Tag Archives: happy endings

Ghosts of the coast

20 Oct

Christmas, 1977. Coolum Beach.

Coolum Beach, c1980

Coolum Beach, c1980

I had earned a prized cassette player (remember those? You don’t?! A shame…). I used it to record songs from the built-in radio and then played them over and over, throughout that long summer holiday. The Bay City Rollers were in the top 40 that year, and so was Linda Ronstadt, singing out her soul about her own coastal retreat.

In the morning, we would scamper down the coal-hot sand to the sea’s edge, shriek at the chill of the water when it hit goose-pimpled thighs, get dumped by the surf often enough to start hacking our lungs up through our throats, then trudge back to the caravan, complaining all the while about sand itching places we couldn’t scratch in public.

In the afternoons we’d lie wherever we could find some shade, and chain-read Mills and Boons we’d bought by the dozen from the second-hand bookstore. Sometimes we’d be allowed to go alone to the cinema across the road, where we perched, squirming, on hessian slingback seats and rolled jaffas or minties along the old timber floorboards when the projector reel was being changed. That summer, a new space movie was playing, and amidst the groans of teenagers impatient with the stuttering, grainy, beach-cinema images I first saw Luke Skywalker survey the desert sands of Tatooine. 04-19-11-tatooine_full_600

At night we’d hang around the big circus tent that conjured itself for one week every summer at the edge of the caravan park. There were no prancing ponies or trumpeting elephants, though; only proselytising Christians who sang and clapped and didn’t seem to mind when we ate their chips and drank their cordial and played with their kids instead of listening to their sermons.

Coolum Beach is different now. The cinema with the hessian bag seats is long gone, and so’s the lady who ran the bookstore. And Linda Ronstadt’s retired her beautiful, smoky voice to her Blue Bayou, a sufferer of Parkinsons. The new freeway means I don’t even need to drive through Coolum Beach anymore to get to my own coastal hideaway.

But, you know, just for old times’ sake…coolum beach

Fancy a romantic coastal escape?

14 Oct

Is there anything more magical, more intriguing, more romantic and filled with possibility, than escaping to the coast?

The sea has been a constant in my life for long as I can remember. It frightens me, it sickens me, it awes me, it draws me, it inspires and renews and recreates me.

My astrological element is fire, if you believe in such things. But my soul craves the sea.

So many of my stories start and end near the coast. In Hearts on Hold, reclusive artist Cate Boyd flees Sydney’s Bondi Beach for the rocky, remote island cliffs of Mediterranean Gozo, after losing her husband to the treacherous depths of the Great Barrier Reef. My current works in progress, too, are driven by the moods and muses of the sea.

So when the chance came to leave my hometown for a little house on the beach a couple of hours north of the city, I grabbed it with grateful hands and a hopeful, yearning heart.

In just over a month I’ll be here:

Peregian secret

…and more than likely humming this.

I’m creating my own romantic coastal escape. I hope you won’t mind if I share this new adventure with you! I’d love to hear your favourite coast locations and experiences, so please drop me a line…

Sarah Belle is in the Calypso Bar!

6 Sep

Sarah Belle writes wonderful romantic comedies about women on fantastic journeys with a hint of magic! I’m delighted she’s brought some of that magic on her journey here to the Calypso Bar!

Why the Calypso Bar? Hearts on Hold is set on Gozo, said to be the true location of the mythical island of Ogygia where, in Homer’s Odyssey, Odysseus washed up on the shores and was saved by the goddess Calypso.

Our Hearts on Hold heroine, Cate Boyd, is struck by the tragedy of Calypso’s fate, doomed to give up the man she loves to the perils of the sea. If you want to find out why Calypso’s story means so much to Cate, you can find an excerpt here.

In honour of Hearts on Hold‘s stunning island setting, we’ve named our guest bar after Calypso, whose grotto home was renowned for its wonderful banquets and exotic elixirs!

So chill your cocktail shaker, pull up a stool and join me here in the Calypso Bar each week as I talk to some fascinating guests about writing, love, and their desert-island essentials (books, music, cocktails… and their favourite people, of course!).

Where is Gozo?

16 Aug

Xlendi sunsetThe question I’m asked most often about Hearts on Hold?  “Where’s Gozo?”

In the Mediterranean Sea, between the ancient civilisations of Sicily on the European continent and Libya in North Africa, lies the Maltese Archipelago. Its three islands – Malta, Gozo and Comino – comprise one of the world’s smallest states. For thousands of years its strategic importance – for trade, for culture, for war – has kept it in the covetous sights of empires and religions.

Gozo, second largest island in the Maltese achipelago after Malta, is said to be the true location of Ogygia, the home of seductress Calypso in Homer’s Odyssey.

Rich in history, rural in character, Gozo’s fortunes have forever been tied to those of its larger sister, Malta. It carries the world’s oldest free-standing structures, in legend the temples of giants. Invaded by the Ottomans in medieval times, repopulated by the Knights of Malta, occupied again by Napoleon’s French before being surrendered to the British, the people of Gozo have learned to adapt, to defend, to endure.

None of that matters to Cate Boyd. After searching for a place where nobody knows her name or asks why she’s alone, Cate has settled in the sleepy Gozo village of Xlendi (pronounced Shhlend-ee, with a sibilant, sensuous shhh at the front). Here she has privacy, anonymity, the serene life she craves, far from her former world.

Her peace is shattered when monolithic development company Vena announces its plans to level her village, and threatens to expose Cate if she stands in its way. Can the arrival of seductive, nosy professor Brandon Blackshaw really be coincidental when Vena is his research partner? Will he keep his promise to help, or will he betray her too?

As the pressure mounts, Cate must decide which is more important: her hard-won privacy, or the future of her beloved Xlendi.

Hearts on Hold is converting readers to the delights of Gozo, its warm, beautiful people and its stunning landscapes. If you can’t afford a holiday in this wonderful place, why not let your imagination and Hearts on Hold heroine Cate Boyd take you there!

MA Grant’s in the Calypso Bar!

9 Aug

Pull up a stool and join us as we chat about Alaskan summers, flamingos and a bright new Red Moon. You’ll find us here.

Why the Calypso Bar? Hearts on Hold is set on Gozo, said to be the true location of the mythical island of Ogygia where, in Homer’s Odyssey, Odysseus washed up on the shores and was saved by the goddess Calypso.

Our Hearts on Hold heroine, Cate Boyd, is struck by the tragedy of Calypso’s fate, doomed to give up the man she loves to the perils of the sea. If you want to find out why Calypso’s story means so much to Cate, you can find an excerpt here.

In honour of Hearts on Hold‘s stunning island setting, we’ve named our guest bar after Calypso, whose grotto home was renowned for its wonderful banquets and exotic elixirs!

So chill your cocktail shaker, pull up a stool and join me here in the Calypso Bar each week as I talk to some fascinating guests about writing, love, and their desert-island essentials (books, music, cocktails… and their favourite people, of course!).

What happens when…

29 Jul

…you start to take a dream seriously?

Not just “put a bit of time into it and see what happens” seriously, but “give up lifelong habits, assumptions and expectations” seriously?

Not just “talk about it” seriously, but “take a real risk” seriously?

Not just “change your routine” seriously, but “change your whole image of your self and your life” seriously?

What happens when you decide you no longer care for the opinions of the people you thought important to your career – at least when it comes to their opinions of you?

What happens when you decide you no longer care for that career?

What happens when you realize the trappings of success and achievement are actually traps; that they mean less to you than the burning, yearning, driving striving that tells you, and then yells at you when you don’t listen: now. Now. Now is the dreamtime.

What happens when you take the deep breath, leap off the clifftop, trust your self and your soul to the soaring, supporting, succoring winds of universal grace?

What happens then?

I don’t know. But I’m about to find out. Wish me luck!

Here’s to a wonderful Sunday.

7 Jul

Don’t miss a moment!

don't miss a moment

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