BASIC ELEMENT by Wendy Cartmell ~ #thriller, #crime

Basic Element

BASIC ELEMENT

by

Wendy Cartmell

 

Basic Element

Genre: Crime thriller

Series: Crane and Anderson Book 2 (can be read as a standalone)

Release Date: December 2016

Publisher: Costa Press

He’s not a killer. He’s ordinary. It’s just that he has an addiction.

The papers call him The Choker. Crane and Anderson call him a sadomasochist. But whatever his name is, the Major Crimes team have to find him. And fast. Because time is running out. It won’t be long before he kills again.

 

BUY LINKS

ONLY 99P!!!

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AMAZON US

EXTRACT

Boy

 

You’d be surprised how still I can sit. I’m doing it now. My bottom is on the floor, my knees are pulled up and my arms wrapped around them. I’m watching a spider. A big, black, fat one. He’s just behind that rock. He came out once, but I frightened him by moving, so he ran away and I had to start all over again. I won’t make that mistake again. I can wait for ages and ages.

Here he comes. I can see one black leg poking out. Here comes another, and another. A spider has eight legs. I learned that at school. I like school, it’s interesting. I’m not like some of the other children. They mess about, don’t concentrate, don’t try their hardest. I always try my hardest. Daddy makes sure of that. Daddy helped me to learn to sit still. He said I was a terrible wriggler, so he tied me to a chair until I stopped. He doesn’t have to tie me down anymore. I can sit still for ages, until he tells me I can get down. It makes me feel funny inside. I quite like that feeling. So I do as I’m told.

I can see the spider’s body now. He’s inching his way out from his hiding place, his legs reaching out ahead of him, making sure there’s nothing in his way. And there isn’t. Not really. Only my little hand and if I keep it still enough he’ll crawl right onto it.

The spider is climbing onto my hand now. One leg, two. He’s an old slow coach but I can wait. Nearly there…

My fingers curl over his body, trapping him inside my hand. Got him!

I hold the spider’s body between my finger and thumb, leaving his legs dangling in the air. Now I can count them. The first leg comes off easily, making him wriggle even more. He isn’t as good as being still as I am. As I pull off each leg I sing quietly to myself…

Incy wincy spider…

ABOUT WENDY CARTMELL

Basic Element

Wendy Cartmell is the author of the Amazon #1 Bestseller STEPS TO HEAVEN. She lives on the Costa del Sol with three mad dogs and her even madder husband. She inherited her love of reading from her parents and discovered her ability to weave a good story at Reading University, which she attended at the tender age of 40.

After several failed attempts at writing in various genres, Sgt Major Crane, a military policeman, knocked on her proverbial door and the rest, as they say, is history. All 8 Crane crime thrillers are published by Endeavour Press, as well as the Emma Harrison mystery trilogy, set in Reading Young Offenders Institution.

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/wendy.e.cartmell

https://www.facebook.com/sgtmajorcrane/

Twitter: @wendycartmell

Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5276123.Wendy_Cartmell

LinkedIn: https://es.linkedin.com/in/wendy-cartmell-bb52b142

Blog: https://wendycartmell.wordpress.com/

Website: http://wendycartmell.webs.com/

Basic Element

#cover reveal ~ PENHALIGON’S ATTIC by Terri Nixon

#cover reveal

Penhaligon’s Attic

by

Terri Nixon

#cover reveal

Genre: Historical Saga

Release Date: 01 December 2016

Publisher: Piatkus Books

1910. Anna Garvey arrives in Caernoweth, Cornwall with her daughter and a secret. Having come from Ireland to take up an inheritance of the local pub, she and her eighteen year-old daughter Mairead are initially viewed with suspicion by the close-knit community.

Anna soon becomes acquainted with Freya Penhaligon, a vulnerable girl struggling to keep her family business afloat in the wake of her grandmother’s death, and starts to gain the trust of the locals. As their friendship deepens, and Freya is brought out of her shell by the clever and lively Mairead, even Freya’s protective father Matthew begins to thaw.

But when a part of Anna’s past she’d long tried to escape turns up in the town, she is forced to confront the life she left behind – for her sake and her daughter’s too . . .

BUY LINKS

Amazon UK Paperback: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Penhaligons-Attic-Penhaligon-Terri-Nixon/dp/0349412650

Amazon UK E-book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Penhaligons-Attic-Penhaligon-Terri-Nixon-ebook/dp/B01GHMZZ0Y

Amazon US E-book: https://www.amazon.com/Penhaligons-Attic-Penhaligon-Terri-Nixon-ebook/dp/B01GHMZZ0Y

ABOUT TERRI NIXON

#cover reveal

Terri was born in Plymouth in 1965. At the age of 9 she moved with her family to Cornwall, to the village featured in Jamaica Inn — North Hill — where she discovered a love of writing that has stayed with her ever since. She also discovered apple-scrumping, and how to jump out of a hayloft without breaking any bones, but no-one’s ever offered to pay her for doing those.

Since publishing in paperback for the first time in 2002, Terri has appeared in both print and online fiction collections, and is proud to have contributed to the Shirley Jackson award-nominated hardback collection: Bound for Evil, by Dead Letter Press.

As a Hybrid author, her first commercially published novel was Maid of Oaklands Manor, published by Piatkus Entice (a digital-first imprint of Little, Brown) in 2013. The paperback is published by Piatkus Books. The two further books in this series: A Rose in Flanders Fields and Daughter of Dark River Farm are published by Carina UK (a digital-first imprint of HarperCollins)

Terri’s self-published Mythic Fiction series set in Cornwall, The Lynher Mill Chronicles, is available in paperback and e-book.

Terri also writes under the name T Nixon, and has contributed to anthologies under the names Terri Pine and Teresa Nixon. She is represented by the Kate Nash Literary Agency. She now lives in Plymouth with her youngest son, and works in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at Plymouth University, where she is constantly baffled by the number of students who don’t possess pens.

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/terri.nixon.page

Twitter: @TerriNixon

Goodreads Author Page: 

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7161840.Terri_Nixon

Instagram:

https://www.instagram.com/telnixon/

LinkedIn:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/telnix

Blog:

https://terrinixon.wordpress.com/

Website:

www.terrinixon.com

GIVEAWAY

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#NaNoWriMo ~ the last day ~ #amwriting

The last day in #NaNoWriMo 2016 – only a few hours to go!

last day

Today is the last day for #NaNoWriMo. Well, strictly speaking, it won’t come until midnight tonight. How are you doing? I’m pleased with my progress.

I have 459 words left to get to my goal for the month which isn’t anywhere near the 50,000, but I #amwriting every day (which is the main thing) – working on it which is why I’ve not been around here on the blog much this month.

Some days, the word count is amazing. Other days, not so much.

This past Saturday, I scribbled over 1,100 words while I was at a sale. Typed them in to my document when I got home.

last day

Sometimes the words flow? Sometimes not so much? I’ve had a few of those days this month. Usually a quick read over the last day’s work and I’m off and running once again.

I can see a huge re-write coming for my WIP. Scenes that will need more detail. Perhaps some will be rearranged. This time, I did something completely different and I outlined the entire project in detail.

Is your #NaNoWriMo project still flowing smoothly? Have you run into difficulty?

Give yourself permission to write a terrible first draft and put your editing hat on in December.

 

 

#NaNoWriMo ~ We’ve reached the halfway point ~ are you on track? ~ #amwriting

Fifteen days to go in #NaNoWriMo 2016 – we’re halfway there!

#amwriting

Today is the halfway point for #NaNoWriMo. Well, strictly speaking, it won’t come until midnight tonight. How are you doing? I #amwriting and am pleased with my progress.

Now, I wrote and scheduled this post on November 14th. When I stopped working on my NaNo project for the day, I had 15,406 words.

#amwriting

At this rate, I won’t get to the 50,000 words by November 30th, but I #amwriting every day – working on it which is why I’ve not been around here on the blog much this month.

Some days, the word count is amazing. Other days, not so much.

This past Saturday, I scribbled over 1,000 words while I was at a sale. Typed them in to my document when I got home.

Sunday was an amazing day. I cranked out 1,638 words and that was with interruptions. Still not the 1,667 per day I need to hit 50,000 and get a #NaNo winner badge.

Sometimes the words flow? Sometimes not so much? I’ve had a few of those days this month. Usually a quick read over the last day’s work and I’m off and running once again.

I can see a huge re-write coming for my WIP. Scenes that will need more detail. Perhaps rearrange some. This time, I did something completely different and I outlined the entire project in detail.

Is your #NaNoWriMo project still flowing smoothly? Have you run into difficulty?

Give yourself permission to write a terrible first draft and put your editing hat on in December.

 

 

#NaNoWriMo 2016 Edition…

Well, I’ve taken the plunge. I’m doing #NaNoWriMo again this year. So committed to it, in fact, I’ve added a widget to the sidebar of my blog with the NaNo shield.

Will I be a winner this year? Who knows? I’m going to do my best.

Last year, I wrote my novel The Secret of Hillcrest House. While the finished product was less than 50,000 words, I did write every day so I still consider myself a winner.

The working title for this project is Second Chances. And here’s the short synopsis (subject to change, of course)…

Torn away from her first love, Jared Martin, in a family move to another country when she was a teenager, Katherine Murphy is devastated. Soon after her return to Aberdeen to attend University, she discovers Jared seemingly in a relationship with someone else. However; destiny has someone else in mind for Katherine – Colin Whithorn. They fall in love, marry and open a new and used bookshop. Their marriage comes to an abrupt end during the London bombings on July 7, 2005 when Colin is in the city on a buying trip for their store.

Devastated, she builds a wall around her heart determined not to let anyone in again who can hurt her – that is, until five years later when Jared walks into her shop. Despite him being her first love, he must tear down the barrier she’s created to protect herself. Given a second chance of a life with him, Katherine couldn’t be happier until another cruel twist of fate strikes and the helicopter he’s on returning from his job on an oil rig ditches in the North Sea. Will he survive the ordeal? Will they have a third chance at happiness? Or will Katherine have her heart broken yet again?

What do you think?

OCCUPYING LOVE by Marilyn Chapman #excerpt #giveaway

Marilyn Chapman

Occupying Love

by

Marilyn Chapman

 

Marilyn Chapman

Genre: Historical romance

Release Date: June 24 2016

Publisher: Amelia Press

With the Nazis poised to invade Guernsey in 1940, feisty student Lydia Le Page returns from England on the day the island is devastated by the first bombing of the war on British soil.
Trapped on the German occupied island, two men enter Lydia’s life: Martin Martell, the handsome but mysterious rector and Major Otto Kruger, the ruthless German Kommandant who falls under her spell.
When Martin disappears, Lydia discovers a secret from her past that threatens her future. Will she be able to keep it from the enemy? And will she choose love or duty?
Occupying Love is a story of love, loss and the identity that makes us who we are.

EXTRACT

‘So you’ve met the handsome new rector, you lucky girl.’ Maggie’s eyes twinkled. ‘What did you think of him?’

‘He’s good looking, I’ll give you that. I gather you haven’t been introduced?’

‘I’ve had the odd glimpse since he replaced old man Ozanne, but believe me, tongues are wagging. Some folks say he’s a double agent put here by the Jerries, and that he daubed “V for Victory” on the prison walls. Isn’t it exciting?’

‘Exciting he may be,’ Lydia kept her voice casual, ‘but he’s not really my type.’

‘You mean you fancy him?’

‘I mean nothing of the sort, Maggie. He’s a rector, not a movie star – don’t you think of anything but the opposite sex?’

‘Not very often, to be frank. I think of food, of course, seeing as there’s never enough to go round, and going out after the curfew, and being able to buy whatever I like in the shops. What else is there to occupy my mind?’

‘You could help with the Sunday school at Torteval. The lady who leads it has gone to England.’

‘Me? Help with the Sunday school? You do make me laugh. There’s hardly any kids left on the island and those that are here wouldn’t gain much from me. Or much that would do them any good. I think all that booklearning’s gone to your brain. You need to relax a bit more.’ Maggie winked. ‘There’s a picture on at the Regal tonight. Do you want to come with me?’

Lydia pulled a face. ‘It’s German, with English subtitles. Are you still sure you want to go?’

‘You never know who you might meet.’

‘Oh, Maggie – you really are a hopeless case.’

BUY LINKS

Occupying Love

Baggy Pants and Bootees

ABOUT MARILYN CHAPMAN

Marilyn Chapman

I got my first break writing in a football magazine when I was 15 and have been writing ever since. An NCTJ qualified journalist, I spent my early years on the Blackpool Evening Gazette and Lytham St Annes Express in Lancashire.  I then helped to set up a family PR and publishing company on the Fylde Coast and freelanced for national newspapers and magazines, including Woman.

My debut novel Baggy Pants and Bootees was released as an e-book in February 2014 by a small publishing house based in Britain and Germany. A time-slip novel set between World War Two and the ‘swinging sixties, it was published as a paperback in August 2014.

Born in Guernsey, I have always wanted to write a novel set in the Occupation of the Channel Islands, after hearing so many stories about life under German rule from my grandparents, whose home was requisitioned by the enemy. Occupying Love is the result.

After spending several years in the Midlands I now live in Lancashire with my husband of 45 years. We have two daughters and two granddaughters who we spend lots of time with.

A member of the Society of Authors and the Romantic Novelists’ Association I am currently working on a sequel to Baggy Pants and Bootees.

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/MarilynChapma77

Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7912863.Marilyn_Chapman

Google+   https://plus.google.com/guernseygirlie

LinkedIn:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/marilyn-chapman

Blog:  http://guernseygirlie.blogspot.co.uk/

 

GIVEAWAY

An ecopy of the book (open internationally)

A paperback copy of Baggy Pants and Bootees (UK only)

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#SEWES2016 ~ Sept 26 Glasgow Airport to Toronto

#SEWES2016

Sept 26 – Glasgow Airport to Toronto

With a stop in Montreal

 

Sept 26
Sunrise over Glasgow

This morning was a first. Don got pulled aside going through security. They swabbed his hands (backs and palms) and his shoes before placing the swab in the machine to be analyzed. An episode of Border Security played out before my eyes. Me, I passed through with no problems at all.

We stopped at Beardmore for breakfast. We’ve eaten here before. It seems our flights always leave from gates beyond this point so when you’re lugging a heavy pack on your back, it’s a welcome stop – not to mention, the food is good.

Sept 26
From the window at Beardmore Restaurant, Glasgow Airport

On our walk to our departure gate, we got a good look back at the hotel. We’d intentionally left our curtains open so we could see our room when we were out and about. This was the first chance I had to get a photo.

Sept 26
The hotel showing our room

My plan was to read on the plane on our return flight. Not to be. My iPad was SO dead, even plugged in, it wouldn’t turn on. The seats in the departure lounge weren’t the best for plane watching but fantastic for charging devices. I had my phone and my iPad both plugged in.

While they charged, I took my Canon DSLR for a walk.

Sept 26
Our plane

Enough charge now in the phone to take selfies. We’re not looking overly happy here, but then the vacation was well and truly over by now and by the end of the day, we’d be back to reality.

Sept 26
Terminal selfie
Sept 26
On the plane selfie

Albeit blurry, we’re finally looking happy. A glass of champagne in hand!

Sept 26
Champagne selfie

Since I couldn’t read on my iPad, I watched movies instead.

When we landed in Montreal, I had the opportunity to get a picture or two out of the plane window. This Air Canada was at the gate next to us.

Sept 26
During our stopover in Montreal

It seemed to take forever to get the headcount of the remaining passengers correct. Only those deplaning in Montreal were allowed off. People stretching their legs and milling in the aisles made it impossible for the flight attendants to get an accurate count.

In Toronto, we couldn’t get off the plane straight away because of the bag log in the customs hall. It was still bad when we arrived but when we finally got to the checkpoint, like good Canadians, we declared our 100 gms of fudge we purchased on the Royal Yacht Britannia (indicated on our landing card), the remaining tin of Pringles we’d purchased so we could use the toilet at one of the roadside services, and our bottle of whisky each.

Usually, we have to wait for our luggage at the carousel. Not this time. It waited for us… and had been removed and placed on the floor. That was a first.

Cleared past the last checkpoint and out into the arrivals hall where we made our way to the post where we phoned for the hotel shuttle to come and collect us.

I had a gift card for Montanas, so after we checked into the hotel, we walked over there for supper. They had a large group in so we’d have a wait for our meal. I wasn’t super hungry after everything they fed us on the plane. We had drinks and waited for them to take our food order. Even though it took them longer to do that than we wanted, our meals were brought to us before the estimated time. Amazing what can happen when you get into the queue.

I can’t wait to go back to the UK. Now the question remains… what time of year? Next year? What part(s) do we want to visit?

 

#SEWES2016 ~ Sept 25 – Broughty Ferry to Glasgow

#SEWES2016

Sept 25 – Broughty Ferry to Glasgow

Our last full day in Scotland… 🙁 So sad. After we checked out of the hotel and packing our suitcases so we thought they were of reasonably equal weight, and as few packages as possible once we dropped off the rental car, we struck out.

I knew we’d forfeit some diesel but we’d be between a quarter tank and empty if we took the most direct route. With our experiences with rental cars on this trip, I didn’t want to run out and be stuck waiting for roadside assistance to come with a jerry can to give us a drop.

I remember seeing this tower on the cliff on my first trip to Scotland in 1993 when I took the bus from Glasgow to Aberdeen. Back then I was petrified to drive so close to a big city on my own.

Sept 25
Kinnoull Tower on the cliff (centre of the photo)

I stopped at many laybys (parking areas) along the A90 between Dundee and Perth where we switched onto the A9 after a brief stint on the M90.

We were both to the point where we needed toilets so when we saw the signs for Dunblane (which were clearly posted WC – aka water closet) along with the Historic Scotland signage for Dunblane Cathedral, we decided to make that our ‘port of call’.

Following the signs for the “WC” we drove into the village. Said signs became more and more obscure. A public car park was located off a narrow street near the cathedral – still used as a working church. No matter how bad I need the loo, I couldn’t pass up this photo op.

Sept 25
Dunblane Cathedral

We walked back to where the signs for the public toilets pointed. The council office which was closed on Sundays. ACK! I spotted an older woman across the street so approached her and asked where the public bathrooms were. “There are no public toilets in Dunblane anymore,” she replied.

Panic! We both needed a toilet badly.

“But, go up the street to the cathedral and off to the left. Use the toilets there.”

If I didn’t have to go so bad, I would have hugged and kissed her. We strode up to the hall but chose the wrong entrance so had to navigate through the church crowd who had gathered after Sunday service. We didn’t make the same error when we left.

Sept 25
Dunblane Cathedral
Sept 25
Dunblane Cathedral

We dropped Monty off at the convenient Europcar rental return (across the road from the hotel) with his proper paperwork. A bit more complicated than on previous car rental returns but we got through and sent on our way. The collision damage waiver (CDW) and roadside assistance looked after our woes from earlier.

We arrived back at the airport hotel before the 2:00 pm check-in time but our room was ready and off we went. 8th floor and a view of the planes landing on one side and the M8 motorway on the other.

Sept 25
Glasgow Airport from our hotel room
Sept 25
Plane landing in the approaching storm
Sept 25
Rainbow
Sept 25
Clearing up a bit?
Sept 25
Airport activity

Before we both crashed and burned, we went for a walk around the airport complex past the Holiday Inn Express, the Europcar rental return (no sign of Monty) and back to the hotel.

We had a meal in the bar at the hotel where we’ve had excellent service in the past. This time not so much but the food was good.

After returning to our room, I took advantage of the twilight and got some more photos.

Sept 25
The M8 motorway from our hotel room
Sept 25
Plane landing at dusk

Leaving tomorrow would be hard. Since leaving Broughty Ferry I tried to come up with every excuse I could think of to stay.

We double-checked the weight of our bags so come morning when we had to put our last night/morning things away we knew,  what suitcase to put them in.

Breakfast tomorrow at Beardmore (hopefully, still in business) then people and plane watch while we wait to board.

 

#SEWES2016 ~ Sept 24 – Fun and Family

#SEWES2016

Sept 24 – Fun and Family

Since we weren’t meeting the family until 7:30, we had the entire day to get to the distillery and back and have some time to freshen up before catching the bus over to Carnoustie. Responsible thing to do. And this way we could both drink and not have to worry about driving afterwards.

I wanted to avoid driving through Aberdeen so we headed cross-country at Stonehaven. Once I got up into familiar territory, I no longer needed Satnav Sally. I followed my heart – after a stop at the public toilets in Alford.

We encountered roadworks after we left Craigellachie, near the junction of the A941 and B9102. Another side road comes in just south of the junction so the traffic lights controlling things were odd to say the least. We sat there for quite some time before getting a green light.

Sept 24
From the carpark at the Cardhu Distillery
Sept 24
From the carpark at the Cardhu Distillery

Two bottles of 18 year-old Cardhu purchased (£69.00 each), we used their toilets and started back towards Broughty Ferry.

Curious to know if anything else had been done with Wardhouse Mansion since our last visit, we came home by way of Keith and Huntly so I could go through Kennethmont for a look.

We stopped at a petrol station in Keith to get a bottle of water (I know it sounds strange when we’re having to look for toilets all of the time) because we were thirsty. While I waited in the car, I shut the engine off. No need to idle. Well, Monty decided not to recognize the keyfob! He wouldn’t start! So here we are stuck in Keith with a car that won’t start and we have to be back in time to get to Carnoustie for 7:30! Would the vacation end on a downer (more than usual) like it started?

Eventually, Monty saw things our way and he started. Phew! After 27 hours for a flat tyre, I shuddered to think how long it would be for this before we got help.

Nothing new on the mansion restoration at Wardhouse. Wanting to avoid Aberdeen again, we got off the A96 at Kintore and went across country and found ourselves on the B974 Cairn O’Mount. Narrow road, lots of potholes along the edge. A wonderful viewpoint that we didn’t have time to stop to enjoy. Besides the weather wasn’t conducive to stopping.

This archway in Fettercairn is amazing! It’s plenty wide on its own, but the road is narrow and the curbs twist and turn making it extremely difficult to navigate.

We made it back to the hotel about 5:30 – plenty of time to freshen up and get ready to go meet the kin. So, since we were taking advantage of public transit, we stopped in the bar downstairs for a drink before heading out to catch the bus.

Our reservation was for 7:30 at The Aboukir Hotel. Don and I arrived first followed about half a large glass of red wine later by the rest of the gang.

Sept 24
The first of many pictures and lots of laughs

It was hilarious how the Canadians all sat on one side of the table and the Scots on the other. It wasn’t planned. It was just the way we sat down. I wanted to be on the end because I’m left-handed and we were the first to get there.

Sept 23
Carnoustie Cousins

It’s really hard to get good photos of everyone all at once.

Sept 24
Carnoustie Cousins
Sept 24
The family represented from both sides of the pond
Sept 24
The Canadian cousins

Lorraine was the first to go to the ladies. When she came back, she wasted no time telling Lise and me about the heated toilet seat! That brought on peels of laughter.

I went next and she was right. It was warm! It also had bidet functions built in. Now how’s that for up-market?

Lise went last and took her phone in with her. She came back with a photograph of the control panel for it. More laughs!

After a wonderful night catching up with everyone, the time came to call it a day.

We parted company outside the hotel – some of us on foot, some of us via public transit.

When we returned to the hotel in Broughty Ferry, we put our things in our room and went to the bar for a nightcap.

Our wonderful holiday quickly coming to an end – our last full day would be tomorrow – driving back to Glasgow, returning the rental car and getting ready for our flight home on Monday.

 

 

 

#SEWES2016 ~ Sept 23 – Edinburgh Bound!

#SEWES2016

Sept 23 – Edinburgh Bound!

 

I booked our return train tickets long before we went to Scotland. When I knew the train and our seats, I immediately contacted my friend, Chris Longmuir, with the carriage and seat numbers so she could book a seat with us.

The bus stop was close to the hotel, so we walked there and boarded the #5 and told the driver we were going to the Dundee Railway Station. Two return tickets in hand, we settled in for the ride.

When we reached the Nethergate (Stop 1), the driver exited his driving compartment and told us this was the best stop for the train station. We were both impressed that he remembered us and our destination.

A short walk to the train station and we redeemed our tickets at one of the self-serve kiosks before heading to the platform to await our Virgin East Coast train to Edinburgh.

Anxious and excited to spend the day in the city with Chris, it was hard to settle on the train. We chatted about publishing print books and ebooks and changes that needed to be made or which version of the document to use. I’d done it before and had no problems but the current (I’ll call it WIP) gave me grief… hence the request for advice.

The Edinburgh train crossed over the Forth Bridge. This has been on my bucket list for a long time. The bridge looks like it was constructed from a Meccano set.

The train windows were dirty so that didn’t help the picture. In the background, you can see the current Forth Road Bridge and the new, still under construction, crossing.

Sept 23
The Forth Bridge from the train

Before we left the station, we stopped at the bathrooms. 30p to use the toilets but they were clean and the attendant made sure the lines of patiently waiting customers moved smoothly.

I had booked us on a tour of “The Real Mary King’s Close” for about an hour after we arrived in Edinburgh. The printed ticket confirmation said we needed to be there about 30 minutes before the tour started.

Having taken the train into Edinburgh Waverley on more than one occasion, I didn’t realize there was a way from there to the Royal Mile that didn’t require walking up a steep hill. Chris took us on an alternate route, although a bit longer and out of the way, required less effort and on reasonably level ground.

After we checked in at the ticket office and were told we had plenty of time, we decided to look in the nearby whisky shop to see if they stocked 18 year-old Cardhu. They did stock a 21 year-old. For a mere £350.00 we could buy it. On this day, the Bank of Canada exchange rate from UK pounds to CAN dollars was $1.7059 so a bottle of whisky would have cost us $597.00!!! Yikes!!! We knew we could get the age we wanted from the distillery and we had free time on the next day (not meeting my cousins until 7:30 for dinner) so decided rather than traipse around Edinburgh all day looking for what we wanted, we’d wait and make a distillery run on Saturday.

While Chris picked up a few Christmas presents in the shop, I went out and took a few pictures.

St Giles Cathedral
St Giles Cathedral

How appropriate… Writers’ Court. Chris and I are both writers – just different genres.

Sept 23
Writers’ Court

And, no the Tattoo Office has nothing to do with marking your skin (permanently or temporarily with henna).

Sept 23
Entrance to “The Real Mary King’s Close”
Sept 22
“The Real Mary King’s Close” sign

Because Mary King’s Close is under the City Chambers, you’re not permitted to take photographs. *sigh*

Our guide, Paula, was a hoot! Knowledgeable, friendly, and funny. Even though I don’t have photographs of my own to remember the tour, I do have a guidebook and a few other mementos.

Back on Princes Street, we waited at the bus for the #22 that would take us to Ocean Terminal (a waterfront mall and ticket office for the Royal Yacht Britannia).

There’s the #29 headed in the opposite direction.

Sept 23
Lothian Buses #29 – and look what’s on the side!

When our bus arrived, we bought two day passes which would also get us on the trams.

Rule Britannia

The tour of the Royal Yacht Britanniais completely self-guided. You’re provided with an audio guide (looks like an overgrown cellphone) which is available in a number of languages. They also have a guide in Braille for visually impaired visitors.

Sept 23
Don in the wheelhouse of the Royal Yacht, Britannia
Sept 23
The Royal Rolls Royce
Sept 23
Chris and I at the binnacle rescued from the Victoria and Albert III
Sept 23
Her Majesty the Queen’s bedroom
Sept 23
Prince Phillip’s bedroom
Setp 23
The only room on the yacht to have a double bed – Charles & Diana’s room
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One side of the State Dining Room
Sept 23
The other side of the State Dining Room

We had a late lunch/snack in the Royal Deck Tea Room. I had coffee and fruit scones, Don had chocolate cake, and Chris had a bowl of Carrot and something soup.

Sept 23
The Royal State Room

Here in the Verge Inn, you have the chance to take “Corgi selfies” (see the wee guy on the left of the photo) or take selfies wearing these hats. No, the beer isn’t real. It’s resin coloured to look like beer with a light foam head on top.

Sept 23
Enjoying a “pint” in the Verge Inn, one of the areas for the officers to unwind.
Sept 23
The Royal “Barge”

After departing the yacht and Ocean Terminal, we boarded the #22 and returned to Princes St where our next adventure began… a ride on the Edinburgh trams!

Sept 23
One of the Edinburgh trams

We had to walk to one of the stations in the middle of Princes St so that Chris could buy a ticket. Her Angus council bus pass didn’t count for nowt here. Now that we were all legal, we boarded the next tram and rode it to Murrayfield Stadium. Out here the main railway line and the tram line aren’t too far apart.

On our way back to the city centre, Don struck up a conversation with a guy stood near where Chris and I sat. Said guy was reading a Stephen Booth novel. Don told him that Chris also wrote crime fiction (embarrassing her) but she pulled our her stash of book postcards and gave them to him.

The tram ride was another thing crossed off a bucket list (not mine). My next thing was a pint at the Oxford Bar, Ian Rankin’s local. Seeing how Chris was with us I hoped he wouldn’t think I was a pyscho Canadian stalker… LOL!

By now, it was getting later in the day. The next train back to Dundee that stopped in the town Chris lives in departed from Edinburgh Waverley at 7:30. We still needed to get a bite to eat to get us through until tomorrow.

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The Oxford Bar – Ian Rankin’s local
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Me outside The Oxford Bar

I settled for a photo so I could say, “I’ve been there” but I’ll definitely be back again and have an IPA or something before leaving.

Over supper, still thinking we had to be back at Waverley for the 7:30 train, I checked our tickets. We were locked in to a Virgin East Coast return or pay a fee to change it.

Chris checked her train schedule that she carries with her and luckily for us, that happened to be the 8:30 train. We could have stopped for a quick drink before stopping in at TGI Fridays on Castle Street. Oh well. It did give us some more time for evening photo ops.

Sept 23
Edinburgh Castle
Sept 23
Nighttime tram
Sept 23
Heilan’ coo in a shop on Princes Street

When I visited with my cousin, Eric, a few days ago, he mentioned climbing to the top of the Scott Monument with his father back in the day. He claims they carved their initials in the wall at the top level. Must climb up sometime (oh my aching knees) and see if they’re still visible.

Sept 23
The Scott Monument

When we arrived back at the railway station, we still had some time before we needed to be at the platform. Where else does a writer go but a bookstore?

And look who I found! Fellow loveahappyending author, Sheryl Browne, and her novel The Rest of My Life. She’s in some pretty good company there with Stuart MacBride and Kathy Reichs.

Sept 23
Sheryl Browne’s novel – in some good company at WH Smith in Edinburgh Waverley

All too soon, our wonderful day came to an end. We were getting off the train in Dundee and Chris was carrying on up the line to her stop. At least the turnstiles in Dundee were open so I got to keep our tickets as souvenirs.

It finally started to rain and drizzled as we made our way back up to Nethergate and a bus stop to catch our return bus to Broughty Ferry.

After we returned to the hotel and deposited our things in the room, we went to the bar for a drink. Whilst chatting with the young barman, we found out that he’d come to Canada on a hockey scholarship. Then we narrowed it down to Ontario (most people wouldn’t have a clue where our city is in the grand scheme of things). Come to find out, he stayed in Cornwall! That’s only a little over an hour away from us. And he played some hockey in Brockville, too.

Tomorrow, in addition to supper with the clan, we have a “side trip” to the distillery. Another adventure.

My Scottish roots and writing by Melanie Robertson-King