Will I be remembered 100 years after my death?

Obviously my creativity must have come from somewhere? And I suspect it is hereditary, for as long as I can remember, mum has always been a writer of poetry and novels.

Mum had once told me of her uncle Louis who had been a poet and journalist, but who had died several years before she had been born. It was due to his widely celebrated status that influenced her to try and follow in his footsteps. Unfortunately, the outbreak of World War II was to disrupt her ambitions.

Her uncle, Louis Fleri, was born in Alexandria, Egypt in 1882. Growing up, he had a totally French education, and by 1903, he was already an accomplished writer in that language having had several of his poems published in an anthology entitled “Les Émois Factices”. This was followed in 1904 with a further anthology entitled “Le Livre d’Elvire”.

Other than his poetry, he was employed as a copy editor for a literary newspaper known as the NOUVELLE REVUE D’ÉGYPTE” in which he also participated as a book reviewer.

In 1905 it seems his attention shifted to international political affairs, principally a crisis which was developing in India. Whether he had traveled there to experience the rising troubles first hand is unknown, but his comprehensive report entitled “L’INDE D’AUJOURD’HUI” [India of Today] published in August of that year in “LA REVUE INTERNATIONALE D’ÉGYPTE” is informative and precise.

All of Louis’ poems are in French, but I was able to find one written in English that had been published in August 1905.

DARK

I hear the silent hands closing the latest door

and the returning step is so moving before

that our night is darker and our heart is dead.

I feel the sleepy eyes closing my latest dream

and its deceitful fate can never be redeemed

so that the night is darker and our heart is dead.

But Thee! Remove the twisting hands from the dream denied

I’ll stand crying for life and light in force and pride

even if the Night ‘s darker and our Heart be dead.

 

LOUIS FLERI.

 

One can only wonder why he wrote such disturbing words…

It’s not known if Louis served during World War I, but the British Forces War Records for Commonwealth Military personnel shows an L Fleri, service number 1051, who served as a Gunner during 1914 and 1915 in the Royal Malta Artillery.

In 1918 an influenza pandemic swept the globe claiming the lives of some 50 million people worldwide. Louis was among their number. He was just 36 years old.

 

With his passing and the passing of other relatives after him, Louis’ accomplishments had been forgotten, or at least until early January 2019.

One hundred years after his death his works of poetry have been reawakened.

I was contacted by a professor of French Literature at the University of Malta who had been told by an organisation based in Switzerland; a cultural and recreational society consisting of people who have lived or still live in Alexandria, that my mother was related to Louis Fleri. The professor was searching for copies of Louis’ anthologies and hoped my mother would have them.

Fortunately for him, mum had copied all the poems, free-hand, into an exercise book when she was seventeen years old.

Needless to say, he was more than pleased when I scanned them all to him.

Since then I have received a great deal more information regarding my grand-uncle from a professor of French Literature at the University of Nantes, in France, and also from an official at the Centre of Historical Studies of Alexandria.

I am pleased, if not a little proud, for Louis Fleri, that even after 100 years since his death his writings are still being read and discussed among students of literature and, perhaps through them, Louis’ poetry and other accomplishments will live on.

 

Louis Fleri

1882 – 1918

Poet, Writer, Journalist

 

RLB – Tomewriter

 

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Creativity – Where does it come from?

I don’t think it’s an unreasonable question.

Are we born with it or does it somehow metamorphose into us, changing us from one type of person to another; someone who doesn’t have a clue about art appreciation, to someone who does. A bit like a butterfly being changed from a caterpillar.

In truth, I have never given it much thought, as it has seemed to me that, in some way or another, I always held an appreciation of art in most of its forms. Mostly however in whichever way I could create it with my own hands, whether it was building models, drawing, painting, doing jigsaw puzzles, photography, writing, and cooking – if you can call it art, but it is creative in some way, isn’t it?.

The building of models usually consisted of those plastic things like ships, aircraft, trains, and cars that came in hundreds of bits that needed to be glued together and painted. This was one of my hobbies when I was in my pre-teenage years, but followed me into adulthood. When I was in my late teens I had a mad moment and created what was perhaps one of my best efforts – an entire World War One battlefield complete with trenches, lighting, barbed wire, and soldiers. Using nothing more than a large sheet of hard board, that took up most of the floor space of my bedroom, papier mâché, match sticks, fuse wire [for the barbed wire], and ghastly brown and green paint to cover it all. From memory it took a few months to build and I wish now I had taken a photograph of it. Of course, it wasn’t to remain on the floor for too long after completion as it was becoming near impossible to move freely around the room. Getting to my bed was a challenge in itself. So one day it was there and then, in a blink of an eye, it was utterly destroyed and committed to the rubbish bin.

The last model I ever built was in 2001. It was the German U-boat U47. At the time I was still researching and writing my non-fiction history book Smithy’s War; more of that later.

The model had a cut-away section along the entire port side revealing the interior complete with batteries, engines, torpedoes, and crew. Each component was painstakingly painted using a magnifying glass and powerful desk lamp so I could see what I was doing. The model stayed with me until 2016 when I departed Australia for Europe, I left it behind as I believed it wouldn’t survive the journey.

Drawing and painting seemed to come naturally, although I must admit trying to draw people, unless it’s a matchstick person, was, and still remains far too difficult for me to reproduce. I much prefer to keep it simple by limiting myself to seascapes or landscapes, with an occasional animal slipping into the frame, or like the following one-off of a snow goose:

It’s a shame that I never made a record of when I created my artwork, but most of it was drawn or painted between the 1960s and 1970s. The last of these was in 1977:

By the time the 1980s came along I started to take more photographs and the oil paints were forgotten to dry up in a drawer somewhere. Photography was to become a passion that I still hold dear today, even though my camera has been reduced to a pocket-sized one. I keep promising myself to purchase something of better quality, but as yet I never have. Perhaps Santa will be kind to me one day.

Although I had been writing poetry and short stories during my teenage years, it wasn’t until the early 1990s that I began to dabble in more serious writing. Having left the UK in the latter part of 1988 and immigrating to Australia, the change of environment seemed, in some unseen way, to inspire my muse.

The books were kick-started when I wrote my first fiction crime novel entitled “Out of the Darkness”, however, at the time I didn’t think it very good so it got filed away for another day. But I wasn’t to give up so easily, and I moved on to write my first adventure with romantic elements fiction novel set in England and New South Wales during the early 19th Century. Although initially completed in 1994 it wasn’t self-published until 2012 on Smashwords. The book is entitled “Beneath Southern Stars”. It is also the first time that I used the pen name, Louise Roberts. From that moment she became the writer of all my historical romance stories.

At about the same time, a friend gave me to read the diary of one of his uncles [deceased] who had been a communications officer aboard an oil tanker during World War Two. It was a fabulous read: interesting, informative, frightening at times, but highly amusing. I told my friend he should try and get it published, to which he said ‘as I was an author perhaps I could make it into something publishable’. I took it as a challenge. It would be a project that would take ten years to complete. The research alone was staggering – I’d never read so much in my life, but the experience was without a doubt the best thing I had embarked upon. The immense knowledge I had acquired from it all was priceless. “Smithy’s War” was to be self-published in a paperback version [extremely limited edition] in 2005. It wouldn’t be until 2012 when I self-published it as an e-book on Smashwords.

Since 2012 several more books were to be published, until the very last one, which ironically was my very first, “Out of the Darkness” was released both in paper and digital formats in the early part of 2018.

The following are all my books to date:

I asked at the commencement of this blog, where does all this creativity come from? Is it from the mind, the heart, or the soul?

It is a question which probably cannot be answered. But recently I have begun to believe that possibly it is, in fact, from the heart.

I’m saying this because, since April of this year [2018], I have been unable to write any more stories. The ideas are there – I can see them in my minds’ eye, but trying to put the words down on paper has become an impossible quest. I think the reason for this must be linked to the heart operation that was carried out in March. Perhaps it is just a coincidence, but since after the surgeon zapped my heart’s interior with his laser my story-telling has dried up.

For the past few months I have been occupying my time with reading, completing crosswords, going for walks and taking photographs, watching TV and playing computer games. That is until a couple of weeks ago when I had a sudden urge to start painting again.

I had a look through some of the photos I had taken around my new location, Golfe-Juan in the south of France, and finding one that I took in 2016, tried to replicate it in oils:

I didn’t think it was too bad a creation, especially when the last time I handled a brush and oil paints was over 40 years ago. And, I hasten to add, it won’t be the last… I already have another subject in mind to consign to canvas, but I shall be waiting until after Christmas to make a start on it.

All in all, it looks like I have gone, more or less, full circle. I hope however that there will come a time when I shall find my muse again to enable me to complete the writing projects that are still on my ‘to-do’ list.

RLB – Tomewriter

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Louise Roberts is re-releasing Book 2 – Romance in War Series

Grandma used to say. . . by Louise Roberts May 31st, 2018

 

Grandma used to say, in relation to food preparation, you have to present your dish to first feast the eyes before it feasts the stomach.

In the same way, one might presume, this way of thinking can be adopted to all products whether they are edible or not. If something is pleasing to the eye, it is more likely to be acquired; and if the product is a book, for it to be picked up, scrutinized, and if the formula is to their liking, purchased.

In my case, I thought I had achieved just the right formula when, last year [2017], I had “packaged” Book 2 in my Romance in War series. I believed I was being clever with the title by combining words from two situations dating back to 1944 – the year the story is set. “Operation Dragoon” was the code name for the invasion of southern France in August of that year. At that time, the American musician Glenn Miller was popular, and his tune “Moonlight Serenade” is one of my favorites. It only seemed natural therefore that I should entitle the story “Dragoon Serenade”. Getting an appropriate cover for it was a challenge, and although both the publisher and I loved the end result, it has now come to light [seven months since the books release], that readers held a different, more negative, view.

Book 2 in the Romance in War series is a lovely story or so I’ve been told by all those who have read it. The three 5 star reviews on Amazon and Goodreads seem to support those positive comments.

Yet despite such encouraging feedback sales of the book were lower than expected. It was therefore a difficult decision to make, but with the support of Luminosity Publishing, the story has been repackaged.

On Thursday June 7th, 2018 the book is to be re-released with a new exciting title and a new, more vibrant cover:

Fingers and toes crossed, as well as Grandma’s favorite recipe, “Codename: Amour” will appeal to all lovers of sensual romance and adventure.

With very best wishes

Louise xx

 

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Paperback Release Today…

 

It has been a long time coming for me, but I’m pleased that “Out of the Darkness” has today [May 15, 2018] been released as a paperback [it has been available in digital format since April 18,2018. I have been looking forward to this day since 1994 when I first wrote the story. At the time however I was a novice author and wasn’t confident in my writing abilities.

Twenty odd years later and ten other publications under my belt, it was time for my first book to be reworked. It was a good decision. The story needed a complete over-haul and I was glad that I had acquired the right skills to be able to turn this into a fast-paced crime novel with romantic elements.

Using my local knowledge of both Australia and the island of Malta, my story develops in the former and concludes [for now – a sequel is to come] in the latter.

You can view the summary on this blog at the book’s page, but a quick glimpse at the publisher’s site will enable you to read an excerpt:

https://luminositypublishing.com/book/out-of-the-darkness/

I sincerely hope that the book will appeal and give enjoyment to those who read it, and hopefully, review it favorably on Amazon.

Finally I would like to thank the team at Luminosity Publishing for their continuing support and belief in my writing.

RLB – Tomewriter

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Published…

Out of the Darkness is a full-length novel consisting of 66,565 words. This Mystery Suspense with Romantic Elements story contains murder scenes some readers may find upsetting. However, it is a story that will keep you on your toes, making you wonder what happens next.

The idea for this tale first entered my head in 1994. Although I had written the initial draft I was not happy with it to submit to a publisher. Over the subsequent years I would revisit the story and make a few changes but never of any magnitude to warrant  confidence that the book was ready.

Of course, being a writer the enthusiasm of creating stories didn’t stop just because the first novel was, in my opinion, not good enough. That same year I began writing my second novel which I assigned to a pen name ‘Louise Roberts’. This too was a full-length novel, but a historical romance entitled “Beneath Southern Stars” [e-published on Smashwords]. A year later I began a non-fiction history book that would take 10 years to complete.

From that time to this, I have written three full-length novels, a non-fiction history book, five historical romance novellas, and several short stories, as well as some poetry. You’ll find most of them on this blog.

Despite writing so many different genres, my first story was never forgotten. When I arrived in Southern France in 2016, the change of pace and locality gave me the courage to tear it apart and start again. I should have done so years ago.

In truth, I expect that since creating my other stories, and having editors advise on how to improve them, my craft of writing has had the opportunity to develop and grow in strength.

It is with pride and great pleasure therefore, that after so many years, Luminosity Publishing LLP has today released Out of the Darkness in digital format. The novel is to be released in a paperback version on May 15, 2018.

The book can be obtained from various sites as well as Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/Darkness-Mark-Lander-Chronicles-Book-ebook/dp/B07B6T7NVG

 

OUT OF THE DARKNESS

The Mark Lander Chronicles – Book 1

ROBERT L.J. BORG

 

From the depths of darkness, a cry of distress leads Mark Lander from a world of violence to a place where romance awaits . . .

 

It’s January 1994 and it is proving to be another hot summer in Sydney Australia. During the early hours, lonely in his thoughts and strolling along the shoreline at Freshwater Beach, Mark Lander, a war correspondent home on leave, is distracted by cries of help from the surf and wades in to rescue a swimmer in distress.

Unbeknown to Mark his courageous action will make him an unsuspecting champion in the defense of the rescuee, Robyn Shelly. Inquisitive by nature, a requirement of his chosen profession, he teams up with his best friend, Detective Sergeant Jim Sanders. Their respective investigations will pull them deeper into a world of violence and mayhem.

Despite his personal emotional anguish, Mark finds himself captivated by Robyn’s beauty and gradually falls in love with her. However, although he gladly accepts the unexpected friendship, will the trials still to come dash any hope of romance and eventual happiness . . .?

 

RLB – Tomewriter

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The countdown has begun….

There are only 17 days to go before my exciting, fast-paced crime-suspense with romantic elements is released in digital format by Luminosity Publishing on April 18th. The paperback version is to be released on May 15th, 2018:

 

 

Out of the Darkness

[Mark Lander Chronicles – Book 1]

 Copyright © Robert L J Borg 2018

ISBN: 978-1-370938-44-5

PUBLISHER NOTE: Mystery-Suspense with Romantic Elements. Contains murder scenes some readers may find upsetting. Full-length novel: 66,565 words. (162 pages)

Red-Hot Romance

It’s January 1994 and it is proving to be another hot summer in Sydney Australia. During the early hours, lonely in his thoughts and strolling along the shoreline at Freshwater Beach, Mark Lander, an out-of-work war correspondent, is distracted by cries of help from the surf and wades in to rescue a swimmer in distress.

Unbeknown to Mark his courageous action will make him an unsuspecting champion in the defence of the rescued person. Inquisitive by nature, a requirement of his chosen profession, he teams up with his best friend, Detective Sergeant Jim Sanders. Their respective investigations will draw them deeper into a world of violence and mayhem.

Despite the anguish, Mark gladly accepts an unexpected friendship, but will the trials still to come dash any hope of romance and eventual happiness?

BUY LINKS:

Amazon France:

https://www.amazon.fr/-/e/B07B728BQK

Amazon UK:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B07B728BQK

Amazon USA:

https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B07B728BQK

Amazon Germany:

https://www.amazon.de/-/e/B07B728BQK

Amazon Australia:

https://www.amazon.com.au/Darkness-Mark-Lander-Chronicles-Book-ebook/dp/B07B6T7NVG

Smashwords:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/798924

Google Books:

https://books.google.fr/books?id=Vf1ODwAAQBAJ&dq=Out+of+the+darkness+by+Robert+L+J+Borg

Luminosity Publishing:

http://luminositypublishing.com/book/out-of-the-darkness/

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Enough now….

I’m glad to be home . . . the heart operation carried out at the Arnault Tzanck Plein Ciel Clinique at Mougins went sort of okay last week with only a ‘small’ hiccup landing me in ICU for three days. Fortunately, I was in good hands and I was able to be discharged from the clinic last Saturday 17th March.

However, up until this afternoon I’ve been staying with my mum and sister for some much welcomed TLC. But all good things come to an end, and although they wanted me to remain with them until the end of the week I decided it was probably best to give them a break – besides I did need to get back to reality.

Now though, I have to stay rested for at least another week as per doctor’s orders and to avoid doing anything too strenuous for about 3 months [should be interesting as living on one’s own there is nobody else to help out].

I’ll be visiting my GP tomorrow to give him an update and to see if I can qualify for some home help until I’m back on my feet properly.

This coming Friday [23rd March] I have a follow-up appointment with my cardiologist so I’ll wait and see what he has to say about it all.

One thing is certain, the ECG they carried out last Saturday morning showed the best results I have seen in a long time, so that’s something at least.

The surgeon at the clinic did explain the results of his work the day after the operation, but it was a bit tricky trying to understand what he was saying while lying on my back with ten million wires attaching me to various monitors and tubes stuck into my body feeding pain killing drugs.

From what I gathered, they found I have an enlarged aorta so the procedure to carry out the flutter ablation proved difficult, and their mucking about in my heart caused an inflammation of its wall that pressed against my lungs making it difficult for me to breathe.

However, oxygen was forced down through my nose and an intensive course of cortisone injections were administered direct into the blood stream staying the pain.

Just to make sure there is no relapse I have been given 10 days’ worth of cortisone tablets to take while at home [40 mg in the morning and 20 mg at lunchtime].

I think the surgeon mentioned that the procedure had succeeded, but, as usual, they cover themselves by suggesting if the problem should re-surface then I’ll have to go through the operation all over again.

Eh! I don’t think so . . . NO WAY . . . Thank You, but I think I’ll pass on that.

One thing for certain is I shall be re-thinking my diet and will make sure to increase my exercise regime just as soon as I’ve had the all clear.

Having gone through THREE major operations in the space of 8 months I don’t want to experience anymore surgery . . . ever again.

All I want to do now is relax, restore my health, look forward to enjoy what summer on the Cote d’Azur has to offer: namely the beaches, cafes, family, friends, and hopefully, once I’m able to concentrate better, to get back to writing.

I am determined to finish the sequel to “Out of the Darkness” [Digital release date April 18, 2018 and Paperback release date May 15, 2018] by the end of this year. So far I have only completed some 15,000 words to “Nightsafe”, my target is a minimum of 70,000 – so still a long way to go, but I am confident I will get there.

In addition, I would like to begin a novella – book 3 of the Romance in War series for Louise Roberts. Though, I expect I would be pushing my luck trying to also do book 4. If anything, I might be able to start the research for it.

So there is plenty to look forward to in the coming months, just as long as there is no relapse to my health issues putting a dampener on things.

 

RLB – Tomewriter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Napoléon at Golfe-Juan

A re-enactment of Napoléon’s landing, an equestrian spectacle, dance demonstrations of Corsican performers, inspection of troops, artisans at work, souvenirs, and historical lectures . . . all were available during the weekend of 3rd and 4th March 2018 here at Golfe-Juan.

The Napoléon Event had been cancelled for the past two years due to security issues, but this year the community was rewarded with this treat. Unfortunately the weather was not kind, but people were still determined the rain should not dampen the festivities. I among them as much as possible – regrettably due to unforeseen circumstances I was unable to witness the landing re-enactment.

203 years ago the sleepy fishing village of Golfe-Juan on the Côte d’Azur was thrust into the annuals of history by an event that would change this little community’s standing forever.

On 1st March 1815 Napoléon came ashore with 900 Grenadiers from the island of Elba. Nineteen days later having journeyed across the Alps via Grenoble he enters Paris in triumph.

Below is a selection of photos taken over the weekend:

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CARNIVAL TIME AT GOLFE-JUAN

A cloudless blue sky, sunshine, confetti, music, dancing and colourful floats…. CARNIVAL TIME came to Golfe-Juan today.

I met mum at the Hotel de Provence located in the town centre for a coffee and to watch the procession as it trundled past. Smiling and excited kids threw confetti from above – I expect we’ll be shedding the sprinkles from our clothing for a week.

Heading the parade were the cards from Alice in Wonderland, and the float included the white rabbit and Alice among other characters.

   

They were closely followed by musicians and dancers of the association of Portuguese folklore.

Behind them was a large turtle draped with an anchor – Perhaps they were lifesavers – your guess is as good as mine.

Another colourful float followed. Again there was no indication who or what they were, except that the decorations seemed to represent sweets [lollies – for any Australian reading this] so perhaps this was a clue?

Behind them came a group of Charlie Chaplin look-alikes ??

  

And bringing up the rear was a very cheerful jazz band

Unfortunately I didn’t take a photo of them as I recorded them on video instead, but for some unknown reason I am unable to upload it on my blog.

When the procession disappeared around the corner, mum and I slowly set off towards the old port to sit at café, the Brasserie L’Escale and enjoy an aperitif before lunch at the local Lebanese restaurant, La Cigale du Golfe. Both establishments provide great food and beverages at a reasonable price, the service is exceptional and it’s brought to you with a smile.

It was a wonderful way to spend a Sunday.

RLB – Tomewriter

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Hip Replacement Update

For those of you who read my previous blogs relating to my left hip replacement operation – here’s an update on my progress relating to both recent hip replacement operations carried out at the hospital in Antibes.

I know I have been going on a bit about the pain I’ve been experiencing shared on my Facebook page, but maybe you’ll understand why by the following X-Ray photos of my two new hip joints.

The left one was done in July 2017, and the experience was recorded in my thirteen part blog which if you ‘missed’ is now archived under the months of September – October last year.

Apart from the occasional twinge, I’m glad to report that the left hip is now fully recovered:

Left Hip Replacement

The right hip though, is a different story. The operation was carried out 8 weeks ago [7th December 2017], and despite having spent three weeks at the rehab center [I’d spent four weeks for the left hip, which I thought was too much], completed ten physio sessions, applying ice packs two or three times a day, and taking pain killers, I am still experiencing a lot of discomfort. Although I must say it is slowly, but surely, getting better.

This one is taking longer to fix because of the femur fracturing when they were hammering in the prosthesis. They had to wrap a wire around the bone to hold it together. It also seems the prosthesis is in two parts held together with a screw…. Little wonder I’m still experiencing so much pain:

Right Hip Replacement

Yesterday [01/01/18], for the first time since the op, I was able to walk the 2.5 km round trip from home to the physio center in Golfe-Juan without the use of either crutch.

However, at this stage, I am still unable to put my full weight on my right leg, so going up any stairs is impossible unless one at a time with my left leg leading. Going down them is easy.

As of next Monday [5th February 2018] I will be commencing a further twenty physiotherapy sessions, which at three days per week, will see me complete them in time for my next appointment with the surgeon, Dr. Bohic, on 21st March.

A further update will follow after I see him.

RLB – Tomewriter

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