ON PARIS

"If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris ... then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast." Ernest Hemingway

Wednesday, 15 April 2020

#WEPff entry for #WEPApril #writingchallenge. My #flashfiction - It was Evie's Idea - a #Covid-19 story.

Whoops! This published a tad early. Never mind. WEP is live in 5 hours... 

Hello all who come by!

It's time for the #AprilWEP challenge. During this time of Covid-19 and the challenges it brings, many of us are finding strength, more than ever, in our writing. 

My flash came to me when I woke one morning a few weeks' ago, no doubt brought on by the constant inundation of Covid-19 news stories from around the world.

I hope you enjoy my story, which when I analyse it, is a love letter to Santorini in the Greek Islands where I spent a wonderful day a couple of years ago. Like my hero, not long enough.

WEP CHALLENGE FOR APRIL 2020! - OUR CHALLENGE - ANTIQUE VASE.

EVIE’S IDEA

It was Evie’s idea to holiday on the Greek Islands, to spend a day on Santorini, the insanely beautiful jewel set in the Aegean Sea.

It was Evie’s idea to walk every square mile of that island, to explore every cave where in World War 11 she told me the locals hid from the German invaders, spending days and nights huddled together, existing on raw onions and grass, all that stood between them and mass starvation.

That was until the Germans discovered the caves and the onions. There was nothing left for the island inhabitants.

They suffered.

They starved.

They died.

As we walked through the streets of Oia along the ridge overlooking the waterfront, Evie regaled me with history of the Greek Islands I never knew, history she’d kept to herself. ‘To prolong life, the islanders bartered everything they owned, everything they couldn’t eat. Their possessions were few. Just old bowls and utensils belonging to their parents and their parents before them, all the way back to antiquity. They didn’t know these relics would one day be considered valuable. All that was valuable at the time was their lives and the lives of their children.'

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Hustling along the beautifully tiled streets of Oia, Evie grew increasingly irritated by the crowds. They pushed their way along the ridge, stopping to take in the breathtaking view over the sea, cameras snapping the whitewashed buildings tottering down the cliffside.

Up and down one set of narrow concrete stairs after the other.

Where to Stay in Santorini - Neighborhoods & Area Guide - The ...

Then Evie grabbed my arm. She spied the vase. An antique vase. Perched on its pedestal. In the window of the smallest shop I’d ever seen.

‘Look.’ She pointed to the whitewashed walls, the bright blue painted door, the red checked curtains framing the windows. ‘Isn’t it darling?’

Evie thought everything was darling, except the hot mess of tourists pushing and shoving, anxious to cram everything into this island-hopping experience, anxious not to miss the ship which left in two short hours. When they looked down the hill to Fira, the capital, their cruise ship loomed like a threat.

‘Evie, let’s keep moving. There’s still a lot to discover.’

She stood gazing in the window, mesmerized. ‘I must have it,’ she said, clambering down two steep steps into the tiny hole-in-the-wall-dusty-with-desperation shop.

The vase didn’t look as good at close range as it had from the window. Its main features were covered in years of dust and grime. How long had it been sitting there, waiting? Evie’s lineage was Greek and by the rapt look on her face as she traced the delicate lines of the vase, I saw that she was transported back in time to the stories from her mother’s childhood during the German occupation, how they’d survived on a diet of onions and grass.

The old Greek shopkeeper approached, his eyes rheumy, his hair tousled and falling past his shoulders, his front teeth missing as he beamed at us.

I insisted on checking the base to see if it said made in China, but no, it seemed genuine, something we could take along to the Antique Roadshow next time it came to Yorkshire.

‘There are very few of these old vases left,’ the old guy said, lighting up a filthy-smelling cigar and blowing smoke at the vase. ‘This one I found myself in a cave high up in the hills near the caldera. Someone had buried it aeons ago. Must have been their treasure. You are the first to show an interest. Perhaps it was meant for you.’

We made it down the chairlift to the boat, bathed in the glorious marmalade sunset over the Aegean Sea.

Two Amazing Spots to Watch the Sunset in Oia, Santorini | Earth ...

Evie clutched her vase to her chest as we stood on the deck, watching the twinkling lights of Santorini disappear. Her eyes were alight with the fervour one feels when given a peek into the past.

‘We must come back soon,’ she whispered, tears running down her cheeks.


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Home again

I checked in on Evie every evening. We’d share a glass of ouzo and toast to our next trip. Both being alone, we loved to travel together.

‘I must go back to Santorini,’ she said, a week after we arrived home. ‘I want to spend days, not hours, exploring. I want to know more about my ancestors. When I listened to mother’s stories, I was detached. Now I’m invested.’

As we planned our next travel adventure, she nodded at the vase in pride of place on her mantlepiece.

The vase. Evie was completely obsessed.

I had to admit it was beautiful with its classic lines, its black silhouette figures, its scrolls.

Then Evie took sick.

We’d congratulated ourselves on making it home before Covid-19 hit, but it appeared we hadn’t.

Evie tested positive.

I tested negative.

The hospitals struggled to contain the outbreak.

Evie demanded she isolate at home.

I was no nurse, so I hired one. I did everything I could. But Evie was over seventy. In the high-risk category.

Her descent was swift.

Hospital. Intensive care. Respirator. It killed me to watch her through the glass, gasping for breath as pneumonia took over her lungs.

Dressed in my hazmat suit, mask and gloves, I was allowed a minute to say goodbye.

Her bony hand reached for mine. ‘Son,’ she said, ‘Come close. Listen.’


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After the outbreak was over, I sipped ouzo on my tiny terrace in the cave-house AirBNB in Oia, anticipating the sunset, talking to the antique vase in the center of the glass table.

‘Evie. Mother. I’m back. I brought you to your favorite place. We didn’t have much time that day. Now you have eternity.’

At sunset, as the golden-orange-pink tipped sun dipped into the Aegean Sea, I made my way down the rocky slope to the rocky shore, my arms covered in red welts from the riotous red bougainvillea growing wild, snatching at me each step I took. I reached the beach made up of black, red and white lava pebbles.

Mind Games - 1000 EUR Oia, Santorini Greece -

I uncapped the lid of the precious antique vase. ‘Goodbye Mother.’ Her ashes caught the wind.

It was Evie’s idea.

Her final resting place would be the Aegean Sea.

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WORDS: 1,010
FCA

Go HERE to read more WEP stories for ANTIQUE VASE.

If you haven't yet participated in WEP writing challenges, or you've backslidden, we warmly invite you to participate in two months' time for our June challenge: 


I'm writing this over the Easter weekend, eagerly anticipating Andrea Bocelli's Easter Sunday concert on youtube. Here he sings a favorite of mine. Very apt during this time of Covid-19.


Enjoy my post? Please hit my buttons!


Wednesday, 1 April 2020

#IWSG post. Guest Post - Yolanda Renee - Birthing doesn't have to be murder. Writing real-life experiences in your novel.

Hi all!

For April's IWSG, I've invited my good buddy and WEP co-host Yolanda Renee, to tell us something we didn't know about her and her writing. We've been communicating much more during this time of Coronavirus, keeping each other's spirits up. How are you doing? Australia has stringent social distancing laws, (only 2 people allowed to meet now), so it's great we're all so digitally connected. Something came up in one of Yolanda and my conversations, and it just happened to coincide with the first day of her blog tour. As the IWSG is about our insecurities/securities, I'll let you make up your mind where Yolanda falls.

After her post, you'll find her tour schedule and buy links and a Rafflecopter Giveaway. I hope you'll support Yolanda on her tour through MC Book Tours.


Top Site for Writers


Alex's awesome co-hosts for the April 1 posting of the IWSG are Diane Burton, JH Moncrieff, Anna @ Emaginette, Karen @ Reprobate Typewriter, Erika Beebe, and Lisa Buie-Collard!

Please visit if you are able!



Writing Your Real-life Experiences Into Your Novel

In Murder, Just Because there's a birth scene. I won't give away the details, but I will admit to writing the scene based on personal experience. I thought I'd take a moment to explain that here, and no, I won't be going into the gory details. I did that in the book. 😊

When I first learned I was pregnant, I was determined to give birth at home. No doctor needed to be involved. I mean, really, women have been giving birth as long as wo/man has walked the earth, but with all their intellect and mechanical gadgets, doctors figured they had a better way. Nope, I didn't buy it. I was very secure in my decision and took steps to make my vision reality.

I found a licensed midwife, but her caveat, she only delivered in the hospital. Damn, foiled again. But at least I'd be in a birthing room with a midwife. I capitulated, much to my husband's delight. He, of course, thought I'd gone off my rocker. Sometimes the decisions we make, we have to push forward in our self belief, even if distracted by those who don't 'see' it.

The big day came, or should I say night. Midnight. No sleep for us. My water broke. Off to the hospital. I'd been on my feet walking in circles around the apartment for hours. I knew it was time, I'd been having contractions all day.

We arrived at the hospital after one am. Straight to the birthing room. The contractions became stronger and stronger as they do. The midwife was dealing with another patient, someone who'd already given birth five times, and since this was my first, she was sure I'd take all night. She left us alone to get on with it, which was fine with me. I was full of self belief. I could do this alone if need be. 

The midwife thought I was just overreacting to the pain and offered 'drugs' as help. NO! I insisted. I need to push. She just threw her hands up and walked out of the room. The rigid tilt of her back said: Stupid primigravida! What would she know? First baby! Pfft.

I did what my body told me to do, and before anyone knew what was happening, I was cradling my son. Pushed him out and pulled him up into my arms. The rest of them, husband included, crowded around, just stood and stared. They hadn't even prepared the bed for delivery. 

But, hey, I wanted to do it my way, and I did. Jason, my son, got an APGAR point total of 10. An Apgar score is a 1 to 10 rating the summarizes the health of a newborn.

Newborn tests positive for COVID-19 in London | Live Science

We were home by noon that day. 

The stereotypical births portrayed on television are done for the laugh track, but most women think only of the child and act only for the child. Suppression of pain, control of breathing, and only thoughts of having a healthy birth is how it's truly done, and that's how I did it and wrote it in my latest novel.


DISCLAIMER: I know that isn't always the case, and that delivery can go all wrong with no fault on anyone. I was clearly blessed. My go-it-alone decision was validated. And I pray for the same for every pregnancy.

Thank you Yolanda. I'm not sure if I was supposed to be, but I was highly entertained. Go girl!

Murder, Just Because


Short Blurb:
The Snowman is back, and as his bloody rampage continues, terrified Alaskans increasingly doubt Quaid’s abilities. In a deadly game of cat-and-mouse, Jenkins starts picking off the people in Quaid’s life… and drawing closer to the most important person in Quaid’s life...his wife. The Snowman’s cruelty knows no bounds,  but the object of his hate knows no fear!

Tagline:

The Snowman’s cruelty knows no bounds, but the object of his hate knows no fear.





Bio:


Looking for a new adventure, Renee recently moved to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. A storyteller from a very early age, an avid reader, and with an education and background in business and accounting, becoming a writer only made sense. And writing mysteries pure logic.






More titles from Yolanda:

MURDER, JUST BECAUSE
LINKS
Author Links:
 Email: yolandarenee@hotmail.com
If you want to follow Yolanda's tour, here is her schedule:


Murder, Just Because Tour Schedule

April 1            Denise Covey – Guest Post - Writing Your Real-Life                                  Experience Into Your Novel
                        Mythical Books – Q & A & Excerpt List
April 2            Constantine – Guest Post - Creating a Serial Killer
April 6            Mystery Writing is Murder – Guest Post How I Wrote My                          Mystery
                        Spunk on A Stick – Feature
April 7            Lisa Haselton’s Reviews and Interviews – Q & A
April 8            The Warrior Muse – Top Ten List of Literary Detectives
                        Random Thoughts – Excerpt & Feature
April 10          Ellen Jacobson Author – Q & A
April 13          Christine Rains – Writer – Review & Excerpt
                         Alex J. Cavanaugh – Guest Post -Top Ten Murder Movie 
April 15          Elizabeth Seckman, Author Guest Post - Heaven on Earth
April 17          Writer’s Gambit – Q & A & Excerpt
April 20          Tara Tyler Talks – Interview
                        H.R. Sinclair – Guest Post - How to Write a Thriller 
                        Rockin’ Book Reviews – Review & Top Ten  Highlights of                         My Life
April 24          Write with Fey – Guest Post - Evil Exists
April 27          Just Jemi – Q & A
April 29          Thoughts in Progress – Review
May 1             Celticlady’s Reviews – Feature



GIVEAWAY DETAILS:

This tour-wide giveaway is for a complete set of the Detective Quaid Mystery series books for one winner, paperback copies of MURDER, JUST BECAUSE for five winners, and a Kindle copy of MURDER, JUST BECAUSE for 10 winners.

To enter the giveaway, just click on the Rafflecopter widget below and follow the instructions. The widget may take a few seconds to load so please be patient. If the widget doesn’t show up, just click HERE and you’ll be directed to the widget.


Thanks for stopping by and be sure to follow Yolanda on her week-long tour HERE. You never know what you might find out. Do you enjoy watching a character grow from one story to the next?


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Yolanda is the host for the April WEP challenge. She has written a preliminary post today about the new challenge. Check it our HERE. Get ready to post on April 19. Hopefully, if you're doing the A-Z, you can fit your flash or poem into the letter of the day.


If you enjoyed Yolanda' post, please tweet!


@YolandaRenee #booktour #guestpost  #WritingReal-lifeExperiencesinyournovel https://dencovey.blogspot.com/2020/03/iwsg-post-guest-post-yolanda-renee.html
@DeniseCCovey @MasonCanyon