Monday, April 20, 2015

New Release - Motive For Revenge

I am delighted to announce the official launch of my latest novel Motive For Revenge now available in e-book format on Amazon.  

cover design - Jonny Gillard
For over three years kidnap victim Jake Cornish has struggled to put the memories of his ordeal in the Philippines behind him. Not even his wife Beth knows the full truth and he wants to keep it that way. However, on their first family vacation since returning to the US, a chance sighting of one of his kidnappers inflames his need for closure. When attempts to learn more about his kidnappers' new lives coincide with a brutal attack on their family, Jake becomes entangled in the ensuing police investigation. Now, not only have his actions jeopardized his marriage, but if his secret is revealed he will hand the police the one piece of information they are missing—a motive for revenge. 

Although written as a sequel to Ulterior Motives, it can be read as a stand-alone story.
click here to purchase.   A print edition will also be available by the end of April. 

To celebrate I am currently running a promotion on Ulterior Motives - only $0.99 until midnight, 22 April, 2015 from Amazon.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Walking in New York City - 10th Avenue stroll

Recently I decided I was being rather remiss about getting out and about in my effort to walk all the streets and avenues of New York City, so I headed into Manhattan, this time to check out 10th Avenue. The southern part of the avenue runs from 59th Street (above this it is known as Amsterdam Avenue) down to the West Village and is one of those areas where I usually have little reason to wander so I was intrigued as to what I would find. 

First impressions weren't that great - a street of heavy traffic and rather old and mostly ugly buildings interspersed with construction sites and parking lots.

The views down the cross streets were more attractive - such as this one at 34th Street with a glimpse of the Empire State Building in the distance.
10th Ave & 34 Street

In the 19th century railroad tracks known as the West Side Line ran along 10th Avenue. The mix of freight trains and pedestrians proved to be so dangerous the street was nicknamed Death Avenue and cowboys (The Tenth Avenue Cowboys) were employed to warn people of an approaching train. In 1934 most of  the line was elevated, but eventually fell into disuse and partly demolished in the sixties. In 2006 construction began to convert the remaining line into the High Line, an urban park.

 The first section of the park opened in 2009 and the final section in 2014. As these photos show it can be seen from the street, unfortunately in places the view from the park is not particularly attractive.

The creation of the High Line has spurred a huge amount of development along its length however, including some interestingly shaped buildings. 

At 17th Street the High Line crosses 10th Avenue and a viewing gallery has been created so people can sit and watch the traffic below!  

All in all, not the most attactive avenue to walk, although there were a few bright spots:

and some interesting shops:

But wait, what's this? - a grand piece of 1865 architecture suddenly appears in view. Now the Highline Hotel, it originally was the General Theological Seminary. The hotel web-site provides the following description, 'Just off 10th Avenue, the gated Parisian style courtyard complete with lush gardens demarcated by gas lamps, beckons passers-by to step into a different era.'  Unfortunately, one look out of your window if your room is on the front of the building would soon remind you what era you are in.  

The land, a former apple orchard, was donated by Clement Clark Moore who not only owned most of the area which is now known as Chelsea, but who also happened to pen 'Twas the night before Christmas'. 

Further south on 10th Avenue a small park offers a respite from buildings and construction but, given it's surrounded by major roads, not from the noise of traffic. 

But at least you can get a glimpse of the river!

And finally I'm at the end: The old meat-packing district where some of the buildings are still in original use : 

and others have been converted into international food courts: 

Gansevoort Market

I have to say, this one had some delicious looking options - so I may well have to pay another visit.

All in all, an interesting walk, certainly helped by the wonderful spring weather - warm and sunny, just perfect for walking. And after a long inclement winter, I finally get to put a few more lines on my map!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Easter Sunday in The City - New York City

I have lived just outside of New York City for over seventeen years and enjoyed many a pleasant Sunday in the city parks or on the riverside, but today I discovered that I'd never spent an Easter Sunday in the city.
How could I be so sure?
Because I'd never before witnessed the sight that awaited me as I turned onto 5th Avenue on my way to Central Park. The Avenue between 45th and 60th Street was closed off to traffic allowing crowds unrestricted access to the area to admire and photograph the multitude of Easter bonnets on display.

                                                          From the fun:

                                                                      to the sweet:

The Jane Games

From the stylish:

to the outrageous:

and some who had forgotten the bonnets, but made up for it with their hair:

and outside of Rockerfeller Center, even the Rockettes joined in :

New York is famous for its parades so I shouldn't have been surprised by the idea of an Easter parade but, for me, coming across events like this unexpectedly is part of the joy of living so close to this wonderful city.   

Friday, February 20, 2015

The 2015 Oscar Nominations - One Movie-lover's Opinion

I love watching movies. And I like watching the award shows, but think they are only really worth watching if you have seen the nominated movies, so for the last few years I have made an effort to try and see at least all the Best Picture nominations prior to the Oscars.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Dresden - A City Rebuilt

Last year during a trip to Germany I had the opportunity to visit Dresden. At the time all I knew about the city was that it had been considered one of the most beautiful cities in Europe until it was devastated by Allied bombings during World War II.  The bombings, which took place between February 13th  and February 15th 1945 killed thousands of people and left many of the historic buildings in ruin.

After the war Dresden became part of East Germany. Some of the less damaged buildings were patched up and some were replaced by bland modern buildings, but the rest were left as ruins and it was only after the reunification of Germany that reconstruction began in earnest.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Making Dreams Come True - Part 2

“For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

It's been almost two years since I blogged about my ambition to travel around America by train. At the time I hoped that 2014 would be the year I achieved that dream, but general life and the unexpected opportunity to visit Berlin over the holidays and then Rio later in the year meant plans had to be put on hold. Maybe it was just as well, because in the interim I have found a willing travel companion - my sister, who will come over from England this spring and accompany me on this great adventure.