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  • Writer's pictureMichael Parker

Pressure; what pressure?

Looking back at the month of August and using my diary for pointers, I can see how busy I actually was, when I usually feel I sometimes just dribble my daily life away. Not so; I jotted down a list of pointers before starting this and ended up with sixteen bullet points without including my routine life of domesticity.

One of the major occurrences was a week with my friend, Pauline, and a visit from my grandson from the USA with his wife, but more about that later. One decision I made was to shelve the current Emma Carney Romance I’ve been writing. It was to be the fourth Romance of five I promised myself I would do this year using the Emma Carney pen name. But I soon came to the conclusion that I was simply writing a series of disconnected scenes that were supposed to lead to a well written and thoughtful Romance; not so, and as a consequence I came to the inevitable decision to shelve it despite being twelve thousand words into the story. Was I being brave or what? But there’s a twist: I started another. Brave or stupid?

For some reason, mainly due to outside influences, I decided to write a Romance set in Occupied France. In Paris actually. My heroine is a young French woman, Charlotte de la Cour. I decided to use some old fashioned research and have ordered a couple of books about the women who worked undercover with the French Resistance. One of the books arrived a couple of days ago. The other is due today. I have also registered with the British Newspaper Archives in the hope that I can add to my research. All this took my mind back to the days when my research consisted mainly of the local library and contacting other people and places for information. And although it’s of no consequence now, I met a distant family relative in 1961 who had been awarded a medal by the French for her work with the Resistance. If only I could time travel back to that meeting and get some first-hand information.

But, leaving my writing aside, let me tell you about other highlights of my month. I travelled up to Lincolnshire and brought our friend, Pauline, down here for a week. Pat and I first met Pauline and her husband, Brian, after we moved to Spain in 1997. Brian passed away shortly after my lovely Pat. While Pauline was here, my grandson, Sam, came over for a visit with his wife, Taryn. They stayed for a night and we enjoyed a meal and a pint of Guiness at our local watering hole. During that week, we went over to visit our son, John and his wife, Bryony, for a BBQ. It happened to be the third anniversary of Pat’s passing, so we raised a glass of English sparkling Nyetimber wine in her honour.

Another highlight was going to Chichester with our boy, Terry, to meet a Harrier jump jet enthusiast, Chris, who was collecting the signatures of as many Harrier pilots as he could for his collection of paintings and text books. As Terry had been a Harrier pilot, it made for a very interesting couple of hours talking about his career, the highs and the lows etc. And it was interesting to see some of the signatures that Chris had collected, even down to the late John Farley who was the Hawker Sidley test pilot who became known as Mister Harrier.

Want another highlight? Pauline showed me how to make batter. We bought some white fish and I cooked it (under supervision of course) for a fish and chip lunch. Another? I almost got caught in a WhatsApp scam for £4000. Fortunately it all fell apart before I parted with the money. But it left me feeling basically naked to realise that I could fall for a trick like that. I thanked God for looking out for me.

And there’s more: I actually flew an A380 Airbus simulator, courtesy of EasyJet and my son, Terry, who is a training captain there. EasyJet had a family day at their facility near Gatwick. Terry was given two, one hour slots, which meant one hour for his youngest boy, Freddie, and the other hour for me. Freddie flew it almost perfectly, but we won’t say too much about yours truly.

And I can’t leave my highlights there without mentioning the Lionesses World Cup performance. I watched and enjoyed them all. It was a pity we lost to Spain in the final, but as we all know; there can only be one winner. But the Girls won the love and respect of most football (and non-football) fans. Me certainly.

I’m growing tomatoes. Well, trying. Another of my brilliant ideas that will probably wither on the vine (if you’ll pardon the pun!). They might be ripe by Christmas if they haven’t rotted by then.

But back to my books. My best selling book, The Devil’s Trinity, is still selling, but the numbers are going down. Nothing else of mine is selling, but that’s because I’ve stopped advertising (wasting my money) and have no email subscribers anymore. I have to admit I’ve come to the end of trying to achieve a productive output of books and pile into promoting them; I never seem to make any headway anyway, although I have coughed up a substantial amount with another promoter to promote the book.

Going back to my change of direction with the Emma Carney Romances, I got quite excited and keen to start writing about Occupied Paris. So much so that I wrote the first 1500 words in one sitting without even having started my research. Needless to say I rewrote the sequence once I had some proper facts on which to relate. So far I’m about 3500 words in and seeing so many different ways this story can go. But unlike the real heroines who worked with the SOE and the OSS, my girl Charlotte is a figment of my imagination, and I have to be careful that I don’t wander into too many tales of derring-do, which could be something of a drag. And no, she won’t be able to save France; I can’t cram four years of German occupation into 80,000 words, but we’ll give them a good run for their money and rustle up a romance in the meantime.

Wish me luck!

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