Hotel Paradise

It is a special day today. A Publication Day. Hotel Paradise, my latest story for the Kindle Single store on Amazon, goes live.  Hooray. We are all very excited about it.

As with The Girl in Room Fourteen, it can be downloaded directly to your Kindle or phone or ipad or even your desktop, I believe.

I hope you will rush to the Amazon store and buy it now and help make it the wonderful success The Girl in Room Fourteen has proved to be – thanks to you!

Click on the cover to link to the UK Kindle store and here for the US.


Here at the Olive Farm, life is blessed. The days are warm and full of activity and there is that joyous sense of expectation in the air as the days get warmer and longer and the sun is shining in through the bedroom windows to greet us as we wake. It makes me want to jump out of bed immediately, remembering all that there is to achieve today.

There is a special smell to the soil at this time of year. The prevernal blossoms have died off and the  almonds hail the coming of spring. The red squirrels are out, moving swiftly, purposefully.

We have completed our olive pruning for this year. It has taken four of us to accomplish what has proved to be a fairly massive task. All the trees – 300 and a few more – have had some branches and foliage removed. Some trees have been dramatically clipped and we now have sufficient wood for the next half century. Olive wood is excellent for burning and, of course, for carving. Neither of us have any carpentry skills, but we have been learning to make rather basic chopping boards and coasters. Michel and Quashia, who has been back with us for the pruning season, along with Francisco, a lovely Portuguese gardener who is working with us for a year, chop the logs ready to stock for the fireplace and, when the wood is suitable, they slice off plate-sized chunks shaped like disks. These I smooth and oil. It is very satisfying work. The results tend to be a bit wobbly and are definitely handmade, but our friends enjoy receiving them as gifts.

‘Here you are, one wobbly chopping board!’

The oil we pressed before Christmas is now being enjoyed. It is super delicious and we are making the most of it because after such a heavy pruning season there will be far fewer olives to harvest this coming autumn.

Our oranges and grapefruits (six fruits were produced on this baby tree this winter) are about to blossom, as is the jasmine. It is a very special moment in the year when, wherever you walk in the garden, perfumes abound.  The first roses are out as well. Irises, too. Conifer pollen coats the surface of the pool and the terraces a rich, almost ochre yellow.

We have eagles nesting in the pine forest again. They have been circling very low and I like to think that they know us now, they know that there is plenty of food for them here, food that comes off untreated terrain. No pesticides on the trees and plants or sinking into the earth means that insects and birds abound. There are voles, mice, red squirrels aplenty, foxes and, as much as I squirm at the sight of them, even rats and snakes. The owls and eagles can banquet here and they are safe.

We were having lunch in the garden a week or two back and saw an amazing sight. Two sedges of cranes making a helluva racket. I heard the noise first. ‘What’s that?’ I said,  and then the darkening of the sky above us as they travelled south on their early season migration. It was really quite spectacular to behold. They had flown from Finland, perhaps Russia.

In three weeks time, Scholastic is publishing The Only Girl in the World (3rd April), a First World War love story for young adults. Here is the jacket:The Only Girl in the World

So, two new offerings from me, both of which I hope you will enjoy. Back to work now.

I am keeping my fingers crossed that after you have read this newsletter you will be on your way to Amazon Kindle to buy Hotel Paradise. The story is set down here along these Mediterranean shores. It is rich with images to delight your senses.

Be well. Keep reading, and thank you for taking the trouble to look at this update. If you are cleaning up your garden or allotment after the winter storms, please think of the honeybees. Choose bee-friendly plants and please buy from nurseries where they are not lacing their products with pesticides.

Have a wonderful spring, or autumn if you are reading this in the southern hemisphere.


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