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?