published in Take a Break Fiction Feast they changed the name to ‘It Will be Perfect’. 

Festive wishes!

Wendy Clarke

Light the fire, make yourself some hot chocolate, with a hint of Christmas cinnamon, and peek at this extract.

Extract

Their first Christmas without Paula. The thought made his heart ache. He didn’t know how he was going to do it, but he’d made up his mind that, whatever happened, he would try and make it the same as it had always been. For the children’s sake… for all their sakes.

The only problem was that Christmas had always been his wife’s domain – just as the children had been. Apart from stringing the lights up under the eaves and carving the Christmas turkey, Paula had been happy for him to leave the bulk of it to her. Now it was down to him alone.

What I need is a list, he thought. It was a practical start. If he worked through it, methodically, and tried not to be sidetracked by thoughts of Paula singing to the radio as she stirred the pudding, or tickling him as he stretched up to put the star on top of the tree, he would be able to do it. He was a project manager, after all. Well, he used to be – now his days were spent taking the children to school and doing all the jobs Paula had once done to keep the family going. Yes, that’s what he’d do. He’d made up his mind – this would be his project.

More about the collection of short stories

Silent Night is a collection of short stories with a Christmas theme. All thirteen stories have previously been published in national women’s magazines. If you like moving tales with a satisfying ending, then this collection is for you.

Andrew and his children are grieving. Can he make this a Christmas his late wife would have been proud of?

Bella needs to get away from it all but her Christmas cottage by the sea holds more than a few surprises.

It’s Christmas Eve, the night is starry and two young men realise they have more in common than they realise.

The stories in this collection are a window into the lives of ordinary people at this special time of year. They offer hope, comfort and the knowledge that the spirit of Christmas is often found within ourselves.

These Christmas stories have been written over a number of years and it is exciting to finally be able to see them all together between the covers of one book. When you put together a collection of short stories, you have the privilege of entering the lives of a whole cast of characters in a variety of settings from all walks of life.

About Wendy

Wendy has written serials and a number of non-fiction magazine articles. She lives with her husband, cat and step-dog in Sussex and when not writing is usually dancing, singing or watching any programme that involves food!

 

 

It is exciting to offer Wendy’s gift of short stories to you.  A perfect choice if you want to indulge in some festive fun, or if you are searching for a Christmas present.

 

A psychologist needed for my handbag

Letters to the Pianist

S. D. Mayes

 

 

 

 

 

Introducing S.D. Mayes and her debut novel – ‘Letters to the Pianist’

 

About the book

‘A Family Torn Apart. A Past They Can’t Escape.’

After their home is bombed in the London blitz, a chance connection brings the broken Goldberg family back together, but delivers rebellious and overweight Ruth Goldberg, into the hands of a murderer.

Letter from the author…

Dear readers,

I am delighted to present an extract from my new 1940s suspense novel, ‘Letters to the Pianist’.

This extract is taken from a third of the way into the story, when the pianist, Edward Chopard – a man with no memory of life before the London Blitz – is in New York, preparing to play a concert at Carnegie Hall. His good friend, psychologist Dr Oliver Jungston, has taken a sabbatical to help him on his concert tour.

This gives you a snapshot of the central theme of the story … how the protagonist, Edward is driven to make sense of the confusing events that are happening to him, as he attempts to discover who he really is.

Enjoy,

S.D. Mayes

Extract

The hospital psychologist Dr Oliver Jungston explains to his patient, Edward, about his troubled visions and the chance events unfolding in his life. 

‘These connections … the young boy, the blonde, the London Hospital, your lunch with John the chance meeting with the redhead, even our conversation right now – they are known as meaningful synchronicities.’

Edward looked baffled, rubbing his chin.

‘To explain, Jung’s philosophy is based on the principle that life is not a series of random events, but rather an expression of a deeper order, referred to as Unus mundus, Latin for one world or one energy. A meaningful coincidence occurs from a conscious or unconscious need, want or desire, that draws the observer and the connected phenomenon together through Unus mundus. Listen to me, Eddie,’ he said, standing up and waving his arms around like a conductor of an orchestra, ‘it’s all good.’

‘So you don’t think I’m slowly going insane?’

‘Not at all. These coincidences reveal a deeper realisation that something more powerful is at work. In short, the unconscious you, has brought about a chain of events so that you can rediscover your past. Your soul is pushing you to confront your emotional history.’

‘Hmm, sounds a bit mystical.’

‘Well, in a way it is. Jung believes these meaningful synchronicities direct us back to our spiritual nature.’ Oliver gazed into the distance. ‘There are links in every living thing. We magnetise them to us. There are no accidents.’

What the reviewers say…

‘Letters to the Pianist has a gripping and multi-layered plotline’ – The Daily Mail

‘Exceptional and unique … will remain with me for a very long time’ – Booklover Catlady

‘Mayes has written a masterpiece. Savour the words and let the pages turn themselves’ – John Winston, award winning author

‘This was an incredibly atmospheric novel that brilliantly depicted the effects of ww2 – loss, fear, grief, helplessness, poverty, evacuations and separations; whilst also being a very suspenseful and thrilling story. Detailing horrific acts committed against Jews – the torture made me somewhat uncomfortable – and conspiracies regarding the war.
I utterly loved the way this was written. It was immensely rich with descriptions and added great depth to the characters. The words flowed beautifully and created a vividly imaginable story, wholly capturing the ambience of war. The multiple POVs also gave an insight on the characters’ circumstances, thoughts and emotions.’ – Svetlana’s review

S.D.Mayes worked as a journalist for nearly twenty years before turning her hand to fiction. Originally from the West Country, she has one daughter and currently lives in Berkshire, United Kingdom.

The best of luck to S.D.Mayes with the unique and intriguing novel.

 

Please see my blog at jessiecahalin.com

A ghostly extract in the pocket of my handbag

Lay Me to Rest, Elizabeth Clark

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is the book about?

Lay Me to Rest’ is the story of the newly-widowed, pregnant Annie’s attempt to overcome her depression, by renting a remote cottage in Anglesey. Her arrival, however, triggers violent, unexplained disturbances within the house and the “holiday” soon becomes the stuff of nightmares.

Why should I keep your book in my handbag?

You’ll want to keep the book to hand – there are several momentous events throughout, so you’ll probably want to keep turning pages!

Extract

Again, the same line, yet louder and more persistent. It seemed to reverberate round the walls. I was in no doubt now that the words had been uttered with venom; that someone – or something – meant me harm. My breath came in shallow, rapid gasps. I was filled with a feeling of unreserved dread.

As my eyes grew accustomed to the dimness, I could discern a silhouette, apparently seated at the foot of my bed. I opened my mouth to scream but the power of speech seemed to have deserted me. I could do no more than watch in sheer terror, as the mattress rose slightly and a nebulous figure drew to its full height, releasing a rush of icy air. I could not – dared not– conceive of what might ensue. I was petrified.

I stared helplessly at the apparition; through the gloom, its body resembled the shimmering negative of an old photograph; but the eyes receded deep into their sockets, as black and fathomless as a calm lake. My stomach lurched as the spectre brushed past me, only to vanish into the wall. I sat, rigid with fear, hardly daring to breathe. My heart pounded so loudly in my chest that it seemed to fill my whole head.

The tension shines through in this extract and involves the reader. Elizabeth’s debut novel is receiving very positive reviews. This is a gripping thriller; perfect for fans of Kerry Wilkinson, Sarah Wray and Stella Duffy. 

E. A. Clark

The novel is currently on offer.  Find out more about the book at:

Bag a Bargain

Elizabeth will talk more about her book in an interview on Friday. This ghostly book is released on Friday, 29th September. Warning!  You won’t be able to put this book down.

 

Please see my blog for more articles, book reviews, author interviews and adventures at jessiecahalin.com