Retire

I have enjoyed following Tara at Thin Spiral Notebook for several years.
She is a writer of fiction, an artist, photographer and so much more.
She is an inspiration.  And I particularly like her 100 Word Challenge.

But today I saw that it is 16 months since I last entered the challenge – so here goes!

“I’m too young to retire,” she said. “What would I do with my time?”

Sitting around  the dinner table, she was upset that her husband who had recently retired, thought she should do so too.

‘We can go on trips together” he said. “Buy a Winnebago and travel to all the parts of the country we have never seen just as we always said..”

And now, three months later she couldn’t imagine not being retired.

After so many years working and with no time pressure, they had time to get to know each other again  as they travelled the country.

 

 

Welcome Another Year

 

This from five years ago. How time flies and how almost in the blink of an eye, life changes. Today I am going to spend time with a friend – lunch and chats. Perfect.

 

“There are only two ways to live your life.
One is as though nothing is a miracle.
The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
― Albert Einstein

2014 was a busy and traumatic year for most of the world.  Terrorism seems to be gaining the upper hand.  We saw all those schoolgirls kidnapped in Nigeria, uproar in the middle east, riots and protests across the US, aircraft lost either vanishing into thin air or being in the wrong place at the wrong time.  So we hope that 2015 will be a better time for all of us who inhabit this wonderful world.

So now it is the beginning of the second year of my new life.  I have been so lucky to have a second chance at love – I almost said life and love but I need no second chance at life.

I have always said I have lived a blessed life.  A long and mostly happy marriage, two adult children and four fantastic growing up grandsons, who could ask for more?  And then some 18 months ago into my life sailed this new love.

I have written about 2014 and what a busy year that was.  My sister came from London for five weeks, we went to Hobart to visit the Museum of New and Old Art.  We went to Europe for three and half months and saw so many things that if my partner hadn’t taken 18,000 plus (yes in excess of eighteen thousand) photos I wouldn’t remember half of what we saw and did  Then we moved house with all the attendant hiccups that brings.  And then suddenly it was Christmas.

Our plans were for a quiet Christmas but the best-laid plans and all that.  We had visitors for the weekend before Christmas, friends with three of their adult daughters, then on the 24th my daughter and her two boys came for a prolonged lunch and then it was Christmas Eve.  The other two grandsons visited and exchanged gifts and stayed for lunch and a friend who was to spend Christmas with us arrived.  That day we heard from my partner’s son that they “were all looking forward to spending the day with you”.  So what was to be just three of us and my partner’s aged (99-year-old) father in law turned out to be a celebration of 10 people.  But it was fun.

And it didn’t stop there.  Friends for lunch, friends for dinner, dinner with partner’s son and family for New Year’s Eve, a visit to friends at the beach and in the middle of all this, the 99-year-old fell and smashed his face and ended up in hospital.

And of course, Christmas is in the summer here.  Most people are on holiday and we have had a constant stream of visitors since.  But hey – who’s complaining!  We are having fun and the weather is co-operating so barbecues are the order of most days.

So I am going into 2015 with a happy heart and full of excitement for the year ahead.  We are planning a less eventful year but anything can happen to change those plans.

“I may not have gone where I intended to go,
but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.”
― Douglas Adams,
The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul

BAD TURN Blog tour

I had written and scheduled my post for the blog tour in advance as I was going to be away for a few days.  Earlier I had asked Zoe about this, one of my all-time favourite, series and she generously agreed to write something for my post. Here she gives us a hint of how she gets into a book and bit of a background into Charlie Fox’s character and the effects some of the situations in which she finds herself, have on her. So a second post for today.

And a really  big thank you to Zoe for this :

“Dysfunctional (Crime) Family

BAD TURN: Charlie Fox #13

Zoë Sharp

At their heart, the Charlie Fox novels are action-filled crime thrillers. But I hope that’s not all they are. Exploring the effect that the events of the stories have on Charlie herself, as well as on the other characters involved, has always been one of my main interests.

I like to know what makes people tick. How far they can be pushed. And, in the end, what makes them break.

It’s why my bad guys are rarely all bad. Everyone has shades of light and dark about them. After all, if you’re going to make your antagonists think they are really the heroes of their own story, you have to give them some reason to believe it. You don’t have to like them, as a reader, but you have to be thoroughly engaged by them.

Charlie usually arrives as an outsider into an already established group. Often she is seen as unwanted interference. She has to do her best to protect people almost in spite of themselves.

As was the case with BAD TURN.

Charlie walks into a complicated arrangement when she first meets Helena Kincaid. Without wanting to give any spoilers, let’s just say Helena is not having a good day.

Her husband, Eric Kincaid, wants to protect his wife above all else. He thinks making Charlie an offer she can’t refuse is the best way to go about this. And he is in a hurry to put his own choice of bodyguard in place, otherwise, he knows Helena’s overbearing father, Darius Orosco will step in.

Helena has been shielded all her life—almost to the point of suffocation. It’s hardly surprising she’s going to push back against anyone assigned to stick by her side, night and day. But Kincaid is between the proverbial rock and a very hard place. He wants to keep Helena happy but if he gives her the freedom she craves, how can he keep her safe? And if he can’t protect her, he’ll have her father to answer to.

Orosco is not a man to be taken lightly. Especially not when Kincaid not only married into the family, but into the family business as well. He went from employee to CEO almost overnight. Now it seems that his father-in-law might be regretting handing over control. Perhaps he’s not quite as ready for retirement as he thought.

Of course, it doesn’t help when you consider that Darius Orosco ran one of the largest international arms dealing operations on the East Coast—one that Kincaid is now in charge of. Kincaid wants to put his own stamp and style on the way he does business. Orosco is not keen on any changes to the old way—his way—of doing things.

The power struggle between the two men puts in jeopardy the one thing they both hold dear—Helena. But she is no passive virgin in the tower, content to sit meekly by and leave the decisions to the men of the family. No way. She wants control of her own destiny. In that respect, she’s very much her father’s daughter.

Nobody wants to admit they might be wrong, and nobody wants to back down, pulling the supporting cast in conflicting directions as they try to work out where their own loyalties lie.

All this is not destined to make Charlie’s job any easier. But then, her life would be boring if it was all sunshine and roses, wouldn’t it?”

And, thanks to Zoe click here if you want to read the first three chapters of BAD TURN

 

 

 

Zoë Sharp created the no-nonsense heroine of her highly acclaimed Charlotte ‘Charlie’ Fox crime thriller series after receiving death-threat letters as a photojournalist.
She opted out of mainstream education at the age of twelve and wrote her first novel at fifteen. She has been making a living from writing since 1988.
As well as her award-winning series, she has written standalone works, collaborations with espionage thriller John Lawton, and numerous short stories.
Her work has been used in Danish school textbooks, inspired an original song and music video, and been optioned for film and TV.

 

BAD TURN is published in ebook, mass-market paperback, hardcover and Large Print editions on September 27 2019. For more information visit www.ZoeSharp.com

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Contact:

Zoe@ZoeSharp.com

 

 

 

 

 

Bad Turn Blog Tour

 

A new Charlie Fox Book – the 13th in the series. Yes really!

Bad Turn

I posted on this book on my other blog, Books&morebooks on July 31 after receiving my ARC copy. As always, I was excited about the book and thoroughly recommend it.

At the end of the last book (No 12). Charlie gave notice to her Boss, Parker Armstrong and as a consequence has no job, nowhere to live and because of a non-competition clause in her contract with Armstrong Meyer, she can’t get another job in close protection in the US. So we find her house sitting in rural  New Jersey, bored with this dull life so different from what she is used to.

However, one day she drives into an ambush and immediately jumps into protective mode, not knowing who the ambushed victims are and as she is unarmed, risking her own life.  Her firearms were returned to Armstrong when he gave her notice to vacate the apartment in which she was living

It happens that the ambush victim is Helena, wife of a well-known arms dealer, Eric  Kincaid and because of the ambush, Charlie is offered the job of protecting the wife. She has no option but to agree. The owners of the house she is house-sitting are due back from Europe shortly and she has no other job opportunities on the horizon. To continue reading click here.

So let’s see what others on the Blog Tour are saying:

ZoeSharp-BT-BlogTourPoster

 

Author bio:

authorzoesharpZoë Sharp created the no-nonsense heroine of her highly acclaimed Charlotte ‘Charlie’ Fox crime thriller series after receiving death-threat letters as a photojournalist.
She opted out of mainstream education at the age of twelve and wrote her first novel at fifteen. She has been making a living from writing since 1988.
As well as her award-winning series, she has written standalone works, collaborations with espionage thriller John Lawton, and numerous short stories.
Her work has been used in Danish school textbooks, inspired an original song and music video, and been optioned for film and TV. www.ZoeSharp.com

Amazon

Facebook

Twitter

goodreads

 

Contact:

Zoe@ZoeSharp.com

Another Favorite

I have just been listening to Piaf singing La Vien /rose and just knew I had blogged about her. But was it really eight years ago.?

I choose how I will spend the rest of my life

Her life was so sad that it was almost too beautiful to be true” Sacha Guitry (Alexandre-Pierre Georges (Sacha) Guitry)   French stage actor, film actor, director, screenwriter, and playwright.  1885 –  1957

Edith Piaf is my favorite singer of all time.  I don’t remember how or when I heard her first but for as long as I can remember I have had a fascination with her and her life.

She had this amazing voice that spoke to directly to you even if you didn’t know enough French to understand what she was singing about.  Of course, we all know “Non, je ne regrette rien”   and many of us have seen the film made of her life “La Vie En Rose”

Piaf movie poster

I have several books written about her life.  One I particularly like is by her half-sister Simone Berteaut.*  In it she tells of their meeting when Edith was…

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A Different Day

Driving home after coffee with a friend today, I passed the cemetery. This is where the ashes of my late husband were put so many years ago.

I am not in the habit of visiting the cemetery. I don’t need to go there to feel near my DYS; he is here with me all the time. But today I was attracted to the place.

As it is so long since I have been there, I had to find out from the staff where he was. Once before when I went there, I told the woman I had lost my husband – but before I could explain she took me into the office and offered tea and tissues.

So today, I was very clear, explaining that it was a while since I had visited. So with map in hand, I found him.

 

it was a lovely day and a beautiful place to sit in quiet contemplation, thinking of all the years we had together, and the years I have spent without him.

It will probably be several years before I go back, but it was a lovely way to spend an hour on a sunny, autumn afternoon.

Circumstances or people can take away your material possessions,
they can take away your money, and they can take away your health.
But no one can ever take away your precious memories.”
Judith Baxter, Mother, ‘Grandmother, Sister,
Aunt and Friend

 

 

 

Another week in the life of..

It has been a week of mixed emotions.

Sunday dawned bright and sunny and as it was Mothers’ Day I was awakened by a visit from my son. A great start to a good day.

On Monday I wrote about a new life, the death of one friend and another friend who was spending time in the local hospice.

Wednesday was another mixed day. My grandson’s graduation and my friend’s Memorial service. A new life beginning and another one ending.

Vic

It’s at such times that I stop and think about all that is good in my life (I hope you do too). How lucky am I to have these four fine, upstanding young men whom I am pleased to call my Grandsons. And how lucky that I have a supportive son and daughter, and daughter-in-law.

Wendy’s life is now over, Drew’s new life is just beginning and I will continue to choose how I will spend the rest of my life – filled with gratitude, adventures, and love.

   Drew Graduation
My grandsons are all so tall – I look like a midget beside Drew.

And of course, no post would be complete without Mary Oliver

“Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
With your one wild and precious life?” 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Another day in the life of

Yesterday here in Aotearoa was a beautiful autumn day, warm, bright sunshine and all was well with my world.

We welcomed Gabriella Isabel into this world and I celebrated with a proud grandmother.

At the end of the day, the news was not so good. I was no longer celebrating. A friend had succumbed at last to the cancer that was invading all parts of her body. She originally had breast cancer at about the same time as I had mine; I had radiation therapy, she had chemo.  A not unexpected death,  but hurt and grief nonetheless.

Next, I heard from a friend who is in the hospice for a few days while they sort out her medications. This is a woman whom I met following my misadventure in 2016 and who became a friend as we tried to get back into the real world. Unfortunately, her results were not as good as mine and were exacerbated when cancer was detected.

I mused deep and long on two friends, both of whom had the same problems I had but with such different results. And once again I thank whichever god is looking after me. Thanks for this fine body that knows how to heal and allows me to continue along this long journey we call life.

But then, my heart was lifted when I had dinner with my daughter, her friend and my number three grandson and girlfriend. Dinner was lovingly prepared for us by the young ones and much talk and laughter surrounded us for the next hour or so as we shared thoughts and told tales to each other. A perfect panacea.

So the day started and ended with joy. Then reading this post from my friend and sister-of-choice, Chris at Bridgesburning, (obviously written after I shared my day with her), I realised that this was indeed, a day perfectly depicting life.

So today’s another day. A day for meeting friends, sharing thoughts and rejoicing in the fact we are alive. And again more thanks for family and friends who help at times of loss and on whom I depend.

“To live in this world you must be able
to do three things
to love what is mortal;
to hold it against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go.”
Mary Oliver

Guest Poem………

I have followed Wendy Mitchell on her journey with Dementia for some time. Here’s today’s post and I was so moved that I just had to share it.

Which me am I today?

I love sharing poems from other people living with dementia as every voice is important and if I can share that voice then that makes me happy.

I was recently sent an email from a lovely lady in New Zealand. She originally lived in Bradford and wrote “I was involved, way back in 1992 when Professor Tom Kitwood there ran his first dementia group” – how amazing…❤️

The other day Barbara emailed me this lovely letter and poem:

“Can I share with you a poem I wrote recently, in order
to try to share with other ‘how it is’, but knowing I could only do it
in advance by sitting quietly and letting the words flow. I found that
what I had written even surprised me, mentioning aspects I hadn’t yet
admitted to myself.”

She asked me to include her email at the bottom just in case anyone wanted to get…

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Living Up to Our Inner Hero

I can’t help wondering how I would react if put to the same test as Victoria’s mother. And now she is facing her own dilemma, This is well worth reading.

Cold

2010-07-27 23.55.01 A couple of days ago – on May 1st to be exact – my mother ambled over to me and eased  herself down onto our living room sofa, where I sat reading.

“It’s my anniversary,” she said.

Knowing that she and my late dad had been married in November, not May, it was clear she didn’t mean that anniversary.

“May 1st is when I celebrate going to jail,” she clarified.

In 1958, when my mother was nearly sixteen, she was caught trying to escape Communist Czechoslovakia and imprisoned. My grandfather, who had snuck back into his former homeland to retrieve his daughter, was roughed up, handcuffed and dragged into custody. In fact, he was hauled into the same cinder-block interrogation facility where my mother was locked up.

They’d been separated for ten years already at that point. My grandparents, who were viewed unfavorably by the new Czech regime (not only because they were…

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