Thursday, 31 May 2012

Where The Heart Is - a short excerpt

Sharing some dialogue between my two main characters in Where The Heart Is.

    “You need to think more before you do things,” he remarked.
     She frowned.  “I don’t need a lecture from you.”
     Looking at her, he replied, “I think you do.”
     With hands on her hips, she glared at him.  “I don’t care what you think,” she announced.
     He stood and moved towards her, and she felt her heart race.  She stepped back and then realised she was cornered.  Antonio put a hand on either side of her, gripping the bench, and stared into her eyes.  She blinked rapidly, swallowing the lump in her throat.  “Don’t you?” he asked.
     Unable to get her voice to work, she stared back at him, her eyes drawn to the cleft in his chin.  “No,” she finally managed, and then noticing his heart-shaped lips, added, “Yes.”
    Antonio cocked an eyebrow.
    “You’re...con...confusing me,” she stammered, her skin hot under his sultry gaze.
    With a smile on his lips he stepped away from her.  She stared at him wide-eyed.  ‘I’ve never seen this side of him before,’ she decided, watching him return to his chair and drinking his coffee as if nothing had happened.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Excerpt from 'Where The Heart Is'

I'm sharing an excerpt from my novel - Where The Heart Is.  It is based on a true story and my character, Navid, is based on my friend, Robert, who passed away much too soon.

   Looking at him, she knew she should mind her own business, but could not help from asking, “Is your father still in Iran?”
   He was silent for a moment. “My parents are dead,” he replied.
   “Navid, I’m sorry,” she said, guiltily. ‘I should have kept quiet,’ she realised.
   “It is not your fault. Khomeini brought in oppressive laws and many of our freedoms were outlawed. Even popular music was banned.”
   “Really?” she asked in astonishment.
   He nodded and continued, “Curfews were put in place and those of our faith were persecuted or killed. My father realised we were in danger and arranged for me to leave the country,” he answered.
   “How did you get out?” Dani asked, hoping she had not overstepped the mark.
   Navid sighed and pulled out a chair. “I need to sit,” he remarked.
   Dani nodded and did the same, waiting for him to speak.
   “I was hidden in a basket and carried to the border by donkey,” he said. “There were others and when we climbed out of the baskets we had to run. There were people shooting at us and...,” he paused and looked down. “Some never made it. I ran as fast as I could and got over the border into Pakistan. There was a bus waiting for us and we were taken to the Australian Embassy.”
   “A bus?” Dani asked, and Navid nodded.
   “It took a lot of money to get us out,” he replied. “It was...the last thing my father did for me. Later, I heard both my parents and my sister were killed.”
   Dani felt a sick feeling in the pit of her stomach and she thought of Antonio whose parents had also died. “It must be awful to lose your family,” she stated.
   “I was lucky to have an uncle in Australia and was allowed to come and live with him, and now I have a new family, here, at the restaurant,” he declared with a grin.
   Dani looked at him, wondering how he could smile. “Navid, I’m happy to be part of your family,” she told him, earnestly.
   Navid put a hand to his chest and nodded. “Now, I go to work,” he said, and Dani watched him leave the room.


Friday, 25 May 2012


This simplistic photo took me back to my childhood.  When anything was possible.  When everything was a game.

We lived next door to our cousins, and our days were filled with play.  There were six of us at one stage, ranging in ages from two to ten.

Back then, Enid Blyton's children's books played a large part in our games.  But, being one short of the 'Secret Seven' and one too many for the 'Famous Five' - two series of the author's books, we became the 'Secret Six'.

Our meetings were held in the wood shed.  My cousin, the eldest of us all, would write notes which we would burn after the meeting.  It was a dirt floor so the fire hazard was minimal, and besides we had our own personal fire extinguisher if the need came about.  I'll leave that to your imagination.

Of course, not much happened in our small part of the world but we made our own adventures, created our own mysteries.

Those days when we planned and pondered were some of the happiest I can recall.  There's nothing quite like a child's imagination.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Pedigree of Hornby

Following on from my previous post regarding the Hornby Castle, I have found that it is so-called because it was  built in the "Village of Hornby" and not owned by anyone named Hornby.

However, I have found that the family of HORNBY, originally DE HORNEBY or DE HORNEBIE, traces is origins from the neighbourhood of HORNBY-IN-LONSDALE, North Lancashire.

It seems there were several families who resided in the area who used the name of Hornby.

In the early days, names were sometimes associated with the area in which one lived or by the work one was associated with.  For example, I have found an "Adam (the Tanner) of Hornby", whose son became known simply as "William of Hornby".  I can only guess that over time the 'of' was eradicated completely.

A few interesting facts did come to light so I have a little history to ponder over.  And it seems some land was granted to these early Hornbys by Margaret de Nevill(e) or Lady of Hornby who it is thought occupied the Hornby castle in the 13th century.

All-in-all, an interesting history lesson.

Hornby Castle

Sunday, 20 May 2012

A Sunday Poem

Castle Of Poets

© Mike
The castle is a place where poets dwell,
Where each can cast their wondrous spell.
From the turrets high to the dungeons deep
From each portcullis to the central keep.

Its powerful walls keep foes at bay.
They keep us safe from day to day.
The knights are brave and fight with zeal.
In armored suits and swords of steel...

The poets live as all men should.
Side by side in brotherhood.
The magic of rhyme is all they seek
From modern tongue to ancient Greek.

The castle echoes with the sound of joy,
And haunting words from man and boy.
The maidens fair who live within
Pen words of love and carnal sin.

For each one here there is a place
To release the soul from its inner space.
With words of mirth and sorrow both.
And witches spells of evil oath.

The castle grows from day to day
And people come from far away.
But once inside these walls of grey,
They know that they are here to stay.

Their words are all that leave this place,
Their souls the castle shall embrace.
So in our quest for perfect poem
We call this place our sonnets home.


Wednesday, 16 May 2012


Hornby Castle, Lancashire UK

Wow, it's awesome that there is a castle named after the Hornby’s.  I have been told though, by another Hornby, that no Hornby ever lived in this castle.  How intriguing!

So, why was it built and by whom?  My interest in genealogy can’t let this rest.  I have to know the story behind this castle.

And wouldn’t it make a great novel?

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Being A Mother

Thoughts Of You

© Paula Stone

Memories of another time still come
To me and fill my mind, with thoughts
Of you when you were young. I lie awake
‘Till the morning sun comes creeping
Through my window shade, as I dwell upon
Mistakes I've made. What I would give to
Go back in time and feel you’re little
Hand in mine. To cherish each fast and
Fleeting day. To hold you close and kiss
Away, each pain that life will have in
Store and try to give you so much more.
You are part and will always be, imbedded in the soul of me. While I'm
Here, I want to say, that I've loved you
Each and every day and when my time on
Earth is gone.
The privilege was mine to have been your Mom.


Friday, 11 May 2012

Review 'Fat Chance' by Malla Duncan

4 and a half Stars. 

This is the second book I’ve read by Malla Duncan and it didn’t disappoint.

A story of suspense, intrigue and murder, the novel is also outrageously funny. 

Malla’s genius use of description and wit moves the story along effortlessly and compels the reader to turn the pages. 

An underlining message of food and body-image is depicted to perfection with mockery and humour.

Malla’s portrayal of characters, setting and events is outstanding.  I look forward to reading more work from this author. 

Wednesday, 9 May 2012


As I was baking today, I did something that my mother used to do.  It had me thinking about the traditions we carry with us.

My parents are Italian and continue to practice a variety of traditions.  I guess it's their way of holding onto the things that were important to them when they were growing up.

With Italians it's mostly about food!  Probably because it was scarce and they had to improvise.  Food became the focus of their daily lives. They were either growing, cooking, or preserving it.  Sometimes, selling it.

Now, even though they lead more affluent lives, they have held onto the traditions that meant the most.

But I think too, that traditions somehow sneak into your subconscious and you're not even aware of them.  You practice them automatically because it has always been done that way.

Today, as I was baking, I used my mother's method of testing if the cake was cooked, not with a skewer but with a long piece of uncooked spaghetti!

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Unspent Time Launch Party

Get free books and win a Kindle Fire or a Kindle Touch

Warning: reading this novel may make you more attractive and elevate your random luck by about 9.332%*
(* These statements have not been evaluated by any person of consequence!)

From the award winning author of ‘No Hope for Gomez!’ comes a collection of impossible tales. Permeating the cracks between the past and the present is the realm of Unspent Time; time that was allotted but never spent. This is where we find the stories that could have been true.
Read how to enter below.

Sunday brunch; the table overflowing with food and drink, the fine china and silverware laid out, the clock ticking away painfully slow minutes before father finally speaks. "Well son," he says, "isn't it about time you got yourself a job?"

John looks up from his plate. "Dad," he says, "I have a job."

Father nods thoughtfully, chewing his medium rare steak. "I guess it's about time you moved out then. Found a place of your own. Planted some roots."

John is baffled. "But dad, I moved out five years ago. In fact, this is the first time I've been back." He looks over at mother, who shrugs and says, "You know dear, your brother has his own business. He set up an accountancy firm."

John rolls his eyes. "That's me, mom. I set up an accountancy firm. John Williams and Associates."

"That's good to hear," father says. "Always said you should run your own business. You have a keen business sense. You always had."

"I just wish he'd find himself a girlfriend," mother complains.

"What do you mean?" John smiles apologetically at Annabel. "I have a girlfriend, mother, she's sitting next to you. She gave you flowers at the door, remember?" He points at the vase. "You put them in water."

Mother waves it away with a warm smile. "Sorry dear, I meant a proper girlfriend." She squeezes Annabel's hand. "You know what I mean, don't you dear?"

Annabel opens her mouth, but can't think of anything to say.

"Didn't you used to have dark hair," father says suddenly, "and not quite so many arms?" He looks John over carefully. "Yes, yes," he says, "you definitely look different. Did you get shorter?"

"That's enough!" John gets up. He gestures at Annabel to do the same. "If you cannot behave like civilized human beings, then we're going! I can't believe you'd treat Annabel and myself this way. It's appalling!"

Father throws down his napkin and stands as well. "Serves you right, young man," he says. "Serves you right for not going home for five years and then ending up in the wrong house!"

... continued in Unspent Time

How to enter:
For the launch of the new novel I decided to discount it to $0.99 for today (PC and eBook), give away some exclusive content, and raffle off two Kindles. All entrants will get:

  • An exclusive spin-off novelette (not available for purchase anywhere!)
  • Making of Gomez: behind the scenes eBook
  • Signature for their paperback or kindle edition
  • Chance to win a Kindle Fire or a Kindle Touch

(Prizes can be traded for Amazon gift certificates if you already own them.)
Just email your receipt to to enter.
Each purchase counts, so stock up on birthday presents (for people you don't like that much, for instance) The discount ends today, but be sure to send the receipts no later than June 1st.

(Or order the books from any bookstore.)
Coupon code for today: ZB77D

And then get by tweeting about your purchase:

Sound bites from Unspent Time:

“I'm looking into my past lives. I'm convinced some of them still owe me money.”

“I'm very polite by nature, even the voices in my head let each other finish their sentences.”

“I didn’t actually want to do it,” Kiala told the boy. “The universe just kind of conspired to force me to make a fool of myself. It does that quite a lot, actually.”

“Sadly, my socks are like snowflakes, no two are exactly alike.”

Here's what reviewers had to say:

"A veritable page turner of nonstop laughs!" -- Reader Views
"An unputdownable read. a Coens Brothers' film in book form." --
“Extremely witty and clever writing.” -- California Chronicle
"A Party for your Brain!" -- Warren Baxter

Graham Parke is responsible for a number of technical publications and has recently patented a self-folding map. He has been described as both a humanitarian and a pathological liar. Convincing evidence to support either allegation has yet to be produced.

Jeanette's 4-stars-plus book montage

An Offer He Can't Refuse
Emily's Affair
Rough Harbor
The Chosen One
Runaway Heart
Bared to You
Melodies of the Heart
Fifty Shades Freed
Fifty Shades Darker
Fifty Shades of Grey
Somewhere in Time
House Guest
A Cop, His Wife and Her Best Friend
Hero Of Her Heart
All In Time
Asking for Andre
Almost a Bride
The Fence My Father Built

Jeanette Hornby's favorite books »

Jeanette's bookshelf: diversity

In Love With Death
3 of 5 stars true
I liked the authors take on the Angel of Death and enjoyed learning about the individual characters. The story was interesting and I liked the way the author simplified the subject matter. With a little more editing and polishing, this ...
tagged: from-dec-2011-to-now and diversity
An Offer He Can't Refuse
4 of 5 stars true
A thoroughly enjoyable tale. I liked the characters and the situation they were in. A good read for romance lovers.
tagged: from-dec-2011-to-now, 4-stars, diversity, and favourites
All In Time
4 of 5 stars true
An interesting and enjoyable story. I would have liked the unique events to unravel slower and continue longer, but overall, the tale was quite engrossing. A good read.
tagged: from-dec-2011-to-now, 4-stars, and diversity
4 of 5 stars true
An intricately woven vampire tale that keeps you wanting more. The historical and scientific content was unique and engrossing. I particularly liked the way the author separated each character's story in the beginning and then tied the...
tagged: diversity, 4-stars, and from-dec-2011-to-now
House Guest
4 of 5 stars true
A short, creepy and enthralling story. The development of the main character and situation was strangely enjoyable. A good read.
tagged: from-dec-2011-to-now, 4-stars, and diversity