Wheels of Love Chapter One

 Chapter One

It was scorching hot that late September day in 1972. Sue and Deb had been travelling for six weeks and having a blast. They’d both worked hard for a year, saving to backpack for four months through England and Europe. Sue, although only 23, had so much responsibility back at home that she was really enjoying the freedom she was experiencing. That freedom was all she wanted from this adventure. Never in a million years was love in the picture.

Arriving at the train station in Barcelona early that morning, the platform was overrun with men. Given what happened in France a couple of weeks before, seeing few other women left Sue a little apprehensive about the day ahead but she quickly put her fears aside. They grabbed an empty carriage but it did not stay that way long as they were soon joined by a young Moroccan boy and a woman from England. The latter was so frail and nervous Sue wondered why she was travelling alone. The 16-year-old boy with the black curly hair and animated gestures made them all smile. In spite of his exuberance, he had an appealing shyness about him. It only took five minutes of sitting in the station before the heat got to them.

“Geez it’s hot. This is September, isn’t it?” Deb asked as she made sure all the windows and the carriage door were wide open.

“Apparently” Sue replied while helping fight one of the creaky old train windows into submission.

However, the open windows brought them little relief. Sue was reaching into her knapsack for a bottle of juice when a young man appeared in the doorway of the carriage. She saw his feet first and then her eyes slowly moved up the rest of his body to a face that made her solar plexus tighten and piercing blue eyes that led her down into the most open soul she had ever encountered. She knew at that instant her life would never be the same again.

“Is seats taken?” the man said.

“No,” Sue said quickly.

The young man must have thought he was asking were the seats empty because with Sue’s response he started to walk away. She sprang to her feet and grabbed his arm.

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Christmas Filters

Christmas is almost here again, a time when joyous get-togethers and exchanging meaningful gifts abound. It is a season filled with expectations of love and peace and happiness. Some achieve these, many don’t. I will not dishonour myself by pretending that all the memories of the ghosts of Christmas Past are happy ones but I use what I call my Christmas filters when I look back to those times. These filters, called nostalgia I suppose by others, allow me to look at long ago Decembers and smile. But it is more than nostalgia. What the filters do are let me take the good memories of past Christmases with me on my journey forward and do my best to leave the other ones behind, where they belong.

In the present day I have my boy cat Jay and a place filled to the rim with seasonal lights and greenery. It is hard to fill your own stocking. Jay says “stuff it yourself, just leave me catnip!” My very kind youngest sister makes sure to include a number of small wrapped-in-issue presents in her parcel so that I can have a stocking. I have friends who come to visit and one who always shares my Christmas meal with me so Christmas Present is very good.

And there are many good memories from years ago. Sleigh rides, carolling, banana bread and Earl Grey tea for breakfast, stockings, Jackie Gleason and Peggy Lee Christmas albums (yes, I am old) were among the many things that filled the holidays then. Many of my relatives lived in the same neighbourhood. One year my mother and I delivered their presents to them on a toboggan. I could not have been more than six but I can still remember the sounds of the toboggan gliding across the snow and the crunch of my boots on it. Once the presents were gone I then got a ride home!

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The Write Spot

Once a month, author Cheryl Harrington produces a blog called The Write Spot featuring a specific writer. Her focus is an interesting one – the space that a writer chooses to write in and what is it about the space that helps the creative experience. I am very excited to have been chosen to appear this month and here is an excerpt, where I talk about what I cannot live without in my Write Spot:

“Jay, my cat and my muse. Without Jay, my Write Spot feels empty. He looks after me and seems to know when I should take a break (of course this could also be because he wants attention!). He sits tall on the table, reaches over and pats me on the shoulder or arm, repeatedly, with increasing intensity, until I get up.”

Here is a link to the full blog:


Here is Jay relaxing in my Write Spot


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Giancana – Chicago Mobster

I am very excited to announce the publication of my latest book, an eBook published by Arcturus Publishing Ltd.:


After writing numerous crime books, a publisher asked if I’d be interested in writing a “mobster” book. I chose Sam Giancana partly because he operated during a number of important decades in United States history, 1940’s – 1960’s. As is obvious from all my books, I LOVE history. I also think some of what happens has to be seen in the context of the time in which it happens. Giancana was also a challenge because he is not at all likeable. He had a rough childhood but many have and so I had to work hard to find times when he behaved like a human being. I don’t know how successful I was on that count (!) but it certainly was an interesting ride trying to get there.

Sent to Reformatory at the age of 10, Sicilian-American Sam Giancana went on to live a turbulent and eventful life as mobster and mob boss at a pivotal point in history when the mafia decided who ruled America, who lived and who died.

Born in 1908, in The Patch, Chicago, Giancana joined the Forty-Two gang in 1921 and quickly proved himself as a skilled wheel man (getaway driver), extortionist and vicious killer. Called up to the ranks of the Outfit, he held talks with the CIA about assassinating Fidel Castro, befriended a girlfriend of John F. Kennedy and new other celebrities, including Sammy Davis Jr., Frank Sinatra, Shirley MacLaine and Marilyn Monroe. Giancana also had an interesting relationship with the Kennedy family but the extent of that is not completely clear.

The story of Sam Giancana will overturn many of your beliefs about America during the Kennedy era. If you want to know Giancana’s possible role in the brother’s deaths, and more of the intrigue surrounding that of Marilyn Monroe, this book will fill you in on the murky lives of many shady characters who ruled the day, both in Chicago and elsewhere. 

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