Tag Archives: Out of the Darkness

An Aussie Author in Provence

An Aussie Author in Provence by Robert L J Borg a.k.a. Louise Roberts

Article previously published November 2017 in Hearts Talk – the official magazine of Romance Writers of Australia

People living in Golfe-Juan will tell you the country is made of two parts: Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur [PACA] and the rest of France.  Since moving here in March 2016 I can now appreciate what they mean; for in this region everything seems to move at a very slow pace. As an example it took almost a year since buying my apartment into actually receiving the deeds.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not knocking the place; quite the opposite in fact. France in general is a very beautiful country – I travelled around it a fair bit in the late 1970’s, but the south of France is an entity that swallows you whole.

In winter, the coastal towns are so laid back you feel as though you are the only one living here – it is so quiet. However, when spring and summer arrive, it’s as though someone has applied a defibrillator to it, as the region suddenly becomes fast paced and alive with tourists, the rich and famous among their number. Stunning yachts fill the ports, exotic cars cruise the coastal roads, and restaurants and bars are filled to bursting.

It inspires you to visit new locations and revisit places you have been to before. As an author this time of the year is best, especially for people watching. The more you see, the more character developments start to fill your repertoire to eventually find themselves into one of your stories. It is an inspirational part of the world where history and traditional values play an important role in its very special identity.

I left Australia with an amount of uncertainty at what I might find. When I arrived I knew I had made the right decision. Although the French can be suspicious, annoyingly slow, and have a weird sense of humor, they have also a generosity with their time for you, especially when you make the effort to speak their language. French is not particularly easy when you haven’t used it since learning it at school – in my case some fifty plus years ago. I still struggle with it today even though I am told I speak it very well [personally I think they are just being polite].

Re-reading everything I have written so far, it sounds like a plug for their tourist office, but changing it would mean that all I have said hasn’t had a major effect on my writing, when in fact it has.

Since March 2016 two books were released by Luminosity Publishing under my pen name, Louise Roberts, and a third was released on 26th October.  The 37,000 word novella “Dragoon Serenade” is located in this area set during the lead up to the Allied invasion of southern France on 15th August 1944. The region’s history, its people, the communities that encompasses them has entirely influenced my story. You can get a glimpse of it on my blog or view the book trailer on YouTube:

https://louiserobertsromance.wordpress.com/dragoon-serenade/

https://youtu.be/yo2PHH2gjmQ

On 15th November 2017 Luminosity Publishing will be releasing a paperback entitled “Romance in War – Volume One”. This comprises of books 1 – “Letter from a Stranger” and 2 – “Dragoon Serenade”.

Despite giving my pseudonym the bulk of my time, I have also found some for myself. Apart from writing fiction, I also dabble in travel writing which is probably why the start of this article sounds like a travel brochure. More importantly for me, I have had the time to completely re-write my very first novel “Out of the Darkness”. Although originally completed in 1994 I never thought it good enough to submit. The calming effect the Côte d’Azur has influenced me to have the courage to tear it apart and start again. Hopefully I can find a home for it in 2018.

https://tomewriter.wordpress.com/out-of-the-darkness/

At present I also have two Works-in-Progress on the go, but I’m not rushing them as that would go against the way things are done in the south of France.

*

RLB – Tomewriter

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Robert L J Borg & Viviane Elisabeth Borg - Our Writings

Watch Out for the Curveballs – Part Eight

Watch Out for the Curveballs

 

Copyright © Robert L J Borg 2017

Part Eight

 

It is Sunday 23rd July 2017 and it is 1.40am. So much for getting some sleep, I don’t think I have peed so much in my life so far. Oh! And just not to keep you in suspense regarding number two, I think I’m going to have to send out for a search party to try and locate it.

Well we’re into my last day at the hospital and wonderfully, if the nurse is right, my last day at being injected with that horrible Lovenox. Starting tomorrow morning I’ll be on the Pradaxa. That at least is a pill; two pills to be precise – morning and night – so much nicer than being stabbed twice a day. I think I may already have mentioned this earlier, but hey! It’s my blog.

The one thing I must do today is wash my hair. I’m still being denied showers. I don’t understand why they don’t just place a massive waterproof plaster over the wound. It’s not very healthy to go without showering is it? Sure I wash and make sure I’m clean in my lower regions using baby wipes but that’s not the same thing.

Okay, Okay! I surrender. Switching the light off and try and get some sleep before the night nurse comes in to wake me.

*

3.20am, and this is becoming more than a joke now. I certainly hope they haven’t fixed one problem only to give me another? This is what happened to my dad. He had terrible times with bowel movements – or lack of them. When he did go he let everyone know about it. Unfortunately in the end the cancer had spread and there was no saving him. Not that I’m being melodramatic – so far I have evaded this terrible sickness. He died aged 64, which is two years younger than I am now – sad. If I’m to have any problems it’s more likely to be with the prostate. I may pee a lot, but it takes forever to get going and then it never wants to stop. Even when I do stop there is always one last trickle as if it says to me: “Got You!” – Sod!!

It’s 5.50am and I was woken by the night nurse to replace the bag of ice and provide me with a fresh carafe of water. I took advantage of being awake and padded to the loo. When I returned I noticed a dark stain on the bottom sheet so I switched on the light – Damn! The wound has wept. I called the nurse back who placed a new band-aid on the existing one. She told me she would mention it to the day staff on hand over and get them to replace it completely. I also asked her for another laxative; again she said she would tell the day nurse to give it to me BEFORE breakfast. It might be an interesting day. I think I should stay here rather than go to the rehab centre tomorrow; but in the end it’s the doctor’s call, so I’ll just have to wait and see what he recommends.

Despite my earlier gripes caused by the pain, the excessive heat in this room and the meds, I just want to set the record straight by saying I have every confidence with the nursing and surgical staff here.

7.45am – Ms Sourpuss came in this morning and jabbed me in my right thigh which caught me by surprise as all the other jabs of Lovenox went straight into my stomach. Perhaps she couldn’t be bothered to stretch just that bit further. She took my blood pressure, temperature, and pulse rate and said it was all normal. Whatever ‘normal’ is? I spoke to her about the bleeding and she said it was ‘normal’ discharge – better out than in. As she was walking out of the room I told her about the #2 problem I was having. She came back with a double whammy of the laxative which she instructed for me to ingest before breakfast. At this rate though if breakfast doesn’t arrive soon it will be more like lunch! Mind you it is Sunday today so perhaps they’re having a lie in. Still, until it shows up I can’t take any of my medications. If all else fails there is always Mum’s brownies. I’ll give them another ten minutes.

Ta-dah!! Breakfast has arrived. Hot chocolate in a glass and a croissant – lovely; but before I could enjoy this wonderful ‘repas’ I took the laxative – fingers and toes crossed that it does the job.

Apart from a few tummy grumbles nothing to show for it, so to cheer myself up I decided to wash my hair in the bathroom sink. Not an easy task, but due to my short hair it wasn’t too strenuous. After washing the rest of me and giving the teeth a good brush I went for a walk. I only went as far as the end of the corridor, but my first ‘real’ walk in four days. Having returned to my room I climbed into bed and did ten minutes of leg exercises.

Now I’m all hot and bothered again – I can’t win!!

This diary is definitely going to be a book. When I emailed Romance Writers’ of Australia [RWA] Hearts Talk magazine to get the cut off dates for October and November releases, the editor, seeing my email address was French, asked if I wouldn’t mind writing a couple of articles for the magazine. As I write romance using a female pen name she asked: “Why you’ve chosen to write under a female pseudonym, how that helps in the romance world’ and how you get inside a female’s head. And also I would love to hear about life in the South of France, of course.” Regarding the latter I think she would get quite a shock if I sent her this – Ha Ha! No. I wouldn’t be so cruel. Actually the thing that comes to mind is how the location has inspired my writing. Since my arrival in March 2016 I have written three novellas and re-written a novel. Two of the novellas have been published through Luminosity Publishing and on April 15, 2017 a paperback version of Books 1, 2 and 3 was released entitled “Sensual Liaisons”. The third novella, Dragoon Serenade is due for release by them on October 26, 2017.

       

The novel, Out of the Darkness is under contract with Foundations Books LLC and is scheduled for release sometime at the end of this year.

A date has not yet been set, although mid-November would be good so I can buy a copy as it would make a great gift to my sister, Lesley whose birthday is on 30th November.

Luminosity Publishing however are more on the ball and they will be releasing Books 1 and 2 of the Romance in War series in a print version on November 15, 2017.

I have submitted this to the RWA so it gets included for the “November Releases” in Hearts Talk. Unfortunately, as I haven’t been able to get Foundations Books to provide me with a confirmed release date for “Out of the Darkness” it looks like my novel will miss out on much-needed publicity.

Aside the serious writing I have also penned a few travel blogs and I am currently in the process of writing two Works-in-Progress. Although I must admit I haven’t been spending too much time on them lately. Mostly because I’ve been distracted with this hip replacement and a few other things I shan’t bore you with.

As of tomorrow – God willing – I should be transferring to the rehab centre. Meanwhile sitting up in bed I find I am constantly nodding off all the time despite me leaving the door open purposely so I can see people coming and going. The cleaner has just shown up and she seems concerned of the numerous chairs in my room. There are three. As long as they leave two for when Mum and Lesley visit this afternoon I couldn’t give a fig about the third one. The cleaner is washing the floors with a product which is leaving a wonderful floral aroma; a nice change from the usual hospital smells.

I’ve just checked my watch and it is only 10am. It’s going to be a long day.

How wrong can you be of some people??

I can no longer dub her Ms Sourpuss, but change her name to Ms Pleasant. I expect she’d been having a bad day when we first crossed paths. She has just left my room – it is 10.40am – having re-dressed my wound amidst a very pleasant chat. What’s more, thanks to her, a few moments before she arrived, I could hear the Celestial Choir and orchestra pumping out “Hallelujah”, and as my dear old dad would have blurted out [in Italian of course] for the whole world to hear – “I’VE DONE IT!!”

No doubt having uncapped the cork it will be the first of many visits. You’ll be pleased to know therefore this topic of conversation is officially closed.

1.30pm – Lunch eaten: not too inspiring:

Starter: Tuna and peas in mayonnaise. Main: Two slices of cold roast beef, Dauphine potatoes that were tasteless despite me adding salt and pepper; cheese and a bread roll. The cheese was exceptionally nice and I’ll have to buy it when I get back home. It was called “Tome Noir”. Not sure if you’ll find it outside France, but if you like cheese it certainly worth having a hunt for it at your local supermarket. Dessert: Vanilla Éclair – yummy. Perhaps I should have started with the dessert?

No sooner had I eaten it that nature called for the third time. It’s like waiting for a bus: you don’t see one for hours and then a dozen arrive all at once. The tummy is still rumbling – Okay, Okay! I know what I said, but if I can’t escape it, why should you get off so easily?

The leg was becoming stiff from all this sitting around so I decided to go for a short walk along the corridor again. I said ‘Hi’ to a couple of fellow patients in the same predicament as me, except for a young guy in room 2311 who had some weights hanging off his leg – looked like something out of the Spanish Inquisition – poor sod!

 

To Be Continued…

RLB – Tomewriter

Leave a comment

Filed under Robert L J Borg & Viviane Elisabeth Borg - Our Writings

“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

Leave a comment

Filed under Robert L J Borg & Viviane Elisabeth Borg - Our Writings

A Sad Day Indeed

A sad day… the first real publication offer received for “Out of the Darkness” and I refused it. Although the publisher said: the manuscript is a wonderful tale, well written, with a great plot and subplots‘, they wanted me to change the time frame. As this would mean losing the story’s originality, and affecting the two subsequent stories I have planned for this series, I decided to reject their offer.

It’s bad enough that we Australian writers always have to ‘bend’ to the demands of the American market, by writing our stories in American English, using Americanized expressions such as ‘parking lot’ instead of ‘car park’, ‘sheriff’s office’ instead of ‘police station’, etc… etc… but for the sake of a 23 year time frame when mobile phones were just starting to make an appearance and not everyone owned one, the publisher insists to bring the time line forward so that my characters have mobiles in their possession so as not to have to use a pay phone then it is time to hold one’s ground, and say ‘NO’.

Which is precisely what I have done. I told the publisher ‘Thank You’, but ‘No Thank You’.

Out of the Darkness” is my very first piece of serious writing which began its life in 1994 [the time frame of my story], but which I never considered it good enough at the time to submit it for publication. Instead I worked on it trying to improve its quality over several years and in the meanwhile wrote and self-published my non-fiction history book “Smithy’s War [that took 10 years to research and write], and my first historical romance novel “Beneath Southern Stars” using a pen name ‘Louise Roberts’.

Since then Louise has had published five historical romances by Luminosity Publishing UK. With their successes, I thought it was time for “Out of the Darkness” to have the same opportunity.

Despite submitting it unsuccessfully to several publishers over the last few years, this latest publisher’s initial email was the only one which expressed any encouragement, as did their email accepting my rejection, which stated:

‘Our readers did enjoy the story and had good things to say about it, including that they would love to see it contracted and revised so it could find an audience because they like your voice and your ability to keep the suspense going. So I hope you consider our point of view and perhaps update it over time – as I mentioned, that late 1900s time frame is a hard sell to readers, which could be why other publishers were hesitant to contract it. No matter how much we like a story, we still have to make a living’.

Personally as much as I appreciate their candor, I don’t see why a certain time frame should annoy readers. If the story has the right ingredients and is a good suspense thriller then why would the date in history be a disadvantage?

In the early 1990’s Australia saw at least 326 violent crimes including the murder of politician John Newman assassinated outside his home in 1994, and the back packer murders 1988-1992.

Despite this being a shameful statistic it is a speck in the ocean compared to the same period in America, where it is reported that in 1992 alone in excess of 2,000,000 murders, rapes, aggravated assaults, and robberies took place.

As for “Out of the Darkness” which is set in Australia and Malta in January 1994, I strongly believe this story deserves the best, and I had hoped that a third-party publisher could do it justice. However it now seems that the only way that I am going to get this story published without compromising the plot and time frame is to self-publish.

 

RLB – Tomewriter

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Robert L J Borg & Viviane Elisabeth Borg - Our Writings

Re-Think…

I expect it’s because I have yet another cold at present which has got me thinking about doing things differently or should I say revising my priorities.

I had decided I would be putting book writing on hold for a couple of months and concentrate on my blogs whilst I await on the fate of The Sword and the Rose and To Embrace Amidst Orange Blossoms.

Although I have every intention to write Out of the Darkness and Affectionately Yours… I think I may be putting these two books on a back-burner for a while.

The reason being that I have had a re-think… and a re-prioritisation of what to write.

When my mother published her memoir in 1997 she said she had regretted naming it When the Wind Blows. One of the reasons was because the author James Patterson had released a best seller at the same time with the same title [Barnes & Noble rating 4/5 and Goodreads 3.9/5].

The main reason however was her unmovable love for the Nile. As children growing up in London in the late fifties and sixties all we ever seemed to hear was reminisces of her life in that far away land.

Some time ago Mum came up with the idea of re-writing her book with a revised title; but now in her late 80’s and suffering from macula degeneration the likelihood of this happening is next to zero. As a loving son and author in my own right, I hope to allow her achieve this ambition by re-writing it on her behalf.

I agreed to do so on one condition. Mum had used fictitious names for the characters in her book. This being a memoir of her life experiences I see no reason as to why the true names should not appear, especially now as so many of them are deceased. This book would then be a tribute to their memory as it would be for my father’s as my mother had intended.

The only other change I may make is to add photographs where appropriate [always assuming I can find them – mum had a clear out of these not too long ago and I fear many memories have gone to some landfill project]. The rest of the book will remain unchanged except in the Preface where references are made in the present [for we are now in the 21st century] and will be presented in the same manner of the original book.

Ever since mum wrote her memoirs the book has been in high demand; unfortunately as she only printed a limited number of copies many people who would have loved to have read her story never got that opportunity. It is hoped by re-writing it as a soft copy initially it may allow greater distribution. When it is completed I will be sending it on her behalf to various 3rd Party Publishers in the hope they will pick up the option to turn this good book into a great one.

As of today Exiled Children of the Nile will begin to take shape. I hope I can do it and my mum justice.

RLB – Tomewriter

2 Comments

Filed under Robert L J Borg & Viviane Elisabeth Borg - Our Writings