Tag Archives: Operation Dragoon

Watch Out for the Curveballs – Part Twelve

Watch Out for the Curveballs

 

Copyright © Robert L J Borg 2017

Part Twelve

 

An ambulance has been booked by reception for 10am Friday August 18, 2017 to take me home – not a moment too soon.

I’ve made a few of friends here, and I will certainly miss some of the nurses, orderlies, and physio therapists. All have been very kind and supportive, and surprisingly they also possessed a great sense of humour.

As for the friends I can honestly say that only three stand out. Francois, my current room-mate, who although, according to his name bracelet, is two years younger than me [he shares the same birth day and month as cousin, Ron: 15th May] looks as though he is ten years older. He is a pretty sick man and I feel pretty lucky what I had was only a hip replacement. I didn’t ask him what his problem had been, but he had a scar three times longer than mine running down the front of his chest, and he was obliged to wear a urinary catheter – poor sod. He and I got on quite well together. He certainly was tidier than Tomas, although his hygiene standards left a lot to be desired, which surprised me considering his condition. I would have thought that someone in his state of health would ensure to wash his hands every time he went to the loo, but I never saw him carry out such an important function. Nor did he ever use the hand cleansers that were dotted on the walls of the centre, including by the door of our little room.

On the subject of the room, number 127, it was located on the first floor literally opposite the lift. The room itself consisting of two beds, two desks with chairs, one armchair, two wardrobes and two TVs, had a very effective air conditioner [thank God] and two large windows. More often than not we would have one of the windows open which upset the air conditioner and one of the nurses who thought what we were doing was not environmentally friendly.

    

On the doors of every room was a nautical picture which made the corridors really pleasant. Ours was two sailing boats:

The second friend was Michel, a delightful old man in his late 80’s whose room I shall certainly be requesting [if available] when I next get admitted. It is a small single room located close to the main front terrace with a fabulous landscape view beyond Biot. He tells me he lives in the village of Malaussene located high in the hills behind Nice. By the sound of it you need a sturdy donkey or a 4X4 to negotiate the roads up to it. From what he says he has lived there most his life. By all accounts his presence at the centre was due to his hip breaking unexpectedly while he was gardening. He had some interesting stories to tell, but with my limited French and his mountain man accent they were somewhat hard to decipher.

Yesterday was August 15, 2017. It was a public holiday due to a religious day – which is amusing as France always professes to be a lay country, but when it comes to Christian holidays they’re up the front to celebrate them. Needlesstosay, as a public holiday everyone was away [no physio] except the domestic staff, who eventually showed up to clean the room at around 11.50am. Seeing the same cleaner in the restaurant later at lunch time dishing out people’s meals I silently prayed she had washed her hands after seeing them around the rim of our toilet!

Anyway, as usual I’m changing the subject. So going back to Michel, I walked by his room and stopped to chat to Nurse Coo Coo who was handing out medications. Michel invited me in and was grateful when I accepted. He was seated at his chair so I lowered myself onto the bed, which made a farting sound as I did so – he giggled and said it was an air mattress. I followed through by saying what a bit of luck – he could always blame the bed should he let one slip if he had company.

Not being very pious I had no idea what the religious festival being celebrated was, however as a keen historian and writer the only significance the 15th August had for me was the invasion of southern France, code-named “Operation Dragoon” in 1944. Michel told me he was fourteen years old at the time and still remembers it as though it were yesterday. It truly must have been a frightening and memorable day. For me personally, I am excited at the prospect of seeing my book “Dragoon Serenade” being released on October 26, 2017. The story is set in France during this time. If you’re interested you can read the blurb on my pen name’s blog at: https://louiserobertsromance.wordpress.com/dragoon-serenade/

So onto Pierre – a character larger than life and such a comedian, that without his sense of humour would have made my life at the rehab centre unbearable. We sat next to each other at meal times, with Michel sitting opposite me and the dreaded Tomas opposite Pierre. Francois sat at a nearby table next to Michel in the company of three women. Pierre was [is] everyone’s friend, but especially with Michel, and despite his bravado and good humour at breakfast today [17th August], when he said if he had a black arm band he would be wearing it, because this morning Michel would be leaving the centre to return home, you could sense that he was genuinely saddened to see Michel’s impending departure. Perhaps his light comment was more serious than he let on.

Since the end of last week Pierre had been teasing Michel saying how the village band would be in the streets welcoming him back with a fanfare of trumpets and trombones. Flags would be flying and people would be waving at him from their windows. During lunch yesterday the entire tableau had me in tears from sheer amusement generated by my three dining companions.

The main meal consisted of white haricot beans [Heinz style but without the yummy tomato sauce], a grilled pork steak, and some green beans cooked in curry.

Michel looked at his plate then at us and out of character announced that who would need trombones – after eating this lot I would be making my own music!

On the other small table Tomas was cutting at the meat so vigorously that the entire table was shaking so badly it was as though we were in the middle of an earthquake. Pierre on the other hand had stabbed at the piece of meat with his fork and with his knife was cutting a small hole in its middle with the precision that would make any surgeon proud of his cutting technique. Then placing the blade through the newly made hole he lifted the meat well off the plate, and declared that the soles of his shoes were tenderer than this piece of merde! Actually I don’t know what he was on about, as I found the meat the tastiest thing on the plate. The only problem was by the time you cut away the bone and fat there was no more than two small mouthfuls.

Ironically I have an appointment at 2.45pm today with the dieticians – they don’t know what they are in for. I shall divulge the outcome later on in this little memoir. Before I see them however, I will be visiting reception to get my discharge papers, medical file, and most importantly the return of my cheque. I also need to pay them for my phone line.

The ambulance has been booked for 10am to take me home tomorrow Friday 18th August – it can’t come soon enough. Meanwhile I’ve just checked my watch – it’s 11.40am better make my way downstairs and see what delights the kitchen is dishing up today!

Lunch was oddly enough quite edible except perhaps for the starter: Cucumber sliced finely and floating in milk – sorry “crème” – to my eyes it was still more like milk. Adding some mayonnaise improved it a bit, but I shan’t be serving it up at any dinner party I might have!

Nothing is ever plain sailing for me – I went over to reception after my meal and paid my dues. They returned my cheque which I immediately cancelled and collected my discharge papers. My medical files however are to be delivered tomorrow morning when the nurse does her rounds – I just hope she’s not too late as she sometimes is.

Needlesstosay in the mood I was in the dieticians got more than they bargained for, but as they nodded their little heads I could see my words pass through one ear and drift into oblivion from the other. They did agree the yoghurt that is provided isn’t very nice, but that it’s because of the budget they have to work to. What did I say earlier?? I told them it would be better off not serving it up at all as half of it gets wasted. It would be better just to have a piece of fruit. They left soon after whether any of my suggestions will be implemented I’ll find out on my next visit when I get my right hip replaced.

When I went to the physio clinic after lunch with my HP Slate tablet in hand to take a couple of snaps, the therapists were suspicious and demanded to know “why”? I told them that as I was leaving and I had just spent practically every day of the last four weeks at their mercy, I wanted a souvenir of the chamber of torture.

  

Joking aside the team did [and still do] a wonderful job, but apart from offering guidance and manipulating your leg for about five minutes, the remaining fifty-five minutes is hard exercise left up to you to do. All the same, it was the routines that made the difference and the guidance will be locked in my brain on how to look after my legs moving forward.

Thanks to Mum and Lesley who have found a physio therapist in Golfe Juan conveniently located I shall be continuing my sessions as of Monday afternoon next week [21st]. I just hope the doctor here remembers to include a script for it in my medical file.

The daily ice packs have also been a great help. Talking with one of the orderlies about them she told me I can buy something similar at any pharmacy. So I guess that will also be a place to visit next week. Meanwhile though, for this weekend, Lesley said she will loan me a freezer block [the type you put in an Esky].

Reception just phoned for me to come downstairs to see them. Now what? I thought.

Ah! They needed my address for the ambulance driver. So much easier to call me down rather than access my file online and obtain the details that way!! Despite me repeating my street name three times, she still managed to write it down wrong. Thank God I’ll be in the ambulance [I hope] so that I can direct him.

 

To Be Continued…

RLB – Tomewriter

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“Dragoon Serenade” to be published

I am absolutely thrilled that Luminosity Publishing has accepted my novella written under my pen name, Louise Roberts, and have offered me a 3 year publishing contract which, of course, I have accepted.

Originally the “Romance in War” series was intended to be written as ‘sweet’ romances, where sex scenes happen behind closed doors and everything is left to the readers’ imagination. However, time has shown that readers’ appetites to sex have changed and ‘sweet’ is no longer a viable option. In a way it is a shame to be obliged to write romances that include graphic sex scenes just to be able to sell the book. It makes me wonder where our society is heading…

I hadn’t approached Luminosity Publishing when I had first set out to ‘sell’ the book as it was in the ‘sweet’ category, and Luminosity has, since publishing book 1 – “Letter from a Stranger” in this series in June 2015, withdrawn ‘sweet’ romances from its portfolio.

“Dragoon Serenade” was completed in 2016 and I was obliged to seek other publishers who still claimed to publish such a genre. Unfortunately however for one reason or another I was constantly receiving rejections for this book.

The most recent rejection gave the following reason:

While we found the history of your story fascinating, and your characterization strongly drawn, unfortunately we didn’t feel that Dragoon Serenade would work for us at this time. The story is very interesting, but is a historical story with a romantic subplot, and we are, first and foremost, a romance publisher.

We are actively looking for historical stories, but they need to be primarily romances, and Dragoon Serenade, unfortunately, doesn’t fit that bill.

Frankly I was left dumbfounded as in my opinion the story clearly showed the romantic elements between heroine and hero working side by side with the historical content of the story. My worry was that if I changed the story too much to satisfy the publisher’s issues I would dilute the entire plot.

I was also told by another editor that the Prologue was confusing and the story might work better if I took it out.

With such negative reviews I was determined to make the necessary changes for the betterment of the story. So on reviewing the Prologue I tended to agree with the editor’s concerns, but rather than remove it I replaced it with an entirely different start. The changes were such that I subsequently was obliged to go through the entire manuscript to ensure the continuity of the story reflected the revised beginning.

With regard to SEX, I have since increased the heat level and added a few extra graphic sex scenes just to whet the readers’ appetites. Although in my defense, I would say that I have kept the scenes tasteful as anything else would be out of character of my heroine and hero.

“Dragoon Serenade” is set during World War Two and is centered around the towns Cannes, Golfe Juan [where I currently reside today], Biot, Vallauris, and Agay which are located in the department of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur in southern France.

My heroine, code name ‘Simone’, is an agent of the British Special Operations Executive [SOE]. The SOE were highly trained and were specifically used for espionage, sabotage, assassinations, and reconnaissance. Although Resistance fighters had been formed when these people’s countries capitulated to the German forces, it was the SOE who coordinated them into organized fighter networks, ensuring they were supplied with military stores. This was particularly the case in France during the lead up to the invasions of Normandy and the Cote d’Azur.  The latter was code-named “Operation Dragoon”.

The hero in the story is code-named ‘Hibou’ the French word for ‘owl’.  Simone had previously known him from the time she had spent in northern France several months before the D-Day landings. At the time the two had been romantically involved. Now as Simone is being transported by submarine to Golfe Juan she hopes to be able to reignite their love.

I have done what I can to show the strong bond between Simone and Hibou but not at the expense of the action which occurs throughout the story. And I have tried to emphasize their romantic relationship in all its aspects. From tenderness to strong sexual prowess; desire, kindness and love, but inevitably where romance is concerned there is always a hint of jealousy. Just as in real life where there’s romance there will also be tears. However as with all good romances there is ALWAYS a Happy Ever After Ending.

“Dragoon Serenade” may be a romance, but it is one set in the most difficult of circumstances. War is not pretty at the best of times, and when your main characters are operating in the shadows with the Gestapo close on their heels, the tensions run high.

Of all the stories I have written so far “Dragoon Serenade” gave me the most enjoyment, and at times even made me cry – but as a romance writer I can get quite emotional.

I prayed that I had done enough with the revisions to satisfy those who would publish my story, and I could only hope that they would appreciate the efforts made that aim to keep the romance and action elements working alongside each other and not at the expense of losing the story’s personality.

It was therefore a shot in the arm when Luminosity Publishing offered me a contract to publish the story.

The comments I received along with their offer has shown me that the revisions I had made were obviously the best thing I had done:

I loved the plot in this story.

It held my interest, and I read the whole book in one session.

The writing is very good.

I am sure readers will love it as much as me.

Luminosity Publishing have set a projected a release date of October 2017 for the e-book.

They will combine Books 1 and 2 into a paperback version to be released hopefully by November 2017.

Also, as Dawné Dominique has created such fantastic covers for “The Sword and the Rose” series and also the cover for my crime novel “Out of the Darkness”, Luminosity has agreed for me to approach Dusktildawn Designs to create a cover for “Dragoon Serenade”.

RLB – Tomewriter

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Sensual Liaisons: The Sword and the Rose Collection

sensual-liaisons

Cover Design by Dusktildawn Designs and Luminosity Publishing

All original artwork by Dawné Dominique and copyright remains with her.

 

Sensual Liaisons: The Sword and the Rose Collection by Louise Roberts is a paperback that is to comprise of books 2, 3, and 4 of The Sword and the Rose Series.

So that these three great e-books can be available in print, Luminosity Publishing has incorporated them into a paperback.

The book is due for release on 15th April 2017 and can be purchased through the usual distributor channels such as Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, and Luminosity Publishing’s own website.

Although there had been plans for three more books in the series it was decided that it was time to end the Spanish 17th century saga after book 4.

 

Louise Roberts will now concentrate on her “Romance in War” series comprising of different stories set during World War II.

Book 1 – Letter from a Stranger is set in London during the Blitz was published by Luminosity Publishing in June 2015 and is available on Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes and Noble.

Book 2 – Dragoon Serenade is set in the south of France during the three weeks leading up to the Allied invasion of Operation Dragoon on 15th August 1944. Although this book is completed it is currently awaiting publication.

Book 3 – Balor’s Landing is set on the tiny island of Toraigh [Tory] off the Irish coast of county Donegal starting in September 1944. This book is Louise’s current work in progress, with four more books planned after this one.

In addition Louise is considering starting other adventures with new characters set during the 18th century but at this stage she won’t give anything away as to where and when those characters will emerge.

 

RLB – Tomewriter

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