Saturday, 11 January 2014

Bridges- day and night!

Having plastered up the crack in my bedroom wall, and painted the inside of the built - in wardrobe yesterday, I'm now ready to give the whole room a new coat of paint. 

I expect it to take me no more than a couple of hours to do it, since it's not an enormous room, and it's only a 'freshening-up' rather than a new creation. Though, when I predict something like that I'm usually wrong - it often takes a lot longer than I think!

I'm glad that it's not like the famous bridge in Scotland that is often used as a 'painting joke'. The Victorian constructed Forth Railway Bridge, near the capital city of Edinburgh, reputedly takes 4 years to paint from top to bottom, every strut and bolt, and the painters never finish the job because by then the rust is setting in again where they began the job...and they start all over!  


This made me think of bridges in my novels. The Old Bridge at Heidelberg features in Topaz Eyes but I've written about that one in previous blogs.  However, there's another lovely one which features in TOPAZ EYES, my romantic ancestral mystery /thriller, when my main characters spend a short time in the city of Duluth, Minnesota, USA. Here's an excerpt for you but although the bridge is a very fine sight for Teun and Keira, the situation isn't so fine....

The story so far: At this point Keira and Teun are still only getting to know each other better. There's a strong attraction between them, but they still aren't quite sure about trusting each other and are definitely, severally, suspicious about the situation they have found themselves in. At the bridge in Duluth there are plenty of people out there...but is there one particular person out to get them! 

The meal was perfect, the company even more so. Teun didn’t have to exert any energy to attract her; he just did. As the evening developed, she became certain he allowed her to set the pace of any relations, though his eyes blazed his intent and his fingers brushed hers at every opportunity. After their coffee was delivered, he took possession of her hand across the table and held on, shifting forward to make it comfortable. Their active day had tired her, but not made her so tired she wanted to finish the night early with a peck on the cheek. Neither Zaan, nor Jensen, had invaded their conversation, except during the explanations to Jan that morning. When Teun suggested a stroll before bedtime, she jumped at the chance to extend their time together.

            The late evening was balmy, almost no wind to speak of. Teun didn’t need to keep her warm with his arm around her shoulder, but she had no complaints when it settled there and remained. Snuggled into him, she happily let him lead her away from the built-up skyline towards Lake Superior. In minutes they were down onto the Lakewalk, the harbour views quite spectacular as they wandered along, the lights around the Aerial Lift Bridge breathtaking against the darkness. Though it had been fully dark for quite some time, the illumination around the harbour area twinkled and reflected off the calm water of the lake.

“This is amazingly serene, Teun. Did I tell you I love viewing places at night? There’s always something so different about the anonymity of dimness.” Keira was amazed at how it could be so tranquil, since the walkway was still full of people ambling along the lakeside path even though it was after ten p.m. There was some noise around, music playing quite far off, and the chatter of fellow strollers… and yet it was still paradoxically peaceful.
            “If we’ve got time we’ll do a harbour boat tour, I’m sure you’ll really enjoy it. I sometimes think the best way to see Duluth is from the water.” He pulled her in even tighter to allow a family group to pass them on the opposite side, the path being too narrow for six abreast.
            “Aren’t we going to visit Grace?”
            “Already planned for tomorrow. She’s got time organized for us, after lunch, when her cover arrives to help in the shop.” 
            Teun had taken work related calls during the day, but she hadn’t realised he’d contacted Grace.
            “Do you think she’ll be any help?” Keira was keen to meet the woman who’d been married to Jan, and who’d remained his friend despite their inability to stay together. 
            “I don’t expect information or actual jewels from her, but what she does have is the key to my father’s storage facility. When we packed up the contents of his apartment before Christmas, we decided it was best she keep hold of the key, just in case Jan decided he needed something.”
            It startled Keira when Teun pulled to a sudden stop, his arm sliding off her shoulder. He waited a few heartbeats, almost motionless, listening intently before he whipped around. She turned, too, to see what he looked at. A small group of teenagers approached them and then bypassed; their chatter low, yet lively. The kids were the only people in the near vicinity walking in the same direction as they’d just been going in, but the path was well enough illuminated for her to see the man who strode away in the opposite direction. He’d not been pacing towards them moments ago, which must mean he’d abruptly changed direction. Perhaps an odd thing to do, but not impossible. She’d often changed her mind just as quickly and retraced her steps, finding a need to turn back for some reason or other.
            The lighting edging the pathway was just sufficient to see the figure. Too familiar.

I've also got a different sort of bridge to scale just now....

TOPAZ EYES has been nominated for THE PEOPLE'S BOOK PRIZE 2014 Fiction (winter) selection and VOTING  is happening right now. Since the winner of each quarter year, and then the overall winner, are chosen entirely by the PUBLIC, and not a panel of judges, Topaz Eyes needs your VOTE. Every single vote will help both me and my publisher, CROOKED CAT PUBLISHING, since the entry to this prestigious prize can only be made by a publisher and not the author. PLEASE HELP by placing your VOTE at this site:

(Your email is only needed for registering to ensure that no person can vote more than once for a particular book- I can assure you that you will NOT be bombarded by spam emails)

Thank you for helping! I'd love to know if you enjoyed the excerpt - please drop me a line in the comments box and tell me what you think.



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