Symi Dream

Living on a Greek island

A Greek island blog from Symi in the Dodecanese islands of Greece. "James’s great talent lies in his careful observation of the absurd and the amusing, the dramas and the difficulties..." Anne Zouroudi.

Symi Dream - Living on a Greek island

The Other Side of Notting Hill

The Other Side of Notting Hill

I’m mentioning this soon to be released book because Roger Rogowski, the author, is a regular Symi visitor. He’s here right now, and we’re often chatting at the bar, and calling in for dinner. I’ve been following the story of his book for a year or so now and here it is, ready for publication (November) and with a special offer.

The Other Side of Notting Hill

The Other Side of Notting Hill

You can pre-order the book at a pre-publication discount of 20% (plus free P&P), and to do this, you can phone Macmillan Distribution (UK: 01256 302699) or email them at MacmillanDirect@macmillan.co.uk – the offer ends at the end of September. If you would like to have your name listed in the book as one of the subscribers (to this offer) you can contact Roger direct through his Facebook page: The Other Side of Notting Hill.

The book records the memories of people who lived in working-class Notting Hill before huge changes took place in the area in the 1960s. It takes us from Wartime to the Westway – from the 1940s/50s to the swinging 60s, and looks set to become a vital record in the living history project of the area. I shall be ordering my copy today.

And as for me… I took a walk on Monday, up to the main road by Agios Rafael, the small chapel behind Yialos. This is the route from the village donkey path to Agia Paraskevi and then, just beyond the newly built steps to the house up there, the right turn to the place marked on maps as ‘the Wall.’ It’s an ancient area with trees and old paths, very old terracing and some new, and gives you a gentle but rocky climb up to the main road from where you can see across Roukouniotis towards the west and the coast of Turkey. Here are a few pics, more soon.

A rocky path (which was like this before the storm last year)

A rocky path (which was like this before the storm last year)

A view from the top.

A view from the road.

Those black dots are ravens.

Those black dots are ravens.

Towards the west.

Towards the west.

The Judas Inheritance

The Judas Inheritance

Today’s novel has a Symi connection. Although it’s not named in the book, those who know Symi may recognise the island on which the story takes place. It’s a dark tale inspired by the economic downturn seen in Greece in recent years, and in particular, the increase of suicides during that time. It’s not got a lot of laughs in it! It does, though, have some historical truth in the history the story explains, and there are things in it which exist. The plaque on the wall, for example, and the location of the finale is a house I was at only the other week.

The Judas Inheritance is the story behind the film ‘The 13th‘, or is it the other way around? Either way, the film is based on my original draft, and the novel was written in full, from my screenplay treatment. As usual, there’s more in the book than the film (and, I hope, it makes a bit more sense). This story is written in the first and third person, to give us a film feel with the present tense observer in some chapters and the first person past voice through diaries and other devices in others. Anyway, here’s the blurb.

The Judas Inheritance_ ebook coverThe Judas Inheritance

An ancient curse? Desperation in the economic crisis? What is causing the suicides of so many adults and children on this small Greek island? When Chris Trelawney arrives on the island to take away his late father’s belongings, he finds that he has been left little more than a mystery. Was his father mad at the time of his death, or did he actually believe that he had awakened a powerful evil? An ancient evil that now stalks the islanders, growing stronger by the day. A curse that will cause the death of everyone around Chris unless he allows himself to believe that such things exist. But when he discovers the truth, Chris realises that death is the easy option.

“I enjoy reading James’ whimsical and slightly caustic blog about Symi and also his other lighter read Jason and that Sargonauts. I need not have worried. The writing relies on your imagination to picture the ‘evil’ and is a fine piece of psychological fear writing rather than the currently more popular slasher type.

James manages to skilfully alternate between a first person and a third person narrative, no mean feat in itself, and the final third of the book is a page turner reminiscent of Stephen King at his best with a final twist on the ferry home which I did not see coming.” Amazon review.

The Saddling

The Saddling

I’m quite proud to introduce you to my bestseller, The Saddling.

This story was inspired by a moment from a dream. I was standing outside a house where a crow had landed on my roof. There were sheep on the village green, and the villagers were celebrating the fact that I had been chosen as the sacrifice whose death would save them all from destruction. There was that moment of utter helplessness, knowing I couldn’t do anything about it; the crow had made the decision and chosen me. I woke with a line in my head, “Their faith was stronger than his reason”, and a day later read a report about two teenagers being publicly executed (murdered) in Iran simply for being gay.

Perhaps a bit of Poe mixed with too much ouzo, but the dream soon developed into ‘The Saddling.’ I returned to my roots for this one, the Romney Marshes in Kent. The idyllic countryside and way of life of the Saddling village is the kind of life everyone wants, as long as you are prepared to be chosen, at random, to die for it.

Tomorrow, I have part two to tell you about, but for now, here’s the info. Remember, all books are free on Kindle Unlimited and available in print and in Kindle format.

saddling ebookThe Saddling

“Their faith was stronger than his reason.”

To inherit his aunt’s fortune, Tom Carey must unlock a one-hundred-year-old family mystery. The solution lies on the Romney Marshes where the village of Saddling lives by an ancient Lore. Unknown to Tom, the villagers set in motion a chain of calculated events that will ensure that the winter solstice will witness their last ever ‘Saddling’ festival.

Unaware that his life is in danger, Tom befriends two village youths. Through the mists of fear and confusion, their friendship forces Tom to confront his own sexuality.

Tom finds himself the unwitting hero in a struggle between superstition and sense, denial and love, with no escape from either.

Saddling five star times three“Meticulously imagined in the eerie mists of Romney Marsh. A wonderfully evocative landscape of mystery.” Ann Butler Rowlands (Author of ‘Heaven’)

“Comparable with the best of Stephen King.” Charles Allenden

“Very gripping, imaginative read.” Amazon review

“He has mastered that technique of forcing you to start the next chapter as you really care what happens to these people.” Derek Stephen

“A real page turner and kept me guessing right to the end.” David Hendry