Saturday, 12 December 2015

Callie's Christmas Countdown

Callie's Christmas Countdown


Synopsis

Callie is an event planner, organising weddings and corporate parties. What she'd really love however, is to organise the perfect Christmas. How difficult can it be after all?  She simply needs to get her divorced parents talking to each other, sort out a Christmas Eve wedding for the daughter of a millionaire and wait for her hunky, rich boyfriend to propose. What could possibly go wrong?

What others are saying:
Michele - "I absolutely loved this book by Julie Ryan, so different to her other books IV READ and equally as enthralling."

Rachel's Random Reads - "There is a lovely sense of humour in this story, and I loved how Callie seemed to care more about others than herself."


Purchase Links 



Author bio and links

Julie Ryan’s roots are in a small mining village in South Yorkshire. After a degree in French Language and Literature, wanderlust kicked in and she lived and worked in France, Poland, Thailand and Greece. Her spirit enriched, her imagination fired, Julie started a series of mystery romances, thrillers set in the Greek Isles. 
Jenna's Journey is the first novel in Julie Ryan’s Greek Islands Series, a series she did not set out to create but which took on its own life and grew, rich and fascinating. This is the first of three published so far and it promises to delight readers looking for the hidden dark sides of dream vacations in the Greek Isles. Pandora's Prophecy and Sophia's Secret make up the rest of the trilogy.

In a totally new departure, Julie's latest release is a romantic Christmas comedy, Callie's Christmas Countdown, is a fun, light-hearted read that you can relax with if you can grab a few moments amidst the hustle and bustle of all that the season entails.




A prolific and well-known book review blogger, Julie does her writing and reviewing from rural Gloucestershire, where she lives with her husband, son and dippy cat with half a tail.
You can find Julie on her websites:
Website/blog for the Greek Isles series
Website/blog for book reviews
Blog

and on Twitter @julieryan18

Rafflecopter Giveaway - Amazon Giftcard

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Saturday, 21 November 2015

My first Greek Christmas

Welcome to a special post where I have the opportunity to introduce five other Greek biased bloggers via a Christmas blog hop.
First though, at this special time of year, I'd like to tell you about the first Christmas I spent in Greece.

My first Greek Christmas 

                                     


I remember feeling quite excited about spending my first Christmas in Greece. Of course, it would be different and I'd miss my family but not having the money to fly back to the UK, I told myself this would be a Christmas to remember. Working in Athens back in 1986, I was particularly looking forward to a few days of peace and quiet on the nearby island of Aegina. Having visited the island during the summer, it had fast become a favourite and when a Greek friend offered us the chance to spend the holiday at his family's villa there, we jumped at the chance.
Not knowing what facilities, if any, would be open on Christmas Day, I packed a bag with a few essentials, and our friend arrived to take us to the port. It was extremely kind of him to do that and to take time away from his own family. The port seemed extremely quiet compared to the last few times we'd sailed but I guessed it was because it was winter and of course Christmas Day. Most people would already be with their families. As we approached the ticket office, however, the real reason became apparent - all sailings were cancelled due to high winds. It was true that the wind was blowing quite strongly, whipping up the waves, yet we hadn't considered the possibility of not being able to travel. To say I felt disappointed was an understatement. It simply felt as if Chritmas had been cancelled and the thought of going back to our tiny 'garconiera' or attic room, which was so small that the bed pulled down from a bookcase, wasn't particularly appealing.
We thanked our friend profusely for his offer and with two small boys waiting for him, guessed he'd be in a hurry to get home. When we asked him to drop us off at our flat, he was absolutely adamant that we would be spending Christmas with his family. He took no notice of our protestations that we would be intruding, nor did he seem concerned about arriving home with a couple of foreigners and in the days before mobile phones, there was no way he could warn his wife in advance. Well, what could we do? We'd been in Greece long enough to appreciate Greek hospitality so we went along, hoping that we wouldn't be in the way.
We needn't have worried. We were made welcome by all the family as our friend explained what had happened. I had no idea what to expect yet we soon exchanging details of how we celebrated in England as our friends described a few Greek customs. We all sat down to eat and I remember a wonderful dish of pasta and beef. It was marvellous to be part of a Greek family during this special time. If it hadn't been for the weather, I wouldn't have these wonderful memories that I've treasured all these years. There really is nothing quite like Greek hospitality and it taught me in turn to extend the hand of friendship to others who might be in need of it.
This year as I sit down to a very British Christmas dinner with my family, I'll be sparing a thought for others less fortunate and setting an extra place for that unknown last minute visitor.


Rafflecopter Giveaway - Amazon Giftcard UK/Paypal Int

If you'd like to visit more blogs celebrating Greek Christmas themes then take a hop through the list below. If you could leave a comment on one or more of the blogs, we'll all be delighted.



My First Greek Island Christmas by Jennifer Barclay
Sugared Almond Biscuits (Κουραμπιέδες) by Amanda Bidirni
Kritsa Christmas by Yvonne Payne
Christmas Stock In by Richard Stevens

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Cover Reveal Jenna's Journey




Release Date:  October 13, 2015
 “Dazzling Greek Isles can hide sinister secrets.”

Synopsis

Leaving town, heading to the Greek Isles without telling husband or friends, is heady medicine for a failing marriage. Seduced by Grecian sun and sky, Jenna innocently buys a bewitching urn that tangles her into the web of a criminal world more sinister than she ever imagined. Romance is always afoot in the Greek Isles and Jenna gets a large helping with the seductive Nikos. Family is important in Greece, and Nikos helps Jenna learn all the richness it brings, and pass it on to the next generation.
Twenty-five years later, Allie takes this same journey, and a little time travel, a big “what if” dream, a fated meeting with a taxi driver and a sprinkle of paranormal intrigue intertwine in a story that spans the lives of a mother and daughter. Twisty as the streets in a Greek island village, full of unexpected characters found on a faraway vacation along with frightening threats from nasty villains, Jenna’s Journey will keep you turning pages far into the night.

Working out a lifetime of secrets, imagining what might have been, eluding nasty antiquities thieves, exploring a new love—how would you have managed? Follow Jenna’s adventure and see how she changed her life in one journey!

It's finally happening

When I heard back in March 2015 that Booktrope Publishing of Seattle wanted to republish my debut novel, Jenna’s Journey, I was ecstatic as you can imagine. Now that I’ve seen what the team can do, I’m beyond ecstatic and my heartfelt thanks go especially to Jennifer Givner, the cover designer.
Jenna’s Journey will be available on all major online retailers and for the very first time will also be available as a paperback. It’s also getting a thorough editing and revamp too but I just wanted you to be among the first to see this awesome cover. It sums up exactly what the book is about, don’t you think?


Purchase links



What people are saying about the book


"An absolute treat" Colm Herron
"Wonderful setting ..expect the unexpected." Linn B Halton
"A must read" Elise Williams
"Highly enjoyable" Effrosyni Moschoudi
"A promise of a journey to remember" Petra Rovere
"Jenna's Journey is a fantastic mystery novel with a beautiful underlying romantic element and plots that will keep you guessing to the end." 
Heidi Cosmochicklitan



Background for the Book  

Jenna’s Journey is the first novel in the Greek Islands Series series. The story was inspired by the time I lived in Greece during the 1980s. Some thirty years later I was looking out of the window of my home in Gloucestershire on a wintry morning, idly wondering how my life would have been different if I’d stayed in Greece. I hadn’t intended to write a novel. Jenna’s Journey started life as a short story and thanks to a timely encounter with a fellow writer who persuaded me to turn it into a novel, it took on a life of its own and became the start of the Greek Island mystery series.
I’ve always been interested in fate or destiny, whatever you wish to call it, and this book is about all the ‘what ifs’ in life. It’s also about grabbing a chance of happiness with both hands when it’s offered – life really is too short!

Social Media Links 

Website/blog for the Greek Isles series:   https://thegreekurn.wordpress.com/
Book review website:  http://www.allthingsbookie.com/
Twitter: @julieryan18

Julie book line up

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Creating a Mediterranean haven





Quite often I find my writing is inspired by places I've visited, especially the South of France, Spain, Italy and Greece. I love being transported to sunnier climes where you can almost smell the lavender as a gentle breeze wafts by.  So, I had the best of intentions to model my garden on a Mediterranean theme  when we first bought the property ahem ten years ago but needless to say, money, time and a few wet summers soon put paid to that idea and as I looked out of my kitchen window, instead of a calming oasis, all I could see was a dumping ground for years' worth of unwanted materials from our constant DIY. Not a very inspiring sight, nor one that you would choose to relax in. So, this summer, I resolved that I would devote a little time each day to remodelling my patio.

Step One
The first step, as with any makeover, was to clear the rubbish so that I could see the space I had to work with. It took two trips to the tip and twelve bin bags but I had a vision of how my patio could look with a bit of TLC. Hard to believe that this could be a beautiful space, eh?



 Step Two

The walls had been painted white but were starting to look a bit dingy so a complete repaint job was necesssary. Hard work but I'm sure it will be worth it when the sun comes out and reflects off the walls, making my garden at last reminiscent of Greece or Spain.



Step Three

Once I could see the space, it was a question of deciding how it should be used. Was it to be a cosy place to sit in, somewhere to eat for just the family or an entertaining space? Realising that it wasn't big enough to seat more than four people focused my attention on choosing a light-weight table that would seat four but could be moved if necessary so that the area could also be used for sunbathing.

This set is lightweight and comes with four chairs and a black parasol


Step Four

I wanted somewhere that would delight the senses, so next came the important step of choosing the plants. No Mediterranean garden would be complete without lavender so that featured heavily on my list. I also wanted to add a contemporary twist to an otherwise traditional patio so opted for some palms. These reminded me of Nice and add a tropical feel to the mix. A few geraniums were also a must-have to take me back to my time spent in Greece. I chose a variety of pots to display them in; large and small, round and square but to give some harmony and cohesion, I stuck with a palette of grey, silver and of course Mediterranean blue. It was all starting to come together but there was still a lot of work to be done.

A Greek style urn fulled with hardy fuchsias



Step Five

After days spent weeding the pathway, painting the house and clearing the rubbish there was one thing missing from this little scenario and that was a water feature. I just wanted something simple that would trickle pleasantly as I read a book.  A solar-powered cascading fountain seemed just the job and naturally I chose the Mediterranean blue version.


Although quite small, this fountain adds a lovely touch




Step Six

The opposite wall to the patio was also looking bare and neglected so I found the perfect arched mirror with shutters that looks like a window. It certainly adds a focal point to the wall and is far more pleasant to look at than old trellis. A new cushion for my garden bench, in carefully chosen beige and blues to echo the beach and pebbles, added the finishing touch to the decor on that side. So, for less than the cost of a holiday abroad for one, the whole family can now enjoy this peaceful haven and I have a lovely spot in which to write my next book. Keep your fingers crossed that we have a long, hot summer! It's not quite the same as going abroad but it's the next best thing.

Window mirror painted the same colour as the door

                      
I love the 'pop' of red from the geraniums

 

 






   

                                                                               




So, this is my little bit of the Med in a very English country garden. What inspires you? - do let me know.

Top Tips

A glass topped table makes the space look bigger!

Foldaway chairs enable the space to be used in different ways.

Plants grouped in odd numbers look better than those grouped in even numbers.

Plants of various heights yet similar colours work well with a strong accent colour used sparingly.


Stockists
6 piece garden set - table, 4 chairs, umbrella - Aldi
Palm and torbay palms - www.gardeningexpress.co.uk
Garden mirror/window - www.greenfingers.com
Bench cushion and cascading fountain www.primrose.co.uk




Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Booklovers - which Greek island should you visit

Booklovers – which Greek island should you visit?

Map from Lonely Planet



I was looking at my bookshelves when I thought it would be fun to tour Greece taking in the settings of the books.  If you fancy touring the Greek Isles this summer, why not take a journey there with me through fiction?

I thought we’d start our journey by stopping off at Crete, one of the largest islands in the Mediterranean and one of my favourites. With its 4000 year history there’s plenty to see and do. More recently, it has gained fame through Victoria Hislop’s book, The Island, which tells the story of Spinalonga, a leper colony just off the coast of Crete. Having visited the South of the island, this is definitely on my list for my next visit.
The next book that jumped out at me was ‘Captain Corelli’s Mandalin’ by Louis de Bernieres. Set on Kephalonia during the early days of the Second World War, it’s both a war story and a love story.  Ever since reading the book I’ve had a desire to visit and retrace the footsteps of the main characters so it’s time to head off to the Ionian islands. Much of Kephalonia was destroyed by an earthquake in 1953 and so some of its Venetian influence has been lost. Nevertheless with its gorgeous beaches and stunning scenery, you won’t be at a loss for something to do.
Heading next to Corfu, an island that is somehow different to all the other Greek islands, having a strong British influence. In Corfu town, for example, they still play cricket. It was, of course, the childhood home of Gerald Durrell and one of my favourite books as a child was , ‘My family and other animals.’ I still remember the tales of his family’s exploits and the different coloured villas that they lived in. It was perhaps reading these stories that captured my imagination and started my love affair with Greece.
No tour would be complete without heading to the mainland, to the Albanian border and the town of Lia. This is where Nicholas Gage writes so poignantly about his mother’s life and how she was killed by communist guerillas just after the Second World War during the Greek civil war. His book ‘Eleni’ is both a testament to his mother and a lesson in the horrors of what man can do to his own kind. It also inspired me to read her granddaughter’s book about how she returned to Greece and rebuilt the family home.
Finally, no trip to Greece would be complete without visiting Athens. Anne Zouroudi has become a firm favourite of mine, skillfully recreating the magic that draws people back to this mystical place. Although her books are mainly set on Symi, a small island near Rhodes, her first book is entitled ‘The Messenger of Athens’ and is where we encounter the ‘fat man’ for the first time. Having lived in Athens in the 1980s it is well overdue for a return visit as I’m sure it will have changed, although hopefully not beyond all recognition!

There are so many place I could have mentioned but I’ll have to save those for another time. One thing about Greece is sure though – once you’ve visited you’ll want to return – again and again! What are your favourite islands and were any of your trips inspired by books you’ve read?

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

What's on your bookshelf?

                                                                             

As anyone who knows me will avow, I'm a total bookaholic. I think it must have started in childhood when each Friday as my mother did the supermarket shop, I could be found in the book aisle sneakily reading the first chapter of an Enid Blyton book before deciding which one to buy. Needless to say, I still have this prized collection today. Since then though my insatiable desire for books seems to know no bounds. I have a wall of books as you come into the house and three large bookcases upstairs plus two downstairs and most of my books still haven't been unpacked from the boxes down the cellar yet. It wouldn't be so bad if my husband shared my pasion but unfortunately being dyslexic, he doesn't get the same pleasure from a good book that I do.
I keep meaning to stop, honestly I do, and when he bought me a Kindle in the forlorn hope that it might reduce the amount of 'clutter' in the house, I did pause briefly in my book buying addiction. It didn't last long though! Don't get me wrong, I love my Kindle too and in fact I think I've now developed another addiction - the one-click kind. When I checked the other day I realised that even at my current rate of reading about 100 books per year, there is no way that I am ever going to live long enough to read all the books on my shelves, let alone the ones now sitting on my Kindle.
Deciding to try and declutter and get rid of some books that I will probably never read lasted about ten minutes as I came across long-forgotten favourites that just have to be re-read. The touch and scent of a 'real' book conveys so many emotions to me. For many books I can remember where I was when I read it or who gave it to me. Just looking at the cover of a book I've enjoyed gives me huge pleasure. From the chaos that was a disorganised book pile, I have tried to bring some semblance of order and have put all my Greek themed books together. It was great fun doing this as again it brought back many memories. 'The Magus' by John Fowles inspired my love of Greece and maybe even subconsciously planted the idea of teaching there, the Greek cookery book reminds me of the many wonderful meals eaten in tavernas by the sea, the waves lapping on the shore as the waiter brings a complimentary drink. Then there are the Greek language books from my time spent trying to master the basics of that beautiful language and crime novels by two of my favourite writers, Jeffrey Siger and Anne Zouroudi. There are many many more still waiting for me to lovingly discover I'm sure but I know that to me each and every book is special, so for now my collection remains intact.
Please tell me I'm not alone in my addiction and I'd love to know what's on your bookshelves - virtual or otherwise.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Why I write about Greece


                                                                                  


I’ve been asked a few times about the setting for my Greek Island Trilogy. Is it a real island? Which one? What was it like living there? Well, first of all I was compelled to write about Greece after living there during my twenties. I’ve always wanted to write but funnily enough until I started writing the Greek mysteries, I never got beyond penning a few short stories.
My fascination with Greece began as a child when I was given a book about ancient Greece. I absorbed the myths and legends and couldn’t believe that such an idyllic, magical place really existed. Blue became my favourite colour and I dreamed of visiting these mysterious islands where Odysseus, Athina, Zeus and Hector once lived.
It remained just a dream until I finished University when I got a job as a language teacher in Alexandroupolis in the North-East of Greece. I hadn’t heard of it either but it sounded nice, a small town by the sea. My first experience of Greece, however, wasn’t the lovely blue and white houses of the Cyclades. I arrived in Thessaloniki in the middle of the night after a three- day rail journey. It was nearly 3am by the time I got to a hotel and just a few hours later when I was woken up by car horns blaring. Thinking there must have been some national catastrophe, I gingerly looked out of the window to see the beginning of the normal rush-hour traffic.
It was the coach journey to Alexandroupolis passing through Kavala where I got my first glimpse of the ‘real’ Greece. The sky was the bluest I’ve ever seen, the spring flowers were starting to bloom and there were goats grazing on rocky outcrops and scrubland. The scents wafted in on the breeze and it was as if time just slowed down. We passed women in black, donkeys and men passing the time of day in the kafeneion. I have no idea why but it started to feel like home even though it was all so different from anything I’d experienced before.
I found the Greek people to be extremely hospitable even if they had very little themselves. The ritual of jam on a spoon reflected this hospitality and strangers would often send over a drink when we were in a taverna or the waiter would offer a digestif on the house.
It was the opportunity to visit the islands that made me think I’d found my little piece of Heaven. There can be few countries with such a diverse range of islands and dramatic scenery yet which remain so sparsely populated. Of course, the main islands are very touristy yet there are far more where it’s easy to find a little cove or ‘undiscovered’ beach. After spending a year in Athens, just as amazing but a totally different experience, I vowed to keep returning. Among my favourites are Aegina, Rhodes, Corfu, Kalymnos and Crete.
How could I choose just one island on which to set my books? The answer is that I couldn’t. My island is in my head and a combination of all the different places I’ve visited. So much so that until now I haven’t even given it a name. Some readers have said they would have preferred a real place, others say it’s nice to be transported to an imaginary place. What do you think? If you can come up with a great name for a Greek Island, I might just use it and credit you in the next book. I only ever planned to write one book and now book three is about to be published. I’m toying with the idea of a fourth book just so long as my readers continue to want to read more of my mysteries.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

About me



My debut novel is called 'Jenna's Journey' and is a romantic mystery set in Greece. Part of my inspiration in writing this novel was a love of the country gleaned over many years but it is essentially a reminder of when I lived there during the eighties. I taught English as a Foreign Language and although the work is fictional, some of the amusing things that happened at that time may inadvertently have found their way into my book.


Synopsis: Leaving town, heading to the Greek Isles without telling husband or friends, is heady medicine for a failing marriage. Seduced by Grecian sun and sky, Jenna innocently buys a bewitching urn that tangles her into the web of a criminal world more sinister than she ever imagined. Romance is always afoot in the Greek Isles and Jenna gets a large helping with the seductive Nikos. Family is important in Greece, and Nikos helps Jenna learn all the richness it brings, and pass it on to the next generation.
Twenty-five years later, Allie takes this same journey, and a little time travel, a big “what if” dream, a fated meeting with a taxi driver and a sprinkle of paranormal intrigue intertwine in a story that spans the lives of a mother and daughter. Twisty as the streets in a Greek island village, full of unexpected characters found on a faraway vacation along with frightening threats from nasty villains, Jenna’s Journey will keep you turning pages far into the night.
Working out a lifetime of secrets, imagining what might have been, eluding nasty antiquities thieves, exploring a new love—how would you have managed? Follow Jenna’s adventure and see how she changed her life in one journey!
Author Bio:

Julie Ryan’s roots are in a small mining village in South Yorkshire. After a degree in French Language and Literature, wanderlust kicked in and she lived and worked in France, Poland, Thailand and Greece. Her spirit enriched, her imagination fired, Julie started a series of mystery romances, thrillers set in the Greek Isles.
Jenna's Journey is the first novel in Julie Ryan’s Greek Islands Series, a series she did not set out to create but which took on its own life and grew, rich and fascinating. This is the first of three published so far, and now as a newly released edition in the USA from Booktrope, it promises to delight readers looking for the hidden dark sides of dream vacations in the Greek Isles.
A prolific and well-known book review blogger, Julie does her writing and reviewing from rural Gloucestershire, where she lives with her husband, son and dippy cat with half a tail.
You can find Julie on her websites:
Website/blog for the Greek Isles series
Website/blog for book reviews
Blog
and on Twitter @julieryan18

Buy Links for the Book

Background for the Book 
Jenna’s Journey is the first novel in the Greek Islands Series series. The story was inspired by the time I lived in Greece during the 1980s. Some thirty years later I was looking out of the window of my home in Gloucestershire on a wintry morning, idly wondering how my life would have been different if I’d stayed in Greece. I hadn’t intended to write a novel. Jenna’s Journey started life as a short story and thanks to a timely encounter with a fellow writer who persuaded me to turn it into a novel, it took on a life of its own and became the start of the Greek Island mystery series.
I’ve always been interested in fate or destiny, whatever you wish to call it, and this book is about all the ‘what ifs’ in life. It’s also about grabbing a chance of happiness with both hands when it’s offered – life really is too short!


Excerpts
Excerpt 1:  Arrival in Greece: Allie
July 2013
As Allie stepped off the plane, a rush of excitement and anticipation flooded over her. She wondered if her mother had felt the same when she arrived in Greece almost twenty-five years ago. She knew that there must have been many changes during that time. Instead of flying direct to the island, her mother would have had to fly to Athens first, and then taken a boat to the island as direct flights to the island had only started up a couple of years ago. She stood in line waiting to clear customs, feeling guilty even though she had nothing to hide. Just walking through the green channel, she could sense hidden eyes watching her every move. This automatically made her act suspiciously, and then breathing a sigh of relief, she was through and out into the bright Greek sunshine. Squinting to read the address on the scrap of paper, she hailed a taxi and the driver sped off towards the hotel.
“Hi, I am Leo,” the taxi driver said, introducing himself in fluent English.
“Allie,” she replied.
She’d been anxious about being ripped off or taken on a wild goose chase, but there was no need to worry. Leo seemed to be the exception to her stereotyped image of Greek drivers. Although he drove fast, he negotiated the roads with great skill. Driving up narrow tracks, he tooted his horn to let any other drivers know he was coming.
She wanted to ask him about the austerity measures that had recently been imposed on them in order to meet their euro-deficit obligations. She had been quite shocked at the effects that the cutbacks had had on ordinary people. Last year, the government had introduced a kind of surtax cunningly collected through the electricity bill. If you refused to pay or couldn’t pay, you were cut off—simple! People had struggled to keep warm through the winter, as many couldn’t afford oil any more. The news had shown piles of rubbish in the streets thanks to the refuse collectors going on strike because they hadn’t been paid. Allie remembered seeing pictures of Piraeus on the news with garbage heaped as high as cars. She wanted to ask Leo more about how ordinary people had coped, but when she pressed him for more details, he shrugged and smiled.
“Greece is not only Athens, you know. Here, sure, life is tough, but we survive. Maybe we spend a little less, complain a little more, but life is good. You are in the most beautiful place in the world. If you have the sun and the sea and a few vegetables—what more do you need?”

Excerpt 2:  Jenna and Nikos, 1987
The taverna Aphrodite turned out to be almost next door to the hotel in a quiet little square with tables set out under an old plane tree. Jenna made a mental note to find out why the Greeks painted the bottom of the trees white.
They sat down at a rickety table with wooden chairs painted white. The set didn’t quite match, but it added to the overall charm. They discovered that there wasn’t a menu as such, but a few of the freshly cooked dishes were written up on a blackboard by the entrance.
When she discovered that their waiter was indeed Nikos, Jenna literally felt her heart flutter in a way that it hadn’t since the early, heady days when she’d first met Greg. She found herself virtually tongue-tied and was grateful when Tom ordered a Greek salad and keftedes, looking at her for confirmation that she agreed with the same order for herself. She just nodded and smiled.
In the past, when Greg had tried to order for her, she had really hated it, seeing it as a sign that he was in control. Why had she let him get away with it? She should have been more assertive and told him how she felt. It was too late for that now, though. At this precise moment, she felt like a schoolgirl with her first crush, and she hoped that Tom hadn’t noticed.
As Nikos brushed past her chair, Jenna could have sworn that she felt a jolt of electricity run through her. “How’s the ankle?” Nikos asked as he put a bowl of freshly cut bread on the table.
“I think I owe you a big thank-you for saving my life, not to mention appreciation for the fruit.”
“It really was my pleasure,” he replied as she noticed his twinkling eyes. She chided herself for letting her imagination run away with her and tried to focus on what Tom was saying instead.
The location was stunning, high enough to have a view of the sea below; but it was situated too far from the centre of town to attract too many tourists. She was relieved to find that she couldn’t spot any of the fellow guests from the hotel here; and looking around, she noticed that most of the clientele seemed to be Greek.
With no fish ‘n’ chips or steak and kidney pie on the menu, though, it probably wouldn’t appeal to the rest of the hotel guests, she thought, realising at the same time that she was probably being rather dismissive. There didn’t seem much point to her, however, of coming to Greece and not sampling the ethnic culture. She was much more at home in this simple taverna than she would be at a Greek night run by the hotel.
Nikos came over with the Greek salad and, rather pointedly it seemed, he lit the candle on the table. When he gazed at her, she could have sworn she melted into his deep-brown eyes. They were the sort of eyes that would be called “limpid pools” in the trashy novels that her mother used to read. When he smiled, she could see herself reflected in his eyes as if she were the only person in the room.
She hadn’t come to Greece looking for a holiday romance, she chided herself, and she’d heard too many tales of young girls falling for waiters who were looking for a passport to the UK. She wasn’t going to be another notch on his bedpost, and she was hardly a girl. Still, he was rather dreamy, she had to admit.
Never mind Rhett Butler, she thought!

Excerpt 3:  The Urn and Its Long Shadow, 1987
It was pitch black, and Jenna had no idea how long she’d been left in the cellar. The intense darkness made her assume the kidnapper had blindfolded her; but when she checked her eyes, there was no blindfold—just the inky blackness of a dark cavern or dungeon. Her fingernails were broken from where she’d tried to attack her abductor. She could feel the broken nails even if she couldn’t see them. She’d known it was futile to fight back, but self-preservation meant that she had to at least try.
He obviously didn’t think she was a danger at any rate, as she could feel that she wasn’t tied up or handcuffed. Her ankle really hurt—she needed medical attention, but she doubted if her abductor would get her some painkillers and a splint. She sat up with her back against a wall, touched her ankle gingerly, and winced as she felt the swollen skin beneath her fingers. She wouldn’t be running a marathon any time soon, but it didn’t feel broken. Ironically, she hadn’t been likely to be running a marathon before she was kidnapped, either; but if she couldn’t walk, she was in a bit of a pickle, as her mother would have said.
Her stomach rumbled, and she cursed herself for feeling hungry at a time like this. She remembered that she hadn’t eaten any dinner, but what time was it now? Perhaps she would be left here to starve to death. She hadn’t been given any food or drink so far. How long could a person live without food or drink? She thought it was just a couple of days without water, perhaps a week or so without food?
Surely that wasn’t the kidnapper’s plan, though, but it mystified her as to the reason why she’d been abducted. After all, she wasn’t rich or famous, so it couldn’t be about money. He didn’t seem to be interested in her sexually, thank goodness, so he probably wasn’t about to rape her. That was reassuring, but it meant that there must be another reason.
She remembered the old man and his final words to take good care of the urn. It occurred to her that it could somehow be connected, but she didn’t know how. Would someone really want an old urn badly enough to kidnap her? Her mind wouldn’t allow the possibility that a worse fate might be in store for her.




Sophia's Secret
Having finished writing 'Jenna's Journey' I hadn't planned on writing another book about Greece but the idea wouldn't leave me alone. My second book 'Sophia's Secret' can be read as a standalone although some of the characters from the first book do make an appearance.
Kat has never understood why she was sent at the age of seven from Greece to live in England with her Aunt Tigi. When she receives an email from her grandmother, the first contact in over twenty years, informing her of her mother’s death, she knows this could be her last chance to find out the truth. Little by little she finds out the shocking facts as her grandmother opens her heart.  It seems everyone has a secret to tell, not only her grandmother, as Manoli, her school friend, also harbours a guilty secret. Then there’s a twenty year old mystery to solve as well as a murder and what happened to the missing Church treasure?
Sophia's Secret  is available on Amazon  

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Pandora's Prophecy


Then once I'd written two books, it seemed the series wouldn't be complete without a third hence 'Pandora's Prophecy.' This is slightly different in tone as it has a paranormal edge but ist is still set on the same island and includes mystery, romance and suspense too! I really hope you enjoy my books and look forward to connecting with you.
Lisa and Mark are going through a rough patch, Vicky is seventeen and has just discovered that the man she thought was her father really isn’t, Ruth is getting over her husband’s betrayal after nearly twenty-five years of marriage. On the surface they have nothing in common except that they are all staying in the same hotel on a Greek Island. As they each come into contact with the mysterious Pandora, their lives will change forever. Bodies begin to pile up as a serial killer is on the loose who might just be targeting the hotel. The Island’s Police Chief, Christos Pavlides, tries to solve the puzzle but he has problems of his own to resolve. It seems that the local celebrity author is the one who holds the key.

                                                                    


http://www.amazon.co.uk/Pandoras-Prophecy-Greek-Island-Mystery-ebook/dp/B00V6CWVBW/ref=sr_1_cc_1?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1429004054&sr=1-1-catcorr&keywords=pandoras+prophecy

http://www.amazon.com/Pandoras-Prophecy-Greek-Island-Mystery-ebook/dp/B00V6CWVBW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1429004133&sr=8-1&keywords=pandora%27s+prophecy