The Journey of a Story:

Beneath Southern Stars

Having newly arrived in Sydney, Australia in November, 1988, it was an exciting time. Feeling, not quite as its first settlers, though perhaps just a tad, in the sense of apprehension, coupled with a little amount of fear at having taken the huge step of emigrating to the other side of the world to begin a new life.

Though those first pioneers were mostly unwilling new settlers, sent there by order of the crown’s magistrates; it seemed to me, even some two hundred years later, there was still that sensation of trepidation running through my mind as possibly would have been in theirs.

However, having made the decision to begin anew in New South Wales, it only seemed fitting that I should do my utmost to make a go of it. Although initially, living in the heart of the city, travelling to work proved delightful enough, as distance to and from the office wasn’t too tedious; but this was to change dramatically.

When I lived in the UK, I never once rented an apartment, having lived at home until I married, and then owned property afterwards. So, to find myself renting a home was a new experience, but at least it was only a temporary arrangement, as I was determined to buy a property in Sydney. This however, proved to be harder than I had imagined, and was forced to look further afield.

Travelling north, about an hour from Sydney is a delightful area known as the Central Coast; and it was here, on its southernmost border that my spouse and I commissioned a house to be built for us on land we had purchased. Of course, what we hadn’t taken into account, until it was too late, that we still had our jobs in Sydney. In my case, southern Sydney – Redfern to be precise.

We moved into the new house in August 1989, and so began a new phase of our life in the Land Down Under. . .

Travelling to and from work was long and tiring – close on three hours each way: using buses and trains to reach work and then back again. But every cloud has a silver lining, and it did give me a lot of time to read, as well as make new friends along the way amongst my fellow commuters. As I enjoy nothing more than a good fiction novel, and at times a non-fiction depending on the subject, travel time just flew as I immersed myself within the pages of those tomes.

One particular day, one of my new found friends was sitting beside me reading a magazine – I think it was Woman’s Own. I happened to glance at the page she was reading, and I spotted they were running a writing competition in conjunction with Random House. I remarked something about it, and my friend very kindly cut the page out and gave it to me. The entry for the competition was to submit a never before published fiction novel of not exceeding 80,000 words. The closing date was only eight months away, but I decided to rise to the challenge.

Until now, I had only been writing poetry and short stories, since my teenage years. I never had the courage to tackle any serious work, such as a novel. However, my love of reading, and appreciation of English literature as a whole, inspired me to give it a try.

The first, and perhaps, most important question I had to ask myself was: what to write?

It is too long ago (early 1990s) to remember why I chose to write what I did, but I expect it seemed like a good idea at the time. Perhaps my own feelings of being newly arrived in Australia had a lot to do with it, and having begun a life on the Central Coast, also had a direct impact as to choosing the early development of the settlement (now a city) of Newcastle as part of the story’s setting.

It still amazes me to this day, how a writer can create a book of intricate detail that encompasses a main plot and numerous side plots, with endless characters touching the lives of its two principal characters (or in the case of the story I ended up writing – three principal ones). There is also the need to create lives and personalities for them, including their families, friends, their jobs (if any), the list is endless. And, of course, whatever you choose to write, but particularly anything historical, you need to conduct an immense amount of research to make the story authentic. The reader has to be drawn into the writing as though a voyeur peeking through a secret window watching the events unfold before his/her eyes.

Getting back to the competition – the problem I faced however, was the lack of time. Whatever possessed me to choose a historical romance I’ll never know and, I certainly can’t remember why, except that I did.

I wrote each chapter in long hand (no laptops in those days) and then typed it out, ensuring there was a carbon copy, on my typewriter. At work, I photocopied it a couple of times, and then gave them to two of my fellow travellers to read and obtain their opinions (in the same way as we authors currently use Beta Readers). Looking back, I suppose, I was taking a huge risk at their honesty, as either one of them could have quite easily stolen my work – but I was lucky that they never did.

I submitted my story, which I named “Under Southern Stars” and then crossed my fingers.

I shouldn’t have been too surprised that I didn’t win, nor even get any feedback. However, not to be totally undone by the disappointment, I sent it to the National Book Council who provided a manuscript assessment service. Needlesstosay, the reviewer tore it to shreds! To say I was heartbroken would have been an understatement. However, it was an important lesson learned. Research was the key to turn out a credible story.

For this story however, it meant being filed away for another time, whilst I moved on with life in general and to writing new stories.

It wasn’t until 2010 that I found my old manuscript in a drawer and decided to rewrite it, at least now it would be stored into a computer and backed up in an external hard drive. It was time to use all my gained experience, and dedicate endless hours to research to produce a work worthy of publication.

Two years later though, after several rejections, but following the advice of some fellow writers, whom I got to know when I joined a local group known as “Hawkesbury River Writers”, that I self-published the book with the new title of “Beneath Southern Stars” on Smashwords:

Blurb:

It is 1799 and six ships make ready to sail from the southern English town of Portsmouth to the newly founded penal colony of New South Wales. Aboard His Majesty’s ship, Osprey is Marine, John Radford. At the age of eighteen, John an accomplished artist, is broken-hearted at having been rejected by his intended when she learns of his new posting.

Also, on the ship is Sarah Lock, a seventeen-year-old, who having been falsely convicted of prostitution, is to be transported. Her only crime had been a friendship with her landlord’s youngest son, Peter. He, in turn, is forced to join the navy to prevent him from searching Sarah out.

Unbeknown to all concerned, due to a series of cruel twists of fate, all their lives will be turned upside down . . .

*

With it published, I moved on with my writing career by becoming a member of Romance Writers of Australia, as well as with the Australian Society of Authors. Thanks to their support, conferences, and seminars, I felt my writing capabilities improve dramatically, encouraging me to tackle larger challenges, such as a historical saga set in Spain during the 17th century. Taking two years to write, due to the immense amount of research required, “The Sword and the Rose” was published in 2014 by Secret Cravings Publishing (SCP). A year later, unfortunately, SCP closed their doors, and reverted my publishing rights of my saga.

It was a shame, as I had just completed a wartime novella “Letter from a Stranger”, and I now found myself with two books needing to be published.

Having had a taste of third-party publishing, I was reluctant to self-publish these two books. Instead, receiving a recommendation for an author friend, I submitted my wartime romance to a UK company: Luminosity Publishing.

A contract was offered and accepted, and “Letter from a Stranger” was released in June 2015. It was the start of a wonderful association.

Since that date, Luminosity have published a total of eight of my books, and I have been immensely grateful to them for their professionalism and support of my work.

In the end, the only book that wasn’t published by them was my first novel, and I accordingly wanted to put that to right.

Having approached them at the end of 2020 asking if they would consider accepting “Beneath Southern Stars”, and subsequently receiving a contract for it, I removed the novel from Smashwords.

I am now pleased to announce that on 26th January – Australia Day – this year, a totally revised version of “Beneath Southern Stars” is to be released by Luminosity Publishing:

It will be available in both digital and print formats on Luminosity Publishing’s site, as well as at Amazon, and other major book distributors.

If you get a chance, I hope you’ll enjoy reading it, as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Best wishes

Louise xx

Undying Love

Undying Love

Copyright © Louise Roberts 2020

What if ‘love at first sight’ was no more than two soul mates recognising each other through eons of time? But what would happen if one of those such souls was a lingering spirit, whilst the other had reincarnated into another human life form? If that were the case, how far would anyone go for the sake of love to be reunited?

For Peter Grant, the moment he steps into a house for sale in a coastal hamlet in Norfolk, England, a feeling of déjà vu descends on him, and the need to purchase the cottage is overwhelming.

Divorced and retired, he has ample time to enjoy the peace and quiet of his surroundings, with just his faithful dog for company. The only distraction is the nightly sound of a woman weeping. . .

*

Louise Roberts invites you to share Peter Grant’s realisation of how true love never dies in her latest novel “Undying Love” due for release by Luminosity Publishing, in both digital and print formats, on Monday 19th October 2020.

Pre-order your copy from 9th October at:

READER ADVISORY: Supernatural themes and graphic sex scenes.

PUBLISHER’S NOTE: Contemporary Supernatural Romance. Ghost Story. 41,800 words.

Heat Level: Scorching-Hot Romance

M/F Romance

Death and Reincarnation

Death

Other than the body ceasing all vital functions to operate a ‘living’ organism, do we truly know if it also completely expunges our incorporeal being. . .  our soul?

When our corporeal being is incapable in continuing its designated function due to old age, disease, or factors outside its control, such as a fatal accident, unlawful killing, and/or murder, our soul is subsequently released in search of a new host.

Thus, one could argue “Death” is simply a doorway into a new existence. . . and if one believes the soul to be immortal, then death is something that needn’t be feared.

Reincarnation

The soul, it is said, is immortal.

It travels from a life form that ceases to exist into another new life form, not necessarily in the same chromosomal make up as its previous existence, nor on the same habitat as its last, but on one of the billions of habitable planets throughout the universe, in a continuing flow of energy gaining more advanced experiences.

However, before a rebirth occurs, the soul might need time to reflect and regenerate in a place where ‘time’ and the ‘stresses’ of everyday corporeal life do not exist. Such a place may be referred to in some religious doctrines as ‘Heaven’ or ‘Paradise’, but in truth is no more than a parallel universe we have visited from time to time in our dreams.

Then, once the ‘soul’ or ‘incorporeal being’ has reached a state of complete ‘peace’ it is assigned to a corporeal being. And at that stage, the soul passes to it at its embryo stage so that from the very beginning of the new life, both entities are in-tune with each other; but, although the ‘soul’ has full control of its destiny, it has no control of its chromosomes, for that is solely reliant on the spermatozoa of the father yet to deliver the life-giving substance.

So, begins a new cycle in the continuing growth of the incorporeal being, although memory of previous existence is expunged to enable the ‘soul’ to gain new knowledge and experiences without hindrance. Yet from time to time a distant memory surfaces, be it at a place visited, or an encounter with another life form, which leaves our mind with questions of feelings that could be real or imagined?

Déjà Vu and Dreams

Déjà Vu

It is that strange sensation when you walk into a new place and something deep inside ignites a gut-wrenching feeling of recognition…

Scientists suggest “Déjà Vu” is a result of extreme mental fatigue and stress, but what if it is more than just such a condition. . . perhaps the truth of it is that your mind is unlocking a distant memory long since suppressed from a life once lived?

Are we not told that our soul is immortal? If that were the case, are we wrong in assuming that our existence has not just occurred in this lifetime, but has made a re-appearance into this world?

Our true ‘being’ therefore is indeed the ‘soul’, not the ‘body’ we occupy in this present existence. And although we do not retain the memory of our previous corporeal inhabitation, ever so often a small part of it is unlocked particularly if a ‘new’ place visited had had a dramatic impact on our soul the previous time we were there!

Dreams

Are dreams just a jumbled figment of our imagination of past experiences, desires, and aspirations? Is it not possible that for a short time when our body is temporarily in suspended animation, that our soul departs our corporeal being to a parallel universe, to what most religions might refer to as ‘Heaven’ or ‘Paradise’; which is why perhaps, in our dreams, we often ‘see’ people we have known, but have long since been ‘dead’?

And to be certain that the soul remains in-tune with its corporeal host, it stays connected by invisible strands attached to the major organs of the ‘body’, in the same way as an embryo remains connected to its mother by an umbilical cord, so at the first sign of the body’s distress – such as the need to relieve oneself – the soul returns without delay.

Such ideas relating to our ‘soul’ were once deemed demonic in nature by the religious doctrines of the past, and that ‘soul transgression’ was, and perhaps in some opinions is still viewed, heretical; but no one can deny dreams exist. And though no one can truly explain them, it does not mean that they are not real.

 

 

Love and Soul

Love

For some “love” is more than just a physical attraction in someone else, it’s also an emotional commitment: To be deeply committed and connected to someone?

Then again, it might be that during the years our body grows through to adulthood and beyond, we seek out that special someone to share our existence… or, in truth, could it be our subconscious is meticulously continuing an unending search for that one true love?

Is ‘Love’ therefore, nourishment for the soul, in the same way as food is nourishment for the body? Both essential, but ‘love’ more infinitely beautiful. . .

Soul

Is the ‘soul’ then, not the spiritual, immaterial portion of our being? It could be argued as being immortal . . . If true, why do we need to take on a physical form in continuation of our existence?

Perhaps, only in physical form can our soul/incorporeal being appreciate fully the connection with other beings, and more importantly with expressing our sincerity with our soulmate.

If that were the case would that make ‘love at first sight’ as no more than two soul mates recognising each other through eons of time?

 

 

Life

How does one define “Life”?

A condition that separates animals and plants from inorganic matter, and allowing it the capacity for growth, reproduction, functional activity, and continual change; but what if it is more than the obvious?

What if “life” is only a small fraction of the infinite existence of an incorporeal being that takes on a physical form to enable it to recharge in strength and grow its knowledge?

In the same way as some plants die only to be reborn the following Spring, why is it not possible for corporeal being to cease to exist so that its incorporeal form can transgress beyond the limitation of set boundaries that are the expectations set to animal life form?

We’re all born into a new life at one time or another to commence a journey of discovery…. or is it, in fact, a continuation of a life once lived?

 

Another medical issue… will it ever end?

Another medical issue… will it ever end?

Sorry I haven’t posted anything these past few weeks, but I’ve not been too well. Two weeks ago [Thursday 7th June] I found myself struggling to breathe. Thought it might have been due to indigestion – eating one prawn too many; but by 4am it was obvious it was something more serious, so phoned the emergency services and explained my condition. An ambulance was at my door 15 minutes later.

I was taken to the hospital in Antibes and straight into the emergency room. Explaining once again what I was experiencing they immediately went to work with a chest X-ray, bloods and urine samples taken away for testing. Saline, and painkilling drips inserted I was wheeled into a side ward to await the results.

When they were available I was transferred back into an examination room and the doctor told me I had a lung infection. He prescribed some antibiotics to cover me for 7 days, but to do a follow-up blood test on the Monday [11th June] . That done, I went to see my GP. He immediately stopped the antibiotics for stronger ones, and sent me off to do yet another chest X-ray and blood tests.

Personally I think the antibiotics my GP prescribed were possibly too strong because over the course of the next few days I was getting worse. I was losing my appetite, feeling more tired than usual, and I had this annoying dry cough.

On Sunday 17th June, mum said to go over for lunch. All I wanted to do was sleep, but to keep her happy I agreed. My sister, Lesley came to pick me up and afterwards drove me back. Normally I enjoy the 10 minute walk, but this time I was grateful for the lift.

Monday morning I slowly walked up to the blood testing laboratory, stopping on the way to buy a thermometer as mum, Lesley and my GP had nagged me to do. Half way to my destination I needed to sit down – I was worn out [definitely not normal]. On the return I stopped at my favorite café for a coffee and croissant. I only managed half the pastry… most definitely not normal. Once home, I decided to sit and do nothing else all day, except test out my new acquisition – possibly my best investment in a long time.

Slowly throughout the day my temperature increased. By 5pmish I was so tired I went to bed but unable to relax got up and stuck the thermometer under my tongue: 39.6*!!! Even I know that’s way too high. I quickly phoned my GP on his mobile and he came straight around [and I mean just that – he must have been in the vicinity because he was at mine 5 minutes after I hung up].  I phoned my sister to let her and mum know, unlike the previous time when I waited until a respectable hour to let them know I was in hospital. Lesley arrived a few minutes after the doctor who, having taken one look at me phoned for an ambulance and wrote out a lengthy report for me to hand to the emergency room doctor.

As my GP left, fifty euros richer, we waited. Meanwhile I grabbed a bag and threw in some toiletries, crossword puzzles, pen, glasses case, phone charger. Had I realized what was to happen next I would have packed more.

With the emergency vehicle’s arrival I told Lesley to go back home – mum can’t be left alone at night. She’s 93 with seeing difficulties.

Once again I found myself back in the emergency room undergoing the same tests. As much as I won’t knock the French medical system, but had they admitted me into hospital ten days previously then perhaps the infection wouldn’t have become so bad. This time they didn’t even quibble. By 10pm I was wheeled into a single room in the Pneumology department.

The night staff came in to insert some intravenous antibiotics and left me to sleep. Not long after they had gone my arm started to itch like mad. I switched the light on to find my veins were becoming red instead of the usual blue. I buzzed and they were there. They phoned the doctor who told them to remove the antibiotics – back to the drawing board then? The nurse kindly applied some lanolin milk and within thirty minutes it was itch-free.

I slept okay and woke to a breath-taking view. . . an uninterrupted sea view. The bubble would soon burst though. By lunchtime Tuesday I was told they needed the room for a patient who needed isolating so I was moved into a shared room. I don’t mind so much because it is always nice to have someone to chat to.

The room itself was okay and large enough so as not to feel crowded. The view of the café had its plus point… you could see who was coming and going – got to keep entertained somehow!

Again I couldn’t fault the hospital staff and with their care they were at least able to bring down my temperature and restore my breathing. The annoying dry cough still lingers.

I was discharged yesterday [Friday 22nd June]. An ambulance ferried me to my apartment just after 2.30pm – it was nice to be home.

It never ceases to amaze how, when you think you manage to get over one medical issue, another pops its ugly head.

During the last ten months I have spent more time in hospitals and rehabilitation centers than I have in my own flat.

Hopefully this is the last illness for a while. . . a long while.

Best Wishes

Louise xx

 

 

Grandma used to say. . .

Grandma used to say, in relation to food preparation, you have to present your dish to first feast the eyes before it feasts the stomach.

In the same way, one might presume, this way of thinking can be adopted to all products whether they are edible or not. If something is pleasing to the eye, it is more likely to be acquired; and if the product is a book, for it to be picked up, scrutinized, and if the formula is to their liking, purchased.

In my case, I thought I had achieved just the right formula when, last year [2017], I had “packaged” Book 2 in my Romance in War series. I believed I was being clever with the title by combining words from two situations dating back to 1944 – the year the story is set. “Operation Dragoon” was the code name for the invasion of southern France in August of that year. At that time, the American musician Glenn Miller was popular, and his tune “Moonlight Serenade” is one of my favorites. It only seemed natural therefore that I should entitle the story “Dragoon Serenade”. Getting an appropriate cover for it was a challenge, and although both the publisher and I loved the end result, it has now come to light [seven months since the books release], that readers held a different, more negative, view.

Book 2 in the Romance in War series is a lovely story or so I’ve been told by all those who have read it. The three 5 star reviews on Amazon and Goodreads seem to support those positive comments.

Yet despite such encouraging feedback sales of the book were lower than expected. It was therefore a difficult decision to make, but with the support of Luminosity Publishing, the story has been repackaged.

On Thursday June 7th, 2018 the book is to be re-released with a new exciting title and a new, more vibrant cover:

Fingers and toes crossed, as well as Grandma’s favorite recipe, “Codename: Amour” will appeal to all lovers of sensual romance and adventure.

With very best wishes

Louise xx

 

 

 

Romance in War series – Book 3 begins to take shape

Even though I’m still unable to concentrate fully on important issues, such as writing, because, I think, I’m still under the effect of all the anesthetic that had been administered to me during the three operations I have undergone these past 8 months, I have made a start on Book 3 of the Romance in War series.

After weeks of deliberating I have finally worked out a plan for the story line. How to piece it together though is another matter.

As with all tales of this nature, research is the key to making the book believable so that the characters can become part of the actual history.

Now that I have decided on the location [North Africa] and time frame [July 1943] I have begun the initial stages of research of events that occurred during that time and place.

The North African Campaign ended with the surrender of Axis forces in May 1943. Although the war may have been over in North Africa, it was far from over elsewhere. As the Allies secured their positions, they would now turn their attention to Italy to drive the German forces out.

I will next begin to work on character developments and the histories of the four principal players in the story. The two main ones should be reasonably easy enough as I am basing them on actual characters [they are the parents (now deceased) of a close friend, whom I’ve known near on sixty years, who I’m told, met in North Africa during WWII]. The other couple, are most definitely fictitious, but without them our hero and heroine would never meet.

I’m still trying to figure out how it will all play out as one can never truly know what happened between people meeting for the first time. Whether my friend knows or not, I wouldn’t wish to ask, as this story is a fiction, not a biography. Perhaps had I realized that sometime in the future I would have become an author of historical romance and that this story would have been created, I might have spoken to them directly when I had known them best during my teenage years. As with everything in life though, none of us can predict the future.

It goes without saying though that the story will be written with no intention of causing disrespect to anyone, but in order with keeping to the theme of the Romance in War series it will be a sensual romance; the heat level to be determined by my editor.

Another matter that required urgent attention was the best title to give the novella.

Several different headings came to mind, but none felt comfortable enough for me, until a couple of days ago. I ran it past my mother for her opinion – as Mum always knows best, and she agreed with me.

Therefore, as of today, Book 3 in the Romance in War series is to be to be known as:

“Seventy-Two Hours in Alex”

I have opened a new page for the book on this blog site and provided a blurb. At least, this in itself will give me the encouragement to write in earnest and complete it as per my schedule.

The challenge awaits – wish me luck :o)

Best Wishes

Louise

 

 

Aussie Author on the Côte d’Azur

Aussie Author on the Côte d’Azur

Robert L J Borg a.k.a. Louise Roberts

Me at Golfe Juan 301117

I left Australia with an amount of uncertainty at what I might find. When I arrived in southern France in March 2016 I knew I had made the right decision.

France in general is a very beautiful country – I travelled around it a fair bit in the late 1970’s, but the south of France is an entity that swallows you whole.

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

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

My two years on the Côte d’Azur have been an inspiration which has allowed my writing skills to blossom.

During this time three books were released by Luminosity Publishing under my pen name, Louise Roberts. The third, a 37,000 word novella entitled “Dragoon Serenade” is located in this area and is set during the lead up to the invasion of southern France on 15th August 1944. The region’s history, its people, the communities that encompasses them has entirely influenced my story. The book trailer can be found on YouTube:

https://youtu.be/yo2PHH2gjmQ

Despite giving my pseudonym the bulk of my time, I have also found some for myself. Apart from writing fiction I also dabble in travel writing which is, at present, limited on my blog. More importantly, I have had time to completely re-write my very first novel, a crime fiction with sensual romantic elements, “Out of the Darkness”. Although originally completed in 1994 I never thought it good enough to submit. The calming effect the Côte d’Azur gave me the courage to tear it apart and start again. It was the best thing I did, because the novel will now be released by Luminosity Publishing on 18th April 2018 in digital format and as a paperback on 15th May 2018.

ootd-mlc-450-675

Blurb:

It’s January 1994 and it is proving to be another hot summer in Sydney Australia. During the early hours, lonely in his thoughts and strolling along the shoreline at Freshwater Beach, Mark Lander, a war correspondent home on leave, is distracted by cries of help from the surf and wades in to rescue a swimmer in distress.

Unbeknown to Mark his courageous action will make him an unsuspecting champion in the defense of the rescuee, Robyn Shelly. Inquisitive by nature, a requirement of his chosen profession, he teams up with his best friend, Detective Sergeant Jim Sanders. Their respective investigations will pull them deeper into a world of violence and mayhem.

Despite his personal emotional anguish, Mark finds himself captivated by Robyn’s beauty and gradually falls in love with her. However, although he gladly accepts the unexpected friendship, will the trials still to come dash any hope of romance and eventual happiness . . .?

 

At present I am working on the sequel, but I’m not rushing it as that would go against the way things are done in the south of France.

Connect with the author:

https://tomewriter.wordpress.com/

https://www.facebook.com/RobertLJBorg.Author/

https://twitter.com/RobertLJBorg