Tag Archives: Romance novel

Friday in Five

15 Apr

Got five minutes? Here’s what I’ve loved this week.

Jaw-drop of the week

JudithbeheadingHolofernesA new Caravaggio! I can scarcely believe it. In my first-ever visit to the Louvre in Paris many years ago, I spent a few minutes fighting the crowds to see the Mona Lisa then wandered into the gallery next door, where I was very much more moved by Caravaggio’s Death of the Virgin. Since then I’ve become a bit of a Caravaggio crack-head. So I was very excited by this report of an unknown Caravaggio discovered – aren’t they always? – in somebody’s French attic. It’s believed to be related to this painting of Judith beheading Holofernes, currently on display in Rome. Can’t wait to hear where the new discovery will end up – I do hope it becomes available for public viewing.

Pic of the week

Pippa going to the partyEagle-eyed reader and author-in-the-making, Helen from England’s Oldham region, discovered this pretty girl recently and thought she could have been purposely painted for A Case for Trust. If you’ve read the book, you can probably guess the scene! Flirty and fabulous – perfectly fitting! Thanks, Helen!

 
 
 
 

Fashion of the week

Apparently Adidas is ageless! time travel

In another fascinating discovery this week, scientists have discovered a 1500 year old Mongolian mummy, seemingly wearing Adidas boots!

 
 
 
 

Awwwww of the week

Because you were so delightfully interested in the future of our koalas (thank you!), here’s some good news on another critter, very close to my own heart. Brush-tailed rock wallabies, also known as pretty-faced wallabies (for obvious reasons!) are critically endangered in the southernmost parts of Australia, and vulnerable in the rest of their natural geographic range. I have a mother wallaby of this type who often appears in my backyard, and the last two years she’s brought a joey in her pouch with her. This is her right here.brush-tailed rock wallaby kb

Song of the week

darren percivalYou might not know him outside of Oz, but Darren Percival is a local performer who was runner-up in Australia’s first The Voice competition a few years back and has had some terrific commercial success since. The reason he’s my singer of the week, though, is because he’s one of the most generous performers I’ve seen, consistently sharing his “airtime” and visibility with up-and-coming performers. This week he kicked off a series of very affordable workshops that give a whole range of people from all walks of life the opportunity to open up their lungs and hearts and have a good sing. He’s a true “soul” performer in every sense of the word – and his music is magnificent, too. Enjoy!

I’d love to hear what you’ve loved this week! Drop me a note in the comments box? I’m always happy to share!

Gracie x

‘A Case for Trust’ is here!

25 Mar

A Case for Trust Cover
It’s such a thrill to have the chance to bring this book into the world.

A Parisienne Pastiche!

28 Sep

Louvre21

Ah, Paris… City of Light, City of Love, my favourite city in the world. And my home for the next three weeks!

I plan on plenty of exploring, musing and observing, and hopefully plenty of writing!

Paris is a wonderland for the senses, and I’ll be posting some highlights here each day. If you have favourite Parisian places and memories, please share – I’d love to hear them.

Hope you find my favourite city as inspiring, exhilarating and just plain romantic as I do!

On coming home

23 Nov

imageNearly 17 years ago I discovered a little timber beach house with a magical sea view, a cooling evening breeze, a relentless ocean soundtrack and a private, sunny deck. It became my home and haven for the next three days, and my dream for the many years that followed.

Away from the beach house, my life was a tumult. I had a new baby, a newly-diagnosed dying mother and a freshly-sealed divorce. I was drowning in fear and grief and guilt – and maritally-transmitted debt. I felt overwhelmed, battered. I couldn’t see a way forward, let alone a way out.

My husband’s parents had taken my son away for a few days, and a long weekend stretched ahead emptily and aimlessly. I found myself driving north, saw a vacancy sign, enquired. Dragged my misery up the stairs of the beach house, collapsed onto the couch. I didn’t move from it for the first day, wallowing in self-pity and a pretty cheap bottle of semillon (even then, I wouldn’t touch chardonnay).

On the second day I climbed down the dunes and walked the length of the beach, and because of the crashing waves or the scuttling crabs or perhaps the ancient sands, I rediscovered my guts. Or at least, enough of my guts to not drink the rest of the cheap semillon that night.

On my last morning, I walked again down my beach and into the village at the end of it. In the struggling little art gallery, I found a painting that seemed to capture my entire stay – three days that had somehow heralded the Rest of My Life. Peregian secret
The painting lovingly laid out my sandy beach path, studded with sheoak cones, shawled in wallum, shaded in banksia, and disturbed only by a single pair of footprints. It was clearly meant for me, a souvenir, a memory, an evocation, an invitation.

I stared at the painting for an age, desperately tempted to take it home, a talisman against the mess I was returning to. But I was struggling, too, and I decided I couldn’t afford it. Instead, on my way back to the beach house, I collected a couple of cups full of the silky, clean, soft sand and took them home and poured them into my mother’s favourite crystal bowl.

The bowl and its sand travelled with me from house to house, country to country, life to life for about 17 years. Sometimes I would pause and trail my fingers through the sand, but for most of the time it sat, unregarded and untouched, on whatever counter I had next set it down.

Yesterday, the bowl with the sand was packed with my other worldly goods and stored for a few weeks until we can move properly into our new home… the little beach house with a magical ocean view, the mighty crash of waves, an immensity of stars overhead and a breeze like a benediction.

Today, I walked on my beach, my footsteps the only disturbance on the tide-tugged sand.image

I’ll do the same tomorrow.

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!).

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