Miriam Wakerly Whispers Secrets In Appley Green / @MiriamWakerly / #LLm

Hello everyone! Today we’re featuring Secrets In Appley Green–A 1960s Village Novel by Miriam Wakerly. Read on to learn more about this title…

Secrets In Appley Green: A 1960s Village Novel

Secrets In Appley Green: A 1960s Village Novel

Three naïve, but very different, Appley Green schoolgirls pledge to stick together for ever, but when one of them gets pregnant, this pushes their promise to the edge. More info →
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Excerpt From Secrets In Appley Green

Hover over the text and scroll to read the excerpt.

They returned to the task, trying to think of neighbours, old friends from Girl Guides, the Church and primary school who had drifted out of touch, finally ending up with a motley list of forty.

‘You know, I think that’s enough,’ said Alison, looking around the house a little doubtfully now, imagining these rooms full of jazzy music, cigarette smoke, people jiving and … whatever else might happen. She supposed her parents wouldn’t mind in the least; after all it was the kind of thing they did often. They were great party-people; in fact on that very evening they would be at the Devonish soirée, although Julian and she were never included in such shenanigans.

‘I could make some invitations if you like,’ suggested Molly. ‘Perhaps do a little drawing on each one.’

‘What sort of drawing?’ asked Nicola, doubtfully. ‘Kittens and daisy-chains tied up in pink ribbon bows?’ Alison was not sure she liked the way Nicola took the mickey out of little Molly. It was decent of her to make the offer, after all.

‘Well, if you like …’

Nicola snorted. ‘I think maybe some bottles, glasses, cigarettes, sausages on sticks might be better …’

‘Oh yes, I see. All right then. I’ll do that. Thanks Nicola.’

The sun came out and they went out into the long garden that extended maybe a hundred yards, where it backed onto woodland and heath. The herbaceous borders, displaying a feast of colour, were initially and keenly planned by her father and now, with barely a square inch of soil showing, were maintained by a gardener, an ex-soldier who had been injured during the war and walked with a limp. The warm air had that summer smell, pollen-dusted bees buzzed in and out of the resplendent bright pink hollyhocks, lupins, foxgloves and delphiniums, while tortoiseshell butterflies fluttered around the spikes of a buddleia bush.

Lying like the three hands of a clock-face, on a tartan rug spread out on the mossy grass beneath a rowan tree, they were squinting up through the delicately splayed out foliage, dappled sunlight flickering across their faces. A distant ice-cream van was playing Greensleeves; they could faintly hear the rhythmic churn of a lawn-mower and a nearby blackbird trilling its heart out. Otherwise, it was peaceful. The house was tucked away along a driveway about half a mile from the village green with just one near neighbour.

Alison then fetched lemon barley drinks and the other two sat up as she handed round a tin of broken biscuits. ‘You know what we said about not having any secrets?’ Nicola and Molly nodded. ‘I think we should get any secrets out now, don’t you? It’s part of the bonding process.’

The other two frowned at her as if she had spoken in a foreign language.

‘Mmm. OK. You mean confessions,’ agreed Nicola, with a wicked smile. ‘Are you a virgin? Alison, you go first.’ She was suppressing a giggle, Alison could see. I didn’t ask you here to be mocked, she felt like saying. She wanted to tell them that was her business and retain an air of mystery, but realised she was hoist by her own petard, a metaphor she had recently come across and seemed pleasingly apt.

‘It depends what you mean by virgin,’ she stalled.

‘I think we all know what ‘virgin’ means!’ cried Nicola, laughing, and Alison wondered if Mrs Brown, who could now be heard clipping her lawn edges in the adjacent garden, had caught that.


Miriam’s Café Order

What would Miriam order in our café? “Latte and Danish pastry with, if possible, raisins, nuts, apricot puree or confectioner’s custard – not that I’m in any way fussy.”


Miriam’s Music

Miriam was inspired by Neil Sedaka.

A Gift Of Appley Green / @MiriamWakerly / @anneli33

Happy Saturday! Any exciting plans for the weekend? How about getting away with us for a little while? Here at the Author’s Café, we thought we’d escape to a quaint English village for a look at what life’s really like there, before flying over to Mexico’s Baja Peninsula for a little romance and a lot of setting. Read on for more on this edition of The LLm Author’s Café!

 

Shades of Appley Green

Shades of Appley Green

Author:
Genre: Contemporary
Steph is a special, but troubled young woman. Chosen by the most venerated man in Appley Green to fulfil his mission, she feels publicly admired rather than privately loved. She certainly does not trust men! More info →
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Excerpt From Shades of Appley Green

Steph reflected that people everywhere go through these things all the time. Parents die, babies are born, work comes and goes, families move house. This was the stuff of life. She remembered how she would tell herself they were lucky to both have jobs and two healthy children and over again she would count their many blessings.

‘.. but if I give up my job, Lucas will have to wave goodbye to his idea of increasing our mortgage …’

She was brought back to reality by Barnaby striding into the bedroom, still in his boxers. “I’m going with Faith to see wonderman,” he announced.

“Excuse me?” she said, hurriedly slipping the Diary under her pillow and getting out of bed.

“Your hero bloke! You know. Faith said I could go with her.”

Steph’s mouth fell open. “I don’t think so!” She shook her head, surprised that her daughter would go ahead and fix something like that without telling her, or asking her permission in fact. “I’ll speak to her about it …”

She tapped lightly on Faith’s bedroom to warn her she was coming in. “You awake?” she pushed the door open.

Faith was dressed, brushing her black wavy hair – the complete opposite of her own straight, fair hair – in front of the full-length mirror. She turned to look at Steph with an easy-going smile; she was so beautiful, a female version of Lucas, Steph felt a lump in her throat. If only Lucas could be here with them now to see how his children had turned out …

“Hi!” said Faith. “You look awful.”

“Hmm. Thanks. Faith – did you tell Barnaby he could go with you to see Jackson?”

“No-o. He kept going on about it and I said I’d ask you,” said Faith pulling her hair up into a scrunchie. “He took it as a definite maybe. Think he feels left out.”

She had half-guessed this might happen from the start. Steph sat down on Faith’s bed. “This may be getting a bit too cosy, you know. I shouldn’t be involving my family as closely as this with work.”

“Oh, Mum. He’s more than work. A blind man could see that!”

Steph looked up sharply. “What do you mean?”

 

 

Orion’s Gift

Orion’s Gift

Will fear become their nemesis or will passion and trust surmount the violence and hostility they have endured? The exotic landscape of Mexico's Baja Peninsula, described by an author who has been there, provides the backdrop for this story of romance and treachery. More info →
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Excerpt From Orion’s Gift

Kevin held the boat steady for me. It had a 9.9 Johnson mounted on the stern. I shuddered. Johnson. Sylvia and Joel Johnson. Well, I wasn’t going to allow him back into my life. I was finished with Joel for good. And to think I actually missed him the first few days. Good riddance, Joel. If I don’t see you before I die, it’s fine with me.
“Here’s your life vest, Sylvia.” Kevin was practical, organized, and savvy about the real things in life. Unlike Joel. For that matter, everything about Kevin was unlike Joel. Could be why I liked him so much.
“Thanks. Do you think we’ll see any dolphins?”
“We might if we get out some distance into the bay. Let’s push off and we’ll putt out a little way and have a look around.”
We glided over the glassy water easily. A couple of hundred yards from the beach, Kevin cut the motor and we drifted in the sudden silence.
Now that we were sitting still and the air was no longer whooshing past, I felt the soothing rays of the sun soaking into me. The early morning wisps of mist had lifted from the bay, leaving clear blue sky reflected in a deeper blue sea. I filled my lungs with the fresh, salty air.
“Have a look.” Kevin handed me a pair of binoculars. “Up towards Mulegé, Bill told me. If you see any fins or tops of their bodies breaking the surface, let me know and we’ll try to get closer without spooking them.”
Moments later, I pointed. “There!” Kevin started the motor and, at a slower, quieter speed, angled the boat towards the school’s probable destination, so that eventually our paths would cross.
Hundreds of sleek bodies broke the surface only to curve and dive down immediately and reappear a few yards farther on. Kevin cut the motor again and we drifted, a mere speck in the middle of the huge Bay of Conception, closer than we had hoped to a huge school of dolphins, all aiming for the head of the bay.
“Listen to them!” I whisper-shouted to Kevin. The mewling, whistling, singing, and crying, as they repeatedly broke the surface of the water, was an eerie choir piece. Hauntingly beautiful, it gave me goosebumps in spite of the warm day. Kevin’s face mirrored my feelings exactly—somewhere between awe and ecstasy. My mind was suddenly in turmoil, balancing this rare and precious moment with the realization that I probably had few of them left. Peaks of happiness and bottomless pits of misery played havoc with my emotions.
My eyes filled with tears. “Thank you for bringing me out here. That was so beautiful.” I lowered my head. Just needed a moment.
“It would have been a shame to have to enjoy this all alone,” he said.
Still trying to come to terms with the amazing spectacle we had just experienced, we sat a moment longer watching the last of the dolphins disappear in the distance.
“Uh-oh!” Kevin pointed towards the open end of the bay. “Whitecaps.” He started the motor and turned the skiff towards home. Within minutes, the breaking waves had moved much closer and the glassy smooth surface changed to ripples that grew into an uncomfortable lump. I’d heard San Diego fishermen talk about the lump in the sea. Now I knew what they were talking about.
“Hang on,” he said. “It could get bumpy. I’ll take us to the nearest point of land and then we’ll work our way home along the beach.”
I gripped the gunwales of the boat where they began to curve towards the bow. We bucked into the choppy whitecaps that had now overtaken us. In no time, the sleeves of my blue cotton shirt were soaked from the spray. Two-foot waves didn’t seem like much but they followed one after the other so briskly that the small skiff took a pounding. My stomach clenched into a knot of fear as we were tossed in every direction. I tightened my grip against the bouncing of the boat. More waves splashed over the bow, soaking the front of my shirt. I was glad the water was warm. It would have been an ordeal to be splashed with icy water every few seconds. The finer spray wet my face so the drops were running off my chin. I glanced at Kevin in the stern of the boat. He was completely dry except for a bit of salt spray in his hair. He looked so good and I could only imagine what I looked like. Drowned rats came to mind.

 

Recipe of the Day

By Sansvase (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
By Sansvase (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
How about a little taste of Mexican coffee? Though I’m not so sure this will be the brew you want to start out your day, but rather end it.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 Tbsp Tequila
  • 1 Tbsp Kahlua
  • 1 cup strong brewed coffee
  • 1/3 cup melted vanilla ice cream

Directions

  • In a large mug, combine Tequila, Kailua, and coffee.
  • In a small bowl, melt vanilla ice cream in microwave for 20-30 seconds.
  • Add ice cream to the coffee mixture and serve immediately.

 

Music of the Day

Says Anneli…

The songs I associate with the writing of Orion’s Gift are ones I heard played on someone’s portable (old-fashioned now) cassette tape player on the beach that was the setting for Orion’s Gift. Crosby, Stills, and Nash have been long-time favourites of mine, and their songs “Southern Cross” and “Change Partners” fit the storyline for my book perfectly.

Says Miriam…

CD – Adele’s 21 – Moving, emotional lyrics in all her songs, but words haunted me from Rolling in the Deep – ‘… we could have had it all …’ Succinct and powerful, this tiny sentence says so much and must’ve been something that Steph in Shades of Appley Green thought constantly, albeit as a strong character she did not allow herself to be beaten.

Adele’s songs, in fact the titles alone, could provide inspiration for entire novels! The following track, Rumour Has It, for example – well, don’t villages thrive on rumour and gossip?