Day Four of the “Been there, done that, bought the T-shirt” tour

Day Four

Compared to the previous few days, this one is tame. After our last breakfast at JA JA, we checked out of the hotel to begin our final day in this beautiful, and friendly area we know and love.

Since I first spotted this gothic mansion in 1993 when I was a parent chaperone on my son’s year-end school trip, it niggled at me. The house looked like this in 2004.
Day Four of the "Been there, done that, bought the T-shirt" tour

And with some photoshopping, it looked like this.

Under the watchful eye of a neighbour, we walked around the perimeter, never venturing onto the actual property. I think that would have created a call to the local constabulary. I know I have photos between then and now, but of course, when I want them, they’re hiding elsewhere.

Aside from a few public conveniences stops on the trip home, our final stop was on Île d’Orléans and the Chocolaterie de I’lle Orleans. And before you ask, no it wasn’t for chocolate. We discovered honey here that we love. So, brought back the empty jar to ensure we got the right one. The girls working in the shop got a kick out of us bringing back a used container but understood when we told them we loved this blend and wanted to ensure we got the same.

I didn’t bother recording my Fitbit stats today. They were awful. Only about 4500 steps.

 

 

Day Three of the “Been there, done that, bought the T-shirt” tour

Day Three

Today, we’re doing the crypt tour at Notre-Dame de Québec Basilica. At some point in our travels, the previous day, we found out we weren’t too late in the season for the tour, but a day early. They don’t start until Wednesday.

Day Three of the "Been there, done that, bought the T-shirt" tour

Here we were all excited to go on the tour only to find out we were a couple of hours early. I poked around and took this photo of the interior. Isn’t that beautiful?

Day Three of the "Been there, done that, bought the T-shirt" tour

After that, I got my simons fix, and we took the purchases back to the hotel. Again, no sense dragging a bag around with you that you don’t need.

Still plenty of time to kill before the 1:00 pm start. For some reason, I got it in my head the first tour was at 10:00 in the morning. Yeesh. Across the street to La Boutique de Nöel Quebec. I don’t get all gooey over Christmas anymore, but I love this shop. Summer or winter, it’s beautiful. I took this photo from the mezzanine area at the back of the store.

I was tempted to buy a jigsaw puzzle while I was in there but resisted the temptation. It would only lead to purchasing something else to assemble and store it on, then a place to put that, a place to work on the said puzzle where there is good light.

Day Three of the "Been there, done that, bought the T-shirt" tour

We decided to go over to the Pub D’Orsay for a drink and to wait for the crypt tour. In the meantime, it started to rain so inside the bar was the best place to be. Comfortable, dry and inviting. Before we left, we said we’d be back later … and we were.

After I took a couple of photos in the crypt, I found out you weren’t supposed to. I assumed because you could take as many as you wanted upstairs (without flash), it was the same down here. I got these two. And basically, this is the entire crypt.

Day Three of the "Been there, done that, bought the T-shirt" tour

Day Three of the "Been there, done that, bought the T-shirt" tour
Disappointed? You bet. When we found out about the tour last November, the fellow at the tourist information office made it sound like it was the end all, be all. I didn’t figure it would be like the catacombs in Paris but thought there was more to it.

As promised at the Pub D’Orsay, we went back. This time we had a bowl of their French Onion Soup. It’s the best I’ve tasted this side of Paris.

We puttered our way back to the hotel and opened the last bottle of champagne we brought with us. It had been in the fridge since Monday when we arrived, so it was good and cold.

When supper rolled around, it was chucking down with rain, so we went St Hubert in the Château Laurier just down the street from us.

Buddy even joined us for supper.

Day Three of the "Been there, done that, bought the T-shirt" tour

Today’s Fitbit stats:

22312 steps
47 flights of stairs
8.87 miles

Tomorrow is a travel day as we have to go home and the ‘real’ world. But we’ll be back here two more times this year.

 

Day Two of the “Been there, done that, bought the T-shirt” tour

Day Two

After breakfast this morning, our mission was to go to Metro for French’s Sweet Onion Mustard. We love it, and it’s no longer available where we live. How rude!

As luck would have it, the closest Metro is on Avenue Cartier, which is a street we wanted to visit because of the funky street lights which are year-round installations.
Day Two of the "Been there, done that, bought the T-shirt" tour

When we reached the intersection with Rue Fraser, we came across this bike. It has a USB port so you can pedal your way to charging your phone or other devices.
Day Two of the "Been there, done that, bought the T-shirt" tour
Mustard purchased and taken back to the hotel (who wants to drag around six squeeze bottles all day?), we went to fulfill our other mission which we couldn’t do last November. The gates of the old cemetery are locked by November 1st and not opened again until spring.

The most direct route from our hotel is to head a bit further away from the wall along Grande Allée then turn down Rue de Claire-Fontaine.

Looks steep going down, doesn’t it? Well, that’s nothing. When you reach the last block, there are steps on the sidewalk rather than the slope. And a handrail!

We prowled through here. It’s just something I have to do when I go somewhere. Find an old cemetery and take wander through it. This one, although small and not a huge number of stones remaining, didn’t disappoint. Roxie Rebel trailed me here, and you probably saw pictures of me in here already.

Two things off the “Been there, done that, bought the T-shirt” bucket list for this trip. Next up benjo. And to get there, you guessed it – another steep hill going down followed by more stairs.

This place is huge! Amazing! Toy heaven for all kids big and small.
Day Two of the "Been there, done that, bought the T-shirt" tour

From what I can tell from the size of the sign in the photograph, this train runs around the store on Saturdays and Sundays at scheduled times. Wouldn’t that be fun?

Day Two of the "Been there, done that, bought the T-shirt" tour

Number 5 is alive! They didn’t disassemble him. The gentleman working at this counter led the robot through a demonstration for us because we expressed an interest.

Day Two of the "Been there, done that, bought the T-shirt" tour

And a tower of the stuffies from the movie, The Secret Life of Pets. Buddy clones! Don’t tell. They’ll all want to come home with him. I’ve never seen the movie, but my Buddy (purchased in Vieux-Québec last November at La Boutique de Nöel de Québec) has brought me as much enjoyment as a real dog.

Day Two of the "Been there, done that, bought the T-shirt" tour

After all this walking, it was time for some liquid refreshment. Replace the fluids we sweated out. Off to the Pub Saint Alexandre. On our way there we spotted this beauty. How would you like to drive to and from work in it?

Revived and refreshed after a couple of drinks, we decided to do the open-top, hop on-hop off bus tour. And sit up top, naturally. It was a good thing we had our umbrellas with us because we did get rained on a couple of times up there. While others sought shelter below, we toughed it out under our brolley.

This photo of the Price Building and the Château Frontenac are from almost the same vantage point as the one taken our first night. Before and after this picture was taken, it rained.

A wander along Rue des Remparts up through Artillery Park, we found ourselves back at the pub where we had an early supper before going back to the hotel.

Fitbit stats for today:

19278 steps
49 flights of stairs
7.67 miles

 

Day One of the “Been there, done that, bought the T-shirt” tour

Day One

I’ve posted other photos during our trip – mostly those taken by the “intrepid” Roxie Rebel, and others in the Searching for Serenity game.

Here are some that have nothing to do with them (well almost nothing).

This was the closest to the white horse-drawn carriage; we rode in on a previous trip, I could find. No heart-shaped window in the canopy when the top is pulled up, and the exterior of it is black.  Still, a ride in one of these is SO romantic. We met up with this handsome equine at Port St Louis just down the road from our hotel.

Day One of the "Been there, done that, bought the T-shirt" tour

The bear family in La Fudgerie Boutique on Rue du Cul de Sac. A quick way to go through a pile of money is a stop in this store will all the chocolate, fudge and other products. Yum!

Day One of the "Been there, done that, bought the T-shirt" tour

Next door is Boutique Bilodeau. This stuffed bear cub has been standing guard outside the shop for as long as I can remember.

Day One of the "Been there, done that, bought the T-shirt" tour

And how about this guy in the window!

Day One of the "Been there, done that, bought the T-shirt" tour

These umbrellas were just one of the colourful, summer displays set up in the old city.

Day One of the "Been there, done that, bought the T-shirt" tour

We had Italian for supper at Spag&Tini. The walls in the fireplace room looked so naked compared to closer to Christmas when all the decorations take over the ledges. In It Happened on Dufferin Terrace, Roger and Serenity went to this restaurant.

This was the only night we used the Funiculaire to come back up the hill. When we reached Rue Saint-Jean, it was closed down to traffic between Côte du Palais and Rue d’Auteuil. Pedestrians meandered up and down taking in the street entertainment set up in various locations – not to mention, the bistros and pubs with their outdoor patios.

Day One of the "Been there, done that, bought the T-shirt" tour

The Price Building (left) and the Château Frontenac showing off their brightly coloured nighttime lighting.

Day One of the "Been there, done that, bought the T-shirt" tour

The Fontaine de Tourny in middle of the ’roundabout.’ It’s beautiful in the daytime but even more so at night when it’s illuminated.

Day One of the "Been there, done that, bought the T-shirt" tour

Oh, and look. The hotel rolled out the red carpet for me. Although, in this lighting and no flash, it appears more orange.

Day One of the "Been there, done that, bought the T-shirt" tour

So that was the end of our first day on this Vieux-Québec adventure.
How did we do? Well, here are the stats from my Fitbit and much of the day was spent in the car getting there.

12738 steps
29 flights of stairs
5.06 miles

NEW COVER MEANS UPDATED SYNOPSIS ~ I need help deciding…

NEW COVER MEANS UPDATED SYNOPSIS

A shiny new cover means updated synopsis for YESTERDAY TODAY ALWAYS. I mentioned when I first unveiled the ‘new and improved’ version, I needed a kicked up synopsis for the back cover, too.

This has to be the hardest part of writing the book. Boiling it down to a few paragraphs and I’ve got two variations written, but I’m not sure which one I like best. Both bring the thriller aspect forward while not removing the romantic suspense element.

Here they are:

#1

A stalker prowls the streets of Aberdeen with one person in mind. Katherine Murphy-Whithorn.

Who is he and what is his relationship to her?

Still reeling from the death of her husband in the July 7, 2005, London Bombings, Katherine builds a wall around her heart to prevent further hurt.

In a serendipitous moment her first love, Jared Martin, walks back into her life. Old feelings are rekindled, but as their second chance relationship develops, another cruel twist of fate strikes. The helicopter Jared is a passenger on ditches in the North Sea.

Can he survive the ordeal? Will they get their chance for happiness? Or is fate still not done its dirty deeds? Katherine’s stalker may have something different in mind.

Will a reckless moment from her past come back to haunt her?

Contains adult content, violence, and strong language. 18+ recommended.

#2

Who is stalking Katherine and why?

Still reeling from the death of her husband in the London Bombings, Katherine builds a wall around her heart to prevent further hurt.

In a serendipitous moment her first love, Jared Martin, walks back into her life. Old feelings are rekindled, but as their second chance relationship develops, another cruel twist of fate strikes. The helicopter Jared is a passenger on ditches in the North Sea.

Can he survive the ordeal? Will they get their chance for happiness? Or is fate still not done its dirty deeds? Katherine’s stalker may have something different in mind.

Will a reckless moment from her past come back to haunt her?

Contains adult content, violence, and strong language. 18+ recommended.

You can buy YESTERDAY TODAY ALWAYS from

amazon

Books a Million

Barnes and Noble

kobo

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Which version of the synopsis do you like best?

Let me know by leaving a comment.

Thanks so much!

Late Summer Finale of SEARCHING FOR SERENITY #game #fun

It’s the summer finale of the fun game, Searching for Serenity. Today’s episode starts and ends at the Château Frontenac. All of the locations are places Serenity walked during her time in Vieux-Québec while on the jonathans assignment.

summer finale

We’re down in the lower town now. Something significant happens here in the book but in winter. Any ideas?

summer finale

Back up the steep hill(s). This city’s wall lines one side of this street, which is named for the fortifications.

Further down the street, a pair of cannons stands guard.

Near the other end of the wall, which at this particular street, the gate (or port) has been removed. This park is bisected by Rue Richelieu.

And lastly, we’re making our way back to the Château Frontenac. This tree has something unique in its roots. Look closely, and you’ll see a cannonball. This is one of my favourite spots and on every trip to the city, I take a picture.

Think you know where the pictures were taken? Leave your guesses in the comments.

If you missed the first two episodes, you can catch up.

Day 1
and
Day 2

And to help you out with the area, here’s a map of the old city.

Good luck and have fun!

BUSTED! Roxie Rebel’s last post from Vieux-Québec … for now

Roxie RebelHi Able! Roxie here with an update on the Melanie Robertson-King assignment. So this morning, I tailed the world-famous author, from her hotel to the jaja restaurant in theHôtel Le Concorde Quebec.

My patience was rewarded. As I rounded the corner onto Wilfred-Laurier Avenue, I spotted her heading to a seat near the window. And what luck! She took the one looking outside. I crept around, and hid behind the planters and set up.

Well, just as I was focusing in on my subject, the worst possible thing happened.

I raised my camera to get a snapshot of my quarry, and a burly, security guard grabbed me by the arm. Luckily, I managed to get a photo, albeit on a bit of an angle, and upload it to the cloud before he had the nerve to confiscate my camera.

BUSTED

able caneRoxie, Roxie, Roxie. How many times do I have to remind you? You can’t get caught when you’re on assignment.

I know, Able. I’m sorry. But I got the job done. You can’t fault me for that.

No, you’re right.

And the best thing is, the police weren’t involved. The security guy took pity on me and didn’t call. Told me, too, if I behave myself these next few days, after he’s had a chance to look at the pictures on my SD card and eliminate them, I’ll get my camera back! Wheeeee!

Focus, girl. Focus. The assignment isn’t over.

Aw, I was hoping to get a chance to poke around on my own without chasing anyone.

You do this one last thing, and you’ll get your well-deserved break.

What’s that?

See if you can find out where Melanie is going next and when so we can plan.

You got it, boss. Roxie Rebel won’t let you down.

 

 

 

 

#COVER REVEAL ~ YESTERDAY TODAY ALWAYS #thriller #romanticsuspense

The original cover for my romantic suspense/psychological #thriller, YESTERDAY TODAY ALWAYS, wasn’t entirely cutting the mustard so decided it needed tarting up a bit. Bring the thriller aspect more to the front.

While the original cover is beautiful and I do love it, the psychological thriller aspect wasn’t shining through.

#thriller

A little more #thriller-like? I think so. So far, it’s only available on the e-book versions of the book. I still have to create the full cover wrap for the paperback, but before I do that, I also want to update the back cover synopsis to reflect the cross-genre aspect in a more fitting light.

What’s the book about, you ask?

Will a reckless moment from her past come back to haunt her?

Devastated by the death of her husband, Colin, in the London bombings on July 7, 2005, Katherine Murphy-Whithorn builds a wall around her heart determined to never let anyone in again. Settling into a comfortable routine, her life becomes mundane, until five years later when someone from her rebellious past returns to the city and begins stalking her.

As the curtain falls on 2010 her first love, Jared Martin walks back into Katherine´s life. Despite him being her first love, he must tear down the barrier she´s created to protect herself. Finally seeing a second chance of a life with him, Katherine couldn´t be happier until another cruel twist of fate strikes. The helicopter returning from the Alpha Ecosse platform, on which Jared is a passenger, ditches in the North Sea. Can he survive the ordeal?

Will they get their chance for happiness? Or is fate still not done its dirty deeds? Katherine’s stalker may have his own agenda.

BUY LINKS

Amazon

Kobo

Books a Million

Barnes & Noble paperback

Nook

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 What do you think of the new cover? I’d love your feedback. Please leave a comment with your thoughts.

 

THE BROTHERHOOD ~ by Jo Fenton #psychological #thriller #giveaway

brotherhood

The Brotherhood

a psychological thriller

by

Jo Fenton

 

Title of Book: The Brotherhood

Series: 1 of 2

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Release Date: 25-Jul-2018 (ebook), 20-May-2018 (paperback)

Publisher: Crooked Cat Books

 

When a young woman becomes pregnant in a religious sect, how far will she go to escape the abusive leader and save the people she loves?

The Brotherhood – safe haven or prison?

After her parents’ sudden death, a grieving Melissa falls back on her faith and into the welcoming arms of a religious sect. Captivated by their leader, Dominic, she leaves her old life behind and moves to the countryside to join them.

But life in The Brotherhood is not as safe as it first appeared. When engineer Mark joins The Brotherhood, Melissa finds herself conflicted between her growing feelings for him and her crush on Dominic. With their leader’s initial encouragement, Melissa and Mark grow close.

But as her haven becomes a prison, Melissa’s newfound happiness is destroyed by Dominic’s jealousy. How can she escape and save the ones she loves?

EXTRACT

“My  children, good  morning. Welcome to  this  assembly. I  wondered how  to  make this anniversary into a very special occasion. So, when the local parish priest approached me last week, and asked if I could help a young man in his care, this seemed to be the answer. This young man, Trevor, was recently blinded in a fire. He is suffering physically and emotionally. I consulted with the Almighty Lord, and he decreed I should help this poor fellow. What better day

to choose for a miracle than this: the first anniversary of our Lord’s visitation? Before I bring him in, we should prepare ourselves and ask for the Lord’s help with this difficult but worthwhile task.”

He signals to the pianist and she plays some opening bars. I don’t recognise the music. My heart’s racing again and my mouth is dry. Where’s the water fountain when it’s needed?

“The Abbey Prayer,” Brie whispers in my ear.

Everyone is joining in around me, but I don’t know the words. There’s a chorus after every ten lines or so, and after a few repetitions I’m able to sing a few lines here and there. There’s a thrill in the air. Anticipation sparks around me.

I can’t believe I’m about to witness a miracle. Will he actually be able to cure this man Trevor? Surely it’s not real. But then, Dominic’s supposedly the Messiah. Everyone here believes it. Maybe it is real.

The thought is interrupted by a small voice at the back of my head: He can’t bring Mum and Dad back though. What use is a miracle if he can’t do that? A lump forms immediately in my throat. I swallow it impatiently. There’s another chorus, so I try to join in again, but my throat is too full. The song ends, and I focus on the activity at the front.

A bulky man in a grey uniform comes forward. There are several men in grey standing around the edge of the Chapel. Dominic whispers to the stocky grey man, who then leaves the Chapel. He returns a moment later, leading a short man in his mid-twenties. As he gets closer, I gasp. I can’t help it. His face is covered in scars. They’re red and inflamed. The fire must have damaged more than just his eyesight.

A shudder runs through me. My face tingles as I imagine the pain he must be enduring.

Please let Dominic help him. Please don’t let it be a sham. Please let Dominic really be the Messiah. I can feel doubt running through me, and do my best to exude positivity and belief – in case it helps.

Trevor stands close to the lectern. I try to see his expression, but my view of his face is blocked by a tall woman in front. Tina shifts, and pulls me across to get a better view. We aren’t precisely out of line, but it’s an improvement.

I glance again at our visitor. Sweat glistens on the right side of his forehead; the only normal patch of skin on his face. The room’s hot. It’s only May, but temperatures are soaring into the nineties. I don’t think he’s sweating from the heat though.

“My dear young man,” Dominic addresses Trevor, his voice gentle, yet loud enough to be heard at the back of the room. “I have prayed for guidance so I can understand the best way to help you. I believe you are blind and in pain. Is that correct?”

“Yes sir.” Trevor’s voice sounds thin and feeble. Perhaps it reflects his state of mind.

Dominic rests a hand on Trevor’s shoulder. The young man winces. How far does the scarring extend?

“In order to help you, I need to call on the services of The Brotherhood.” He raises his voice slightly and turns his face to us. “My children, I must ask you to sing. Please raise your voices and embrace the beautiful and apt hymn, O What a Miracle, My Lord.”

BUY LINK

https://t.co/tTRP593Biy

ABOUT JO FENTON

brotherhood

Jo Fenton grew up in Hertfordshire. She devoured books from an early age, particularly enjoying adventure books, school stories and fantasy. She wanted to be a scientist from aged six after being given a wonderful book titled “Science Can Be Fun”. At eleven, she discovered Agatha Christie and Georgette Heyer, and now has an eclectic and much loved book collection cluttering her home office.

Jo combines an exciting career in Clinical Research with an equally exciting but very different career as a writer of psychological thrillers.

When not working, she runs (very slowly), and chats to lots of people. She lives in Manchester with her husband, two sons, a Corgi and a tankful of tropical fish. She is an active and enthusiastic member of two writing groups and a reading group.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Jo-Fenton-Author

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jl_fenton

Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17984435.Jo_Fenton

Blog: https://jofenton137.com/

Website: https://jofenton137.com/

GIVEAWAY

2 PAPERBACK COPIES UP FOR GRABS! (UK only)

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SNOWFLAKES OVER HOLLY COVE ~ by Lucy Coleman

snowlakes

Snowflakes over Holly Cove

by

Lucy Coleman

Genre: Cosy mystery/romance

Release Date:18 September 2018

Publisher: Aria Fiction

The perfect Christmas romance for fans of Karen Swan.

As the snowflakes start to fall, Holly Cove welcomes a new tenant to the beautiful old cottage on the beach…

For lifestyle magazine journalist Tia Armstrong, relationships, as well as Christmas, have lost all their magic. Yet Tia is up against a Christmas deadline for her latest article ‘Love is, actually, all around…’

So, Tia heads to Holly Cove where the restorative sea air and rugged stranger, Nic, slowly but surely start mending her broken heart.

Tia didn’t expect a white Christmas, and she certainly never dared dream that all her Christmas wishes might just come true…

Set in Caswell Bay on the stunningly rugged Gower Coast, the cottage nestles amid the limestone cliffs and the woodlands; the emotions run as turbulently as the wind-swept sea.

As cosy as a marshmallow-topped cup of cocoa, fall in love with a heart-warming festive story from the bestselling author of The French Adventure.

EXTRACT

 

PROLOGUE

Mum and I link arms, faces turned upwards towards the heavens. Our eyes scan the dense and strangely opaque grey sky, as a flurry of large snowflakes rain down upon us. Like a feather pillow which has burst its seams, we are bombarded by a cascade of soft, white clusters of icy crystals. Having to constantly blink away the fluffy white particles as they hit our eyelashes, we hug each other and begin laughing, totally enthralled.

With cheeks starting to glisten as the ice melts on contact, already the heavier flakes begin to settle on our hair and thick winter coats. As carefree as children, we survey the scene in awe. The street outside our boutique hotel is being turned into a winter wonderland in front of our eyes.

The combination of a heavily-laden sky and the soft carpet beneath our feet muffles every little sound; even our footsteps no longer echo as we head off in search of the bright lights. I know that this is a memory that will be etched on our minds forever, as Mum squeezes my arm and turns to smile at me. I feel like Santa dispensing a little Christmas magic, as what I see reflected in her eyes is a moment of almost child-like happiness and joy. And to me that is priceless.

As we turn the corner, ahead of us is a cacophony of sounds softened by the backdrop that is almost a mini blizzard now – a snow globe brought to life. The traffic has slowed, but horns still toot and sirens still screech; a city that never sleeps cannot be stopped.

With last-minute shoppers and people now eager to make their way home, the sidewalks are so busy that the pitching snow is quickly trampled underfoot. Being swept along with the crowd, as if we are New Yorkers and not merely visitors, it’s easy to soak up the ambience.

Suddenly, a guy wearing a Santa outfit appears in front of us ringing a small hand bell and holding up a bucket, part-filled with coins. He’s an older man and his beard and moustache appear to be real. I’m guessing the flowing white hair is a wig, as it’s as white as the snowflakes that continue to fall. It looks like some of that padding around the middle might not actually be padding, though. He’s even wearing half-moon glasses, perched low on his nose. Everything about him embodies the Santa images I remember from my childhood.

‘Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas, ladies. Do you have a few coins to spare to make my bucket a little fuller? Help the homeless at Christmas.’

Mum turns her head to look at me, a bemused smile on her face. We immediately dive into our handbags to pull out a handful of coins each, that clatter as we throw them into the bucket.

‘Merry Christmas and I hope it’s a truly wonderful one for you both.’

‘Thank you, Santa, and good luck filling that bucket.’

His eyes crinkle up when he smiles back at us and for some reason he reaches out to place his gloved hand on Mum’s shoulder.

‘The season’s blessings upon you, my dear. Enjoy this special holiday.’

With that he moves on past us, leaving Mum and me to stare after him as he continues to greet people and accept donations. Even when Mum and I link arms and begin moving forward again, the tinkling sound of that little bell seems to float on the air.

‘It’s like another world,’ Mum exclaims, totally captivated and more than a little overwhelmed by the skyline that towers above us.

‘So good, they named it twice – the city and the state!’

Ahead of us a Starbucks offers a chance to warm ourselves up a little and we hurry inside. There’s a table for two in the window and I settle Mum down before I head off to order our coffees.

In the background the sounds of Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree add to the lively and festive atmosphere. Most of the people who are seated have a pile of carrier bags stuffed beneath their seats and there’s a real buzz in the air as the holiday season is about to begin.

‘Eggnog Latte or Chestnut Praline Latte?’

Mum looks up at me, raising her eyebrows and giving a shrug of her shoulders. ‘Surprise me!’

‘Eggnog Latte, then. Why not?’

When it’s cool enough for her to take that first sip, a little smile creeps over her face.

‘This reminds me of my father. He always made eggnog at Christmas. It was his only contribution, as my mother even carved the turkey.’ She laughs to herself, transported back to a special moment goodness knows how many years ago.

‘I’m not even sure how it’s made,’ I admit. I’m pretty sure it’s a drink I’ve never tried.

‘The secret is in the nutmeg, he always said. It’s milk, cream, a little cinnamon and vanilla mixed with eggs, sugar and bourbon. It was a luxury in those days. Even the smell of it conjures up Christmas, to me.’

It’s wonderful to sit here and hear her talking about Christmases from her own childhood. ‘This is truly magical, Tia, thank you so very much. My wonderful, darling daughter, what would I do without you in my life? Spending time with you is gift enough, so today I’m doubly blessed.’

I vowed then, that in future we’ll celebrate every Christmas Eve in style at a very special destination. I can’t think of a better way to repay her for all those wonderful Christmas memories from my childhood. Losing my father, and then a family row distancing my brother from us, has blighted far too many Christmases already.

Our first trip had to be New York; home of the iconic yellow taxi cab, Central Park and the Statue of Liberty. And, of course, the setting for one of the greatest Christmas movies of all time: Miracle on 34th Street. But who knows where we’ll be this time next year? My only wish is that the snowflakes will begin to fall, as that’s the little bit of magic that makes Christmas special, no matter what age you are.

 

BUY LINKS

http://smarturl.it/SnowflkOverHollyCove

snowflakes

ABOUT LUCY COLEMAN

snowflakes

From interior designer to author, Linn B. Halton – who also writes under the pen name of Lucy Coleman – says ‘it’s been a fantastic journey!’

Linn is the bestselling author of more than a dozen novels and is excited to be writing for both Aria Fiction (Head of Zeus) and Harper Impulse (Harper Collins); she’s represented by Sara Keane of the Keane Kataria Literary Agency.

When she’s not writing, or spending time with the family, she’s either upcycling furniture or working in the garden.

Linn won the 2013 UK Festival of Romance: Innovation in Romantic Fiction award; her novels have been short-listed in the UK’s Festival of Romance and the eFestival of Words Book Awards.

Living in Coed Duon in the Welsh Valleys with her ‘rock’, Lawrence, and gorgeous Bengal cat Ziggy, she freely admits she’s an eternal romantic.

Linn is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and writes feel-good, uplifting novels about life, love and relationships.

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/LinnBHaltonAuthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LucyColemanAuth

 https://twitter.com/LinnBHalton

Website:  http://linnbhalton.co.uk/

COMPETITION

A Christmas Book-reading Bag (a signed copy of A Cottage in the Country + treats) – UK ONLY

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My Scottish roots and writing by Melanie Robertson-King