Love Bleeds Blue in Paris

Paris and Tonnay Charente 097Some part of me is always in Paris. I know she’s a shabby arrogant bitch who would shrug off my impudent fan mail but I just can’t stop writing them. I could tell her she’s just a heap of stones arranged around a muddy river. I could tell her she’s not as French as I am, that her cool gaze was international and more security cordon than cordon bleu. And she would shrug and rain on me, lifting her skirt above the red and grey reflecting cobbles to show a tease of petticoat.

So, for a while I gave up the fan mail. This time I did a whole novel. I know she won’t care.She won’t read it. She’ll sell it secondhand for fifty cents on a Sunday market stall on la rive gauche. I walk in the tear stained footprints of the wasted and decadent greats. I hum along to the metro jazz and long to soften her lips of stone. A woman should not feel this way – but Paris – I love you so so much.

Paris graphic

Don’t tell me she’s male. No – Paris knows more of love than any man! Tell me I’m wrong guys – please.

Emma Thinx: In a language with genders go for the plural. Get the max.

 

 

 

 

 

Ageless Love. Gorgeous Grans.

brigitte

Image Published in Dawn, May 1st, 2016

When is love ever wrong? Maybe never. Maybe what I really mean is sex. Well, generally you know when you’ve had sex with someone or even on your own. But LOVE – that poor horse-whipped thoroughbred is far harder to recognise.

In my latest Passion Patrol novel (out soon folks!) there’s my usual sprinkling of indefensibly gratuitous lust. The setting is contemporary France where such matters are often part of the political mix. Even so, some things raise an un-plucked Gallic eyebrow. A few days ago my neighbour and I were discussing the up coming presidential elections in which a front runner is Emmanuel Macron, millionaire banker and ex socialist minister of finance in the Hollande government. In a whisper she told me “His wife is much older – she was his teacher at school. She was thirty eight and he was fifteen.”

Of course nothing happened until he was eighteen but well – it’s all rather lovely isn’t it? Actually it’s all rather stimulating. By the way – she’s a lovely woman. Not sure about him. Readers can expect some up close exploration of this theme. And that’s before we start talking about the leader of the French National Front Marine Le Pen. A lot of men (and women) find her sexy. Who the hell needs politics if we could just have happy sex and a good sexy political  read? Coming soon guys!

marine

Image courtesy Twitter.

Emma Thinx: Politics – what sexy people know as love and what lovers know as sex.

Suspense Romance meets Romantic Suspension Bridge

OK guys – it’s tuxedo and red carpet time. Well, maybe not quite but all things are relative. Members of my VIP Crew entered a draw to receive a free audio book edition of my story Escape to Love.

Rather than just drawing the names out of any old hat, I put on my cycle helmet and pedaled my tandem to the French town of Tonnay Charente for my first two wheeler-four legger  outing of the year. It seemed an appropriate location for the draw as the flow of one of France’s greatest rivers swept its random cargo of fallen tree branches onward to the Atlantic ocean.

paris-and-tonnay-charente-358

The flow of chance

I decided to award four prizes rather than just one – cos well hey, it’s Spring and I like to splosh out the romance whenever I get the chance. I think I’ve said already that I am the reader on the audio book. I’ve still got a slight London accent as has the central character Maria. I’m not a pro audio artiste but between you and me I never submit a book before I’ve read every word out loud. It’s a sure way to spot an ugly or awkward sentence or an unbalanced paragraph. So, here are our winners:

M. Cervantes from Texas USA.

M.Gerhart from Shoemakersville USA.

R. Fauble from Cadillac USA.

J.Edwards From Richmond USA.

Good job guys and thanks to everyone for joining in. Hope you enjoy the story. As you know I write about cops in my Passion Patrol books but this big hearted tough gal is on the other side of the line. Well, we all know it’s a pretty thin line don’t we!

Emma Thinx: Life’s an acting job. Don’t learn a line you can’t walk for real.

 

Emma’s Spare Tyre Tummy Award Goes Gourmet in France

Canard – The first bite is with the eyes. Then you taste with your heart and enjoy with your soul. 

The French have many words to express culinary excellence. They have cordon bleu chefs and haute cuisine. My favourite term is La Gourmandise which kinda expresses a perfection of pleasure. It takes into account the ambiance and the sheer joy of tasting a wonderful meal. 

Monk fish – too good to eat, so you savour slowly

A few days ago I had lunch in the village of Taillebourg which lies alongside the beautiful Charente river. This was not the first time I had visited “L’Auberge des Glycines”. You can check out my previous post here.

Between us we tasted duck, sea bass, filets de rouget, monk fish, souffle with grand marnier and on and on. We had a pichet of the house Bordeaux red which was as full and smooth as anything I’ve tasted anywhere.

An experience of beauty

Clearly the guys who run this place take pride in their work. It seems to me that they have a passion to provide an experience of beauty. They sure do succeed. 

Inside there’s chocolate and caramel…..



My warmest thanks to “L’Auberge des Glycines”. They top the list of Emma’s Spare Tyre Tummy Awards.

P.S. They have the cutest boxer dog!

Je suis français, but you can call me Winston.








Elsewhere in life, we are now in Movember. I’m gearing up the machine to draw attention to myself – this time for a good cause as a ‘Mo Sista’. The local press have just been on the phone. Oooh – let’s hope we sell truck loads of the Movember anthology ‘Let’s Hear it For the Boys’.



Emma thinx: Take the male out of Female and you find the iron lady




Chinese Lantern

And here I am in France. The great cycle race ended in Paris on Sunday and like so many cycling fans and half the population of France a void has opened before me.  

This year has been one of the most remarkable ever. The two main favourites crashed out in the early stages. The eventual winner was Vincenzo Nibali, a somewhat enigmatic Italian. His top position on the Parisian podium was completely eclipsed by the greater victories of two French riders in second and third places. A French commentator interviewing the champion asked: “Well done for your win of course, but you have to concede you had the strongest team. I imagine you are very proud to have ridden with so many fabulous French riders…”

The diplomatic champion acknowledged their triumph. The studio anchor man told the Nation “We are not chauvinists! We are patriots!”

Chinese Lantern Ji Cheng

For now French cycling is on a high. I’m hoping more young folk will be pulling on their Lycra, shaving their legs and turning away from the cigarettes. Also, Chapeau to the guys who won second and third places -Jean Christophe Peraud and Thibault Pinot. To me they all are heroes and champions particularly the Chinese rider Ji Cheng who was the last guy home. Although technically the red lantern at the back of the field, he was a visible player, often in breakaways. He was a marvel and a credit to China. From my pinnacle of fame as a romantic novelist clinging on in invisibility at the back of the book-bashing peleton, I salute you. 

In my day job as an audio editor and producer I have also been immersed in the Tour de France. I have just completed an audiobook narrated by Oscar Sparrow entitled The Tour de France – The Inside Story. Written by Les Woodland, a consummate writer of the polished professional journalistic school, it reflects his own passion for cycling and shares the inside track on those great men who gave birth to the Tour and those who then sustained its legend. It is a fascinating nine-hour account filled with human flavour, foibles and falibility. We did a video clip to show our own way of working on such a project. It’s a great read and an even better listen.

If you want to get a free download of this insight into cycling (worth $19.95/£14.95), whether you’re a fan or not, in exchange for an honest review, leave a message below and I’ll send you your own code for Audible…


Emma Thinx: The French do have a a word for chauvinism




Winter Postcard From Saint Savinien Sur Charente

Thank you, thank you – I am alive and I can see.

I’m home in France. My dear dear Charente Maritime – I love you. You are always here waiting for me. The neighbours kiss me. Your beauty washes down through stone into river and sky. I am so lucky in my life to be here with eyes to see and a mind to abandon to you. Truly I am in awe of this place. It is a watercolour picture of the heart with a smile of church bells.

Winter sun , your fine pen of stark beauty draws a summer in my heart



To infinity and beyond those French films of avenues and kisses.

I am pausing today from the ding dong of Shannon’s Law and  blog tours. I took my camera for a walk to try to fix the atmospheric light of this winter’s day. Spring is nibbling at the edges now.The bare trees still expose that truth of  Nature’s skeleton. As any of my readers will know, I never hold back in talking openly about love and its worldly hit-man, sex. In a way, Winter is the truth of enduring love. It is the true uncompromising hardcore when all the dressing up, tease, promise and make-up is done.  If I’m being OTT Emma let me know. Here are a few shots I wanted to share.

Beauty on this scale is emotional. I’m not one of those posh Wordsworth guys who can express the intellectual power of Nature’s beauty. Even so, I’m a human bean planted in this soil to grow.

Emma thinx:  Life grows. You are life. Life is you.






Paris! Je t’aime!

Don’t lose your head for heights.

I think the word ambiance is French. If it isn’t I claim it by its Gallic sounding-ness. Nowhere has more ambiance than Paris. In fact there is so much ambiance in Paris that the very word conjures up an existentialist smoke filled café on any pavement near you wherever you are. 

Just the other day I was there seeing one of my progeny who is spending a year there. Could I be envious? Perish the thought!


I pointed my camera at a couple of tourist traps and found myself even more trapped in the essence of the place. Tourism makes the tangential view the only possible escape from la carte postale. The featured pix are from around le Sacré Coeur area of Paris. Trouble not, I’m not about to bore you with my montage. 

I love short stories and the whole art of keeping things concise. Readers of my verbiage may be groaning in disbelief to know this!
Here is a short and very clever documentary film made in Paris by some fabulous young film makers. The words are French but the truth is universal. All I can say is that my own diet will start again on Tuesday. Maybe next week. Enjoy les religieuses. 

Emma thinx: If all the world’s a stage, who wrote my bloody script?





Turn, Turn, Turn.

Age in an ocean of youth

Writing has never been about the number of words.  The song title “Turn, Turn,Turn.” is only three words but it was this addition that Pete Seeger applied to the biblical words of Ecclesiastes and made the song something of  a philosophical icon of the last century

I can never see sunflowers without this song running through my head when I am here in France. The French word “tournesol” carries the notion of turning to the sun. We have fields of thousands of joyful shining faces that turn and turn and turn to their guiding sun.  Of course, they have their season, and the season turns.
Close to my home there is a field of such flowers. In the middle is a rigid old tree, long dead. My  pagan heart has been pondering this scene. The vibrant brash beauty forms a sea around this old rock. The picture at its most obvious level is of youth and death set in the context of time and season. Even so, the dead tree speaks as loudly as the clamouring crowd at its feet. Once it was a seed. Now it is an orator as the crowd turns its face to follow its message across the perfect blue sky each day closer to autumn and harvest.

In a similar mood I found myself in the 12thCentury Romanesque church of Saint Savinien a few nights ago. The occasion was a concert performed by the Mukachevo boys choir. This group of young men from Ukraine visited our little village in France as part of a programme operated by “Eurochestries”. Broadly the idea is to spread the culture and music of “Euro” peoples to each other and to give opportunity to young folk to express their talents and see foreign lands. And there in the middle of this ocean of youth was a fossilised Romantic novelist applauding my little heart out to these wonderful young guys. They opened with JS Bach (Jesu, Joy Of Man’s Desiring) and ended with ABBA (Thank-you For The Music)



Watch the videos and catch the re-writing of the lyric for the soloists in the ABBA song. They didn’t have any “girls with golden hair” but they pulled through like super troupers.

And there it is – my wonderful life here in France. Turning tournesols reach for the sun. Young men stretch their voices upwards with the joy and talent of youth. And my eyes, ears, hands and life – here to see, hear, love and write.

The principal contents of this post were featured on my Venture Galleries Authors Collection blog

Emma Thinx: Youth is a box of chocolates. Age is fat, sugar and doctors. Wisdom is eating the pralines.

Mon Ami Le Pigeon Voyageur

What else is there to share with friends than the moment? Anything longer is contrived.

Homing pigeon – you can just see the leg ring on the right.

This evening in my French garden a lost homing pigeon has arrived and is perching on a beam in the barn. I guess by his accent he is English. Every few minutes he takes off and circles the town before being drawn back by some invisible magnet as sticky as the human soul to the beam in my barn. He/she is lost and miles from home. Maybe in the dawn the bird will find the way or maybe it will die, confused and alone. 


This life is a concoction of unseen beauty and unacknowledged suffering. Fly little bird. Please find your way home.




Emma thinx: Home – what the homeless have not. 

The Chosen

Short story including free audio book

My body aches. Yesterday I was a surf bunny. Today I feel like a sandblasted rodent casserole. Of course, I am home in France. Already a few glasses of smooth Bordeaux wine have loosened my tensions and this wicked world seems a long way away. The sun drenched brochure busting beaches of the Ile d’ Oleron are too close to ignore. Yesterday I set out with my body board and came back with a boarded up body. Something has happened in the last 25 years – but at least a lot more of me floats nicely.

Surf bunny

This preamble on my luxurious hedonism brings me to the real subject of this blog. We all have dreams of the good life one day. Wealth, worldly success and status could be ours one day. For many folk of my latter end boomer generation, there were levers there to be pulled. Most of my contemporaries obtained jobs and careers with quite modest educational qualifications. Company pensions were generous and you could expect to bring up kids in a decent dwelling. Things are far tougher now – just reflect for a minute on the long term impact of  50%  youth unemployment in Greece and Spain. My own life has been fairly much working class – but there was work and an income to be gained.  


One of the paradoxical comedy clichés of our time is the aspirational no-hoper. The hapless home mechanics and D.I.Y. enthusiasts provide a wealth of sit-com fodder. The little guy who dreams of getting to be Mr BIG, the ugly guy who tries to date Miss World are far more than comic stereotypes. There are thousands and thousands of them. I think I might be one in my own little way. A while ago I was waiting for a party at a horse race meeting and I was chatting to a few other drivers about the lives they had led. A chatty Londoner explained to me that although he was a humble figure, he had once been wealthy and that it was only a matter of time until he was up there again. He told me a bizarre love story. I don’t think he guessed that I would write it down as “The Chosen”. 


I love short stories. As a kid I used to listen to them on the radio. Typically a story would last for 15 minutes. To me, this is how the narrative must have been before literacy. Folk would tell a story of a real event or a handed down traditional tale. The listeners would stretch their imaginations to visualise the characters. My idea of a magic mammoth may not be yours! (As a child I hated picture books that stole my own images).  I have always written short stories and I believe in them as a pure form of the tale. The possibility of adding audio now gives authors the chance to go back to the true roots of fiction – the out loud story. The novel is a new experiment by comparison. The continuing success of “Sub Prime” with audio has encouraged me to add a free audio track to “The Chosen”. So great is my belief in the audio story that I release stories as “singles” in the way that the old 45 records were sold. If you look at the way that music is purchased on iTunes it is clear that punters are keen to pay a few pence for just a single track from an album rather than buy the whole deal. Stephen Woodfin’s blog provides an interesting discussion on this topic.

Oscar Sparrow

“The Chosen” is narrated by my best mate,  the poet Oscar Sparrow. (He is used to reading in front of people and not getting paid). The story was written specifically for audio with the emphasis on dialogue between two characters. In order to differentiate between them I gave them very different accents. Since I do not like strong accents in written text, I have used plain English for the characters. The audio is accented and essentially is a different form of the story. If you get it, please let me know how it works for you.


Links for The Chosen:
Amazon.com
Amazon.co.uk
Amazon.fr
Amazon.de




Emma thinx: Length matters, keep it in your shorts.