It has been the most amazing start to the year and I want to share my adventurers with you
But first - after four months of travelling the world for research and writing purposes -
I am pleased to announce
NEW CLASSES - SUMMER WRITING SESSIONS AT
THE STANDARD, MIAMI BEACH - SIGN UP NOW
WEDNESDAYS IN JUNE 12th, 19th and 26th and
17, 24, 31 in July 2019 6.30pm-8pm
AUTHORS WEEKEND RETREAT
Friday 12th, Saturday 13th, Sunday 14th July 2019
Wednesday classes $75 each (includes spa day pass)
Author Retreat - weekend rate $299 - Saturday one day workshop available at $149)
book at email@example.com
305-704 3945 Wednesday classes $75 each (includes spa day pass)
"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
-- Mark Twain
Having taken Mark Twain's words to heart, in a couple of days, I set off on a great adventure. A Grand Round the World Voyage. From January till May, I will be cruising to exotic locations while researching and planning my next book. It is the trip of a lifetime and I plan to enjoy every single day. From time to time, I will keep this page updated. How amazing it will be to see all those fascinating new places, meet interesting new people and throw off those bowlines. The far horizon awaits. I have no agenda except to
EXPLORE, DREAM, DISCOVER.
Happy New Year to you
Read all about it - Miami Book Fair is about to begin. (11th -18th Nov) For the first time in many years, I will not be attending - BUT - I am more than proud to tell you that two first-time authors from the Standard Spa summer writing classes will be presenting their published works.
Congratulations to Elena Djakonova, her fabulous novel
Glass Slippers and Champagne, is an explosive and seductive insight to Miami high society and the celebrity lifestyle. Not your children's fairytale.
On the other hand, Barbara Biba Moreno has,
with great grace, written and illustrated an enchanting fairytale; a children's story with a beautiful message called Rainbows from the Heart.
Both of these writers followed their dream and have now achieved their ambition of launching the stories they were determined to share - and their careers as authors.
Elena and Barbara will be promoting their books at the Street Fair at Miami Book Fair (16-18th Nov) stop by and support their wonderful achievements.
And a special thank you to the Standard Miami Beach and their creative program Writers at the Spa which helped Elena and Barbara make their books a reality. Well done to everyone.
Glass Slippers and Champagne
Rainbows from the Heart.
The pages turn and time moves on ..my new novel left home today and entered the design and production process. It is out of my hands. Titled ONCE UPON A LIE the book is a tragic love story. The photograph below shows the exact location on the Altea seafront overlooking the Mediterranean where I wrote the opening chapter. Enter the heartbroken heroine...
Pounding waves crashed over white rock, and the surf rushed to the shore. A sparkling aquamarine sea reflected the painted blue sky with wispy clouds drifting in a tranquil landscape.
God was in His heaven and elsewhere, all may have been well with the world. Alone on a jagged outcrop, a forlorn figure Antoinette Anderson fixed her gaze on the dark underbelly of the treacherous sea. She watched angry waves crash on to black carbon rocks that sparkled with silver in the sunlight, and she remained steadfast as the salt spray seasoned her tears.
Reflecting the black hole that poured into her and overpowered her heart, she craved the moment when she would submerge herself in the inky black water as it splurged over the rocks and foamed with rage. She wanted to feel her body crushed by the excesses of the raging sea.
She knew this isolated place as though she owned every rock and boulder but though it stirred deep, painful memories, she refused to stay away. The torment was sweet torture, precious moments when she felt real, engaged, strangely alive.
Amidst the misery, a light-filled memory of laughter, a protective hand caressing hers and an all-encompassing feeling of being loved that fought to be acknowledged. She denied its existence.
“Love is for the living,” she consoled herself. “I no longer have to believe the lie. I have lost the will to live. I am dead.”
"Grenada, I'm falling under your spell" so say the lyrics of a popular song. There's no doubt, it would be so easy to become spellbound in the enchanted Andalucian city. I have just returned from a road trip to the south of Spain and must report - for those who have not yet been there - the Alhambra, the most important monument in the Iberian peninsula, is truly magnificent. The medieval Moorish palace and the Christian Cathedral built right along-side are breathtaking. The fortress and Generalife landscaped gardens present a picture perfect show-case surrounded by centuries-old winding cobbled streets and mountain-top caves featuring flamenco shows. Grenada has grace and elegance and the Grenadians take pride in the city's rich history and culture. A true Wonder of the World and, despite the two and a half million tourists who visit every year, the Alhambra with its stately back-drop of the Sierra Nevada mountain range leaves one with a sense of peace, beauty and, an awe-inspiring amazement that this man-made masterpiece despite religious wars and natural catastrophe is still standing. I promise myself, I will return. Spellbinding.
They knocked it down! My beautiful building overlooking the Meditteranean. I am beyond sad. For months this dilapidated seafront property on Altea's promenade has lived in my imagination and developed a life of its own in my new novel, Once Upon a Lie. In a Costa Blanca based story of romance and loss and redemption, the central character, wealthy socialite Antoinette Anderson, having had her heart broken yet again, drew inspiration from the ancient whitewashed four-floor edificio. Undertaking a major renovation project, she vowed to restore the property to its former 19th century glory. At the same time, she rebuilt her shattered heart and mind. Stone by stone, window pane by window pane, one wrought iron railing and one sea blue shutter at a time, she transformed the building into the showcase Casa Olivia Rose. A dazzling jewel standing proudly, by the beach reflecting the colours of the sky and ocean.
Now it has been bulldozed. In my story world, the building will remain forever a testament to Antoinette's determination, enthusiasm and her ability to love and trust again. I promise myself to always remember that whatever we go through, we can always rise up and become whole and beautiful - even when we are knocked down!
To read the story of Antoinette and her life-changing encounter with Casa Olivia
Excerpt from the novel ONCE UPON A LIE by Ellen Frazer-Jameson (to be released Fall 2018)
“Grow where you are planted,” Antoinette observed.
One delicate blue flower caught her attention. She bent to admire it and alongside as if placed to form a small shrine, a sacred circle of tiny, shiny, blue shells. By no means expensive, but precious.
Antoinette took it to be a sign that a new bloom flowering beside the sea promised that she too would be granted a new lease on life.
Her mission complete, she climbed a small rickety set of steps up on to the prom and crossed the one-way street in the Fisherman’s or San Pere quarter, a reminder of Altea’s fishing origins. An area of great demographic and economic importance during the 18th century, the cobbled alleyways lead through the Plaza del Convento square to the ruins of the ancient Moli de Bellaguarda watermill. The route marks the start of the well-trodden climb taken for hundreds of years by villagers following religious processions and ceremonial marches to the Place L’Esglesia, and the blue domed Church of de Virgin Consuela.
Gates erected in 1617, still standing and in use, lead to the fortress, and the remains of the Renaissance era granting entry to magnificent buildings from the 18th and 19th centuries.
Lunch would have to wait, but she did have time for a thirst quenching soda. She headed for her favorite restaurant, but it was not open. The season had not yet started, and many restaurants kept their doors closed at lunchtime.
Antoinette sat on a wooden bench to change her shoes and noticed, not for the first time, an utterly derelict building right there amidst all the seafront eating establishments.
The derelict building was partially covered with a faded canvas depicting an ambitious drawing of what a new and renovated structure might look like in the unlikely event that it would ever to be completed.
The canvas, decades old, broken from its mooring, hung crazily half displayed, half caught on a jagged window frame attached to rusted rollers.
A ghost town film set of a broken down building erected to show extreme neglect and indicate that all human inhabitants were long gone, could well use this building as a model of authenticity.
Whitewashed walls with layers of peeling paint, coat upon coat of white, once-was-white and dirty whitish grey, with minimal brushstrokes, has been abandoned in a haphazard pattern of deterioration and defaced with graffiti. Each of the four floors of the once double-fronted building was scarred with broken black ironwork railings and cracked tiles. Wooden shutters hang from creaking hinges and fail to protect shattered glass window panes that leave the interior rooms open to the elements. A blue metal door declares that once there was coming and going.
A flight of going-nowhere red tiled steps leads to a crumbling black ironwork balcony with room for one person to stand or sit or perhaps display a flower pot.
Four stories of long-forgotten hope and past glory. Memories of once fine establishment in the centre of town.
Signs of construction work started and abandoned indicate that one once there was a desire to restore the building. An old-fashioned television aerial is attached to corroded power lines. Multi-strand electric cable stretch across the adjoining alleyway and scar the eyeline up the steep steps to the cobbled streets of the old town.
At the top of the building, in another life, a roof terrace offered a prime location with views out over the promenade, the beach and across the sea.
The original green glass paneled door still encircled by iron railings underneath a beige awning rolled on metal holders. In the courtyard a bushy fern tree flourishes.
Antoinette remembered times when red table-clothed tables and wooden chairs appeared from nowhere, a pop-up restaurant obscuring the broken down building. Friendly waiters lit tea lights and brandished menus and served fresh pizza.
Was that a mirage? A foretelling of what could be?
Antoinette studied the faded canvas. The vision was for apartments with wraparound terraces, a roof garden and retail space on the ground floor.
As if to keep the dream alive, two concrete flowerpots were planted with shrubs, they dressed the front of the building and undertook a brave job to brighten up the exterior.
An old tattered lace curtain fluttered from a barred window on the first floor beside a battered old carriage lamp.
On a ledge, Antoinette strained her eyes as she tried to make out the outline of a stonework statue, in a pot beside it, a long-dead brown cactus.
Modelling the Venus de Milo, the statue had no arms.
In a flash, Antoinette received a vision and saw her future.
The building deserved to be restored, and she was eager to undertake the job. The thrill of a new project coursed through her veins. With a burst of enthusiasm, she believed that the building and her love could rise phoenix-like from the ashes.
Retracing her steps along the promenade, Antoinette observed the profusion of retail spaces, clothes shops, jewellery stores, restaurants and ice cream parlors. The hardworking people who ran these stores would be her neighbours.
On the seafront, she stopped to catch her breath, adrenaline pulsed through her. She rested on a circular stone terrace where the curved balustrades depicted the blue tiles of the church that attracted visitors, artists, and designers.
She trod the wooden walkway down to the sea and consulted her phone. She needed the services of a first class estate agent, and she knew the man to recruit.
Her friend, Jean-Frank came to Altea almost twenty years ago from Holland; he had an enviable network of contacts. Also a track record of renovation and construction. She needed someone she could trust to handle such a massive project for her.
“Ola, Jean-Frank,” she said when he answered his cell phone on the first ring. “Do you know who owns the derelict building on the seafront, the one close to the Tourist Info office?
“I can find out,” he said without hesitation. “Why do you want to know?”
“I want to buy it,” she said. “I plan to restore the building to its former glory. I’m going to need your help.”
Delighted to share with you the major interview I have just had published on Smashwords, the independent authors's website.
with author Ellen Frazer-Jameson
What motivated you to become an author?
All my life I have been a writer. Since the age of 7 I kept a diary. I don't
remember a time when I wasn't actively writing, from the school mazagaine
up to the present day. Most of my career was spent as a working journalist
on national newspapers and magazines. To write a novel was a lifetime
ambition. I still have at least one unfinished manuscript from decades ago
at the bottom of a desk drawer. I've been published in fiction and non-fiction
and co-authored original plays.
What do your readers mean to you?
My readers help me to mirror emotions I am processing
through my characters. When a woman tells me, "You touch
a special place inside me. I feel you know me and relate to
the challenges in my life - and I love the five-star luxury and
the glamourous world you describe."
I laughed when the husband of one of my readers told me,
"Once my wife starts reading a new book of yours, I know
I've lost her to your storytelling world. She becomes so
enchanted, she even forgets to cook dinner."
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
To develop great characters, research amazing locations and develop
a story that will transport my readers to another time and place. My
style of writing is not about the ordinary - it is about the extraordinary.
I love to share my thoughts and feelings with my friends the readers and
together we go through great emotional experiences and find strength
and power to overcome. My books are a celebration of life - and love.
What are you working on next?
Currently I am finishing up my next book the title is
Once Upon a Lie. It's a bit darker than some of my
other books but the connecting chord is love.
Who are your favorite authors?
I love Jackie Collins, (she was British, like me)
her characters are so well drawn, rich and bitchy.
Her gold plated five-star world is where my female
heroines reside. We both have extravagant tastes!
I am also a big fan of the younger, best selling
authors like Gillian Fynn and Paula Hawkins,
Their psychological thrillers never fail to keep
you guessing right to the end.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
The sun shining through my windows if I am at
home in Miami or Spain, or the sound of the rain
if I am in London. I am constantly excited
and enthusiastic about life. Truth is, I spring out of
bed even before the alarm goes off. I tell myself,
"Something wonderful is going to happen today."
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
My passion is to dance the Argentine tango and ballroom
dance classes, especially waltz and foxtrot classes, are how
I keep fit. I am not a gym bunny. I love classical and pop music
and regularly attend concerts and live performances. Culture
nourishes my soul, I love ballet, visiting art galleries and checking
out great architecture. I also do my fair share of retail therapy,
checking out the latest fashion at the high-end designer
stores, Even if I am only window shopping. Bookstores
with in-house coffee shops are another favourite.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I have a never-ending supply of books on my kindle -
bestsellers, unknowns and most important, ones recommended
by friends. It took me ages to get used to reading a whole
book electronically - but when traveling it is a luxury to have
thousands of books to hand in one small device.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes - I was about 6 or 7 and the primary school teacher read
it out to class.The story was a funny one about a case of mistaken
identity with a ginger cat that a little girl wore as a fur collar.
Something must have sparked my imagination. I don't
remember where I saw the cat.
What is your writing process?
When I am writing a novel, I am very disciplined.
I write for at least four hours a day. That produces
2,000 words and I don't allow myself to leave my desk
until I've made my word count. Words on paper is my
mantra, you can't edit a blank page.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
The classics were the ones that inspired my enduring
fascination with literature. Charles Dickens will always
lead my author list, Oliver Twist is perfection.
American writer Mark Twain and his Adventures of
Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. But before these
lofty novels, like most girls, I was enchanted by fairy tales,
Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty. I've written several modern
fairytales and even turned the character, Chicabella, into a stage play.
How do you approach cover design?
The image is always presented to me in my imagination
as I am writing the book. I know exactly what I want.
The challenge is then to work with a very talented graphic designer
to make my vision come to life. The images of my Love trilogy, are
a great example of how an image develops through the continuing story
and the characters in the book came to life on the covers.
What do you read for pleasure?
My books are more about handbags than handguns
but I get excited by masterful storytellers like Lee Child
and Ian Rankin. I am also a huge fan of the thriller writer,
Peter James and his detective and murder series.
I also devour crime books by Lynda La Plante. The
woman's angle on violence and crime is eyeopening.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Describe your desk
My desk is wherever I am, I set up working spaces all over the world.
I use a desktop computer where possible but sometimes for
practical reasons I use a smaller laptop - but never write on my lap.
I insist on a proper chair and desk and clutter is kept to a minimum.
Certainly I put everything away every evening
When did you first start writing?
I have written all my life and kept a daily diary since the age of seven.
Even now I don't miss a day. It serves as a record for when I want to
look back over the years and reminisce - and is a valuable research tool.
What's the story behind your Miami based book, Dark Hole in Soul ?
This is a family saga. Dark Hole in my Soul is set in New York
and Miami. It features three strong, beautiful women and the very
different paths their lives take. Serena is a teen sensation
pop star who falls in love with by a drug dealer, her mother
Kathleen becomes an alcoholic and her grandmother Caitlin
struggles to make anything decent of her life with a wastral husband.
The colourful Cuban community in Miami features in the book
as does the wild and carefree ways of the Irish in New York.
The story is contemporary but timeless. The women all face
their own heartbreak and eventually are forced to find salvation.