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Thursday, 13 January 2022

Brechin Muckle Market Resurrected


There is something about a market that is irresistible and I’m sure, like me, many of you make a beeline for markets wherever in the world you are, whether that be a Moroccan Souk, a middle east bazaar, or a local farmers’ market. I’ve bought jewellery from market stalls in Italy, Malta, Spain, and many other places. I still have silver earrings I bought in Yugoslavia a few years before war ravaged the country. In case I haven’t mentioned it, I have a weakness for earrings.

St Jacob's Market, Canada

The largest market I’ve visited over the past few years was St Jacob’s Market in Ontario, Canada. If any market deserved the name of muckle market, it is surely this one with masses of outside stalls where a wanderer could easily get lost and an indoor market on two levels. Food and produce downstairs and crafts and artisan goods upstairs. A market-goers paradise.

St Jacob's Market outdoors

St Jacob's market, Crafts section upstairs. An Aladdin's cave of goodies.

I love to wander around markets whether they are indoors or outdoors. The stalls vary from those selling food to the ones selling all kinds of crafts. And you can always tell when you’re in the vicinity of the fish stall by the smell.

Some indoor markets nearer to home, like the ones in Bristol and Newcastle, are permanent fixtures. The stalls trading in much the same way as the shops on the High Street. And, if they’ve ever visited it, who could ever forget The Barras, Glasgow’s outdoor market. Then there are the markets which set up frequently, some once a month like the various farmers’ markets up and down the country. Some more seasonal, like the Edinburgh Christmas Market and the various town markets marking specific dates like the Valentine’s Muckle Market taking place the week before Valentine’s Day in Brechin, Angus. In case you don’t know where that is, it’s in Scotland.

Entrance to The Barras, Glasgow

Brechin recently resurrected the Muckle Market largely through the efforts of Glen Grant and his team of volunteers. They set one up at Christmas and it was fantastic. It was in the Mechanics Hall in Brechin and spread out over two floors of the building. An ambitious undertaking that was highly successful.

So, what is a Muckle Market? Well, muckle is an old Scots word that means big, and the original Muckle Market referred to a historical market that was held regularly. So, basically it just means a big market.

Brechin has had markets since the Middle Ages. The right to have a market in Brechin was originally granted by King David 1, who reigned from 1124 to 1153 and this right was confirmed by William the Lion. This privilege to hold a market was granted and confirmed by repeated charters over the years and the burgesses of Dundee and Montrose were prohibited from ‘troubling the merchants of Brechin’. So, Brechin markets were exclusively for Brechin merchants.

Over the following years, as well as the Muckle Market there were various markets in Brechin, one for farmers, initially at the Prentice Neuk and then at Park Road, which would be mainly livestock; the horse market at Clerk Street; the Timber Market, frequented by Highlanders, at Market Street; and not forgetting the Trinity Market, locally known as the Taranty market, established in 1819. This market ran for many years, and I remember visiting it in the 1960s when it was still going strong and had a range of amusements as well as stalls.

Market at the Mercat Cross, Brechin

As for the Muckle Market. This was originally in St Ninians Square, a short distance from the railway station. As its name suggests, it was a big market. It was also a hiring or feeing market. This was where farm workers came to sell their services to the highest bidders. The farmers looking for ploughmen and dairy maids would come to inspect what was on offer. The women would line up at one side and the men at the other to be inspected by the farmers looking for workers. Once a deal was struck, the worker would be hired for a year or half-year. I can’t help feeling it must have been a somewhat similar experience to that of slaves being put on display at a slave market.

Brechiners meeting at the Mercat Cross, the main hub of the town

Although the main business at these markets was the hiring of workers, it was also a day out with amusements and stalls and, on the completion of business, attention would turn to sampling everything on offer.

Mechanics Institute, Brechin. New hub for the Muckle Market

As I said previously, the revival of the Muckle Market in Brechin at Christmas was an all-round success and I’m now looking forward to the Valentine’s market which takes place on Saturday 5th February and Sunday 6th February at the Mechanics Hall in Brechin, with all sorts of goodies on offer. And I assure you that with over 32 stalls in the building it will live up to the name of Muckle Market, although I can’t guarantee we’ll be hiring out ploughmen or dairymaids.

Check out the Brechin Muckle Market Facebook page and see what it’s all about.

Chris Longmuir


Amazon Author page


Friday, 31 December 2021

Have a great Hogmanay and a Happy New Year


Tonight, I’ll be the despair of all my Scottish ancestors. I’ll be going to my bed and sleeping the old year out and the new year in. I won’t even stay up to hear the bells and drink the toast to welcome the new year. When you’re the only one in the house, there seems little point. Not like the old days when we might go on the razzle for days on end.

Why should it matter? Well, in Scotland Hogmanay and New Year have always been the biggest celebration. Far bigger than Christmas. In fact, Christmas was never an official holiday in Scotland until about 1958. It was only after that date Scots were allowed a day off work at Christmas and that has built up over the intervening years to be the same as the English holidays, two official days. But New Year has always had its full quota of holidays.

When I was a child, everyone worked on Christmas Day, but like most other children in Britain, Santa did come on Christmas Eve and we hung our stockings up, hoping for them to be filled. But I recall some children who did this at New Year, particularly if their parents were from the older generation.

I suppose the situation in Scotland was a hangover from the Scottish Protestant Reformation, John Knox and all that jazz. In fact, Christmas was banned in the sixteenth century due to the views of influential reformers that it was a Popish or Catholic feast.

So, back to Hogmanay and the New Year, the biggest Scottish celebration when everyone celebrates with a dram. Being Scots, alcohol and celebration go hand in hand.

It was certainly a riotous time when I was in my teens. Everyone bought a bottle, even the girls. The men would have their whisky or rum, maybe both, if they had enough money, while the girls settled for port or sherry and, in some cases, if you really wanted to splurge, cherry brandy.

Armed with our bottles, we would sally forth before midnight to the town square to wait for the bells. When midnight tolled (the bells), bottles would be opened and offered to all and sundry. Everyone taking a swig from the bottle offered. No concerns about germs in those days. We would link arms, sing, dance, and kiss strangers. Thinking about it, an orgy couldn’t have done any better.

This would go on for about half an hour and then we would be off to first foot all and sundry. In those days, people kept open house for any reveller who knocked on their door. You were meant to first foot people with a gift of some sort, a lump of coal preferably for luck, although most young folk just offered a swig from their bottle. And, of course, it had to be a dark-haired person who was the first foot, otherwise it was bad luck.

I remember my gran always had soup and steak pie for her first footers. Anyone through the door after midnight was given a seat at the table and a generous helping of both. After everyone ate, they retired to the best sitting room where my aunt played the piano and a friend the accordion. It was singing and dancing until the early hours, then we would be off to see who else we could first foot. There were times when the first footing lasted all of three days. We were hardy back then.

So, now you see why my ancestors will despair of me when I retire to my bed without even waiting to hear the bells.

Happy New Year everyone.

Chris Longmuir


Amazon Author Page

Friday, 24 December 2021

Christmas Greetings from my Hermit’s Cave


Last Christmas I wrote about Christmas in the strangest of years. Well, it’s still a strange old world and while I’ve occasionally been venturing out from my hermit’s cave, it certainly doesn’t feel normal.

I now visit a few select shops but am still shunning all supermarkets. Delivery to my doorstep is the new norm. As for travel, I don’t think I’ve been further than 30 miles from my own doorstep for the past two years. Book festivals and conferences are a no-no unless they’re online. I’ve become quite adept at Zoom and have done a few Zoom events and readings for libraries and other places. If you search for my name on YouTube, you’re bound to find them.

I have plucked up the courage to do some live events, as well as taking my bookstall to various markets. Masked and sanitised, of course. And it’s been marvellous to meet real live people and readers in the flesh rather than on Zoom. I think I’d started to think flesh and blood people were a figment of my imagination and that we were all avatars.

The one good thing is that I’ve read a massive number of books. Kindle for bedtime, paperback or hardback for midday, and audiobooks when I’m exercising or doing mundane household tasks.

I will be dining out on Christmas Day, but it won’t be in a restaurant or hotel – I’ve forgotten what the inside of those looks like! I will be joining my granddaughter and her family, maintaining my social bubble, and we’re going to have a great time.

As for the new book, it’s progressing slowly. I think when lockdown first happened, my brain decided to go into lockdown as well. I really must get my finger out and finish it.

In the meantime, I want to wish everyone a happy Christmas and to those of you who don’t celebrate Christmas, happy holidays. I hope Santa is good to you and fills your stockings with all kinds of goodies, particularly books. What’s Christmas or a holiday without a good book.

Chris Longmuir


Amazon Author Page


Monday, 18 October 2021

So Excited: Mel and Jeff McCracken have returned in Alison Morton's new Book - Double Pursuit


I haven’t seen writing friends in the flesh for a year and a half and I was delighted when thriller writer Alison Morton and I agreed the other day to meet up in person at the next CrimeFest in 2022. But neither of us have been idle – writers are used to a certain measure of self-isolation.


Alison has spent her time writing a sequel to the first in her new Mélisende series. Although she’s written Double Pursuit (publication date 19 October) as a standalone as all her books are, it follows on naturally from her first book, Double Identity.


In this new book, protagonist Mel is investigating a loose end from a previous case. And her efforts are going nowhere. At least, that’s what she thinks. Here’s a bit more about Double Pursuit:


One dead body, two badly injured operatives and five crates of hijacked rifles.


In Rome, former French special forces intelligence analyst Mélisende des Pittones is frustrated by obnoxious local cops and ruthless thugs. Despite the backing of the powerful European Investigation and Regulation Service, her case is going nowhere. Then an unknown woman tries to blow her head off.


As Mel and fellow investigator Jeff McCracken attempt to get a grip on the criminal network as well as on their own unpredictable relationship, all roads point to the place she dreads – the arid and remote African Sahel – where she was once betrayed and nearly died. Can Mel conquer her fear as she races to smash the network and save her colleague’s life?



Who are Mel and McCracken?

Mélisende des Pittones (Mel) is the daughter of a French father and English mother and currently on detached duty from the French Army special forces as an intelligence operative for the European Intelligence and Regulation Service. She comes from a privileged French background but is down to earth and has declined promotion to officer status several times. Her secret fear? Failure. 


Jeff McCracken is an ex-London Met inspector who Mel was obliged to work with in Double Identity. Leaving his violent father and the petty criminal environment of his childhood on a bleak council estate behind him, he joined the police service at eighteen.  He’s not Mr Sensitive, but is intelligent, competent and persistent. He has a fairly large chip on his shoulder and tries to hide it, but his old insecurity leaks out now and again.


Mel and Jeff’s backgrounds and values tend to clash despite their personal and professional closeness. Sometimes, those differences are the key to pursuing villains...


You can buy Double Pursuit here:



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Connect with Alison

Her World of Thrillers site:

Facebook author page:

Twitter:    @alison_morton

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Thursday, 9 September 2021

Indie Authors, ISBNs, and Legal Deposit in the UK


Social media, like it or loathe it, is part of many of our lives. I must admit, I am not the most active person on social media but I pop in and out of Facebook and like many writers I follow a variety of writers’ groups, most of them with a distinct leaning towards self-publishing.

I’ve been an indie author for many years, having arrived there through the traditional publishing route after becoming thoroughly disillusioned by the policies and practices of the aforesaid traditional publishers. So, over the years, I’ve developed extensive experience in all aspects of indie publishing, otherwise known as self-publishing.

Returning to social media, one thing that has struck me recently is that many of the newer indie authors think that writing and publishing their book is the end of the journey. All they then need to do is market and sell their book. Few, it seems, are aware of their legal responsibilities after publication.

On Facebook, I frequently see posts in various writers’ groups expressing concern at the receipt of a request for their book to be sent to the Legal Deposit Libraries. The authors concerned are usually asking whether this request is genuine and whether anyone else has received one.

Responses often vary from ‘ignore it’; ‘it’s a scam’; and even ‘if they want my books, they can buy them like everyone else’. This type of comment often outweighs the few comments which give accurate information.

This kind of social media interaction highlights the lack of knowledge that a fair number of indie authors have about their legal responsibilities to provide copies of their self-published book for legal deposit.

Who is responsible?

Before I go any further, it might be best to define where the legal responsibility lies. Please note, this article refers to the legal situation in the UK, although my understanding is that legal deposit is required in most countries.

The legal responsibility to provide a published book lies with the publisher of the book, not the author. But an indie author may be, by definition, also an indie publisher depending on who has supplied the ISBN.

It's simple really. Whoever owns the ISBN is the publisher. If the author has bought and paid for their own ISBN, from the official ISBN agency for their country (Nielsen UK; Bowker US), then that author is also the publisher of the book to which the ISBN is assigned. As such, the legal responsibility for legal deposit rests with him or her. On the other hand, if an author has not purchased their own ISBN and has accepted the free or cheap one supplied by printers and distributors such as KDP, then that author is not the publisher and has no liability for legal deposit. And, before you ask, I have no idea how KDP or other printers comply with the legislation, if at all.

You can find most of the information on the British Library website.

The Legislation

This is what Section 1 (1) of the Legal Deposit Libraries Act 2003 says:

"A person who publishes in the United Kingdom a work to which this Act applies must at his own expense deliver a copy of it to an address specified (generally or in a particular case) by any deposit library entitled to delivery under this section." (quote)

Section 3 of the act deals with enforcement if the publisher has not complied with the legislation, which allows the deposit library to apply to the court to force the publisher to comply. However, in my experience, I have never known this to happen, although that doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened or it won’t happen.

The Legal Deposit responsibility

The legislation states under section 4 that you must send one copy of your book to the British Library within one month of publication. They do not request it. It is the publisher’s responsibility to ensure this is done. However, if they receive no copy of your book, they will send a notification to remind you of your statutory duty. It is this notice that elicits the Facebook response I previously mentioned.

Section 5 of the legislation states that each Legal Deposit Library, other than the British Library, is also entitled to a copy of your book. But they must make this request. Therefore, you are under no obligation to send these five copies until you receive a request for them. Once you receive this request, you must send five copies of your book to the Agency for Legal Deposit Libraries within one month.

After receipt of your book, the Agency for the Legal Deposit Libraries sends one copy of it to the five Legal Deposit Libraries. These libraries are – the Bodleian Libraries of the University of Oxford; Cambridge University Library; The National Library of Scotland; the Library of Trinity College, Dublin; and the National Library of Wales.

What happens to the books?

I have noted there is some general confusion about what happens to these books because of a misunderstanding of the role of the British Library and the Legal Deposit Libraries. It is not uncommon for the assumption to be made that these libraries operate like your local library and the books are there to be loaned to the public. However, this is not the case.

The books supplied for legal deposit are added to the archives of all books ever published in the UK. These publications become a research resource and are included in the deposit library’s online catalogue for the availability of users who can inspect the books within the deposit library premises.

As long as these archives exist our books will be there long after we are gone. Possibly the only chance of immortality we will ever have.

Word of warning

Do not make the mistake of combining the six books for the British Library and the Agency for the Legal Deposit Libraries into the same delivery. I did that once, sending all six to the British Library. The five books intended for the Agency for the Legal Deposit Libraries went into limbo, never to be seen again and I had to send a further five copies to the Agency for the Legal Deposit Libraries. That is because the British Library is based at Boston Spa, Wetherby, while the Agency for the Legal Deposit Libraries is based in Edinburgh.


Now that you have waded through this article, I trust you have a clearer understanding of the subject of legal deposit and are able to work out whether you are liable.

Do not despair though, because there are some other things you can do after publication that will hopefully bring some small amount of additional money to you. Registering for PLR (public lending right), for example, and joining ALCS (the Authors Licensing and Collecting Society).

I will end by saying the journey to self-publication is not an easy one and there are more aspects involved with publishing than simply writing the book and uploading it for publication. That is why I devoted an entire chapter in my book ‘Nuts & Bolts of Self-Publishing: How to Self-Publish Ebooks and Paperbacks’ to what you must do and what you can do after publication of your book.

Chris Longmuir


Amazon Author Page

Monday, 26 July 2021

Reading Between the Lines - Style and the Solitary



An unexpected murder. A suspect with a reason. The power of unwavering belief.

A murder has been committed in an office in Jerusalem. That’s for sure. The rest is not as clear-cut as it might seem.

Asaf languishes in his cell, unable to tell his story even to himself. How can he tell it to someone who elicits such fear within him?

His colleague, Nathalie, has studied Beauty and the Beast. She understands its moral. Maybe that’s why she’s the only one who believes in Asaf, the suspect. But she’s new in the company – and in the country. Would anyone take her opinion seriously?

She coerces her flatmates, Yarden and Tehila, into helping her investigate. As they uncover new trails, will they be able to reverse popular opinion?

In the end, will Beauty’s belief be strong enough to waken the Beast? Or, in this case, can Style waken the Solitary?


 Asaf Levitt pushed a hand into the almost-arctic atmosphere outside the bed and killed the music, dead. Instantly, he was up, throwing off the bedclothes and racing to complete the morning chores in record time. Washing, shaving, dressing, breakfast of cornflakes with milk, toast and cheese, apple juice. No need for a hot drink; that could wait for a break at the office. Bed-stripping and -folding to turn the bed into a sofa, washing up, because a tidy flat would welcome him back with open arms; a messy one would depress him, like a relationship gone sour – not that he knew anything about relationships.

Winter jacket with hood, gloves in pockets. Asaf gave his black shoes an extra little polish. Then he checked his image in the wardrobe mirror and felt around in his pockets. Keys, phone, wallet with Rav Kav, ID card, credit card and money. And the note, written last night, folded twice. He rubbed his thumb and forefinger against its smooth surface. The rubbing gave him courage, determination, like the touching of two wires to complete an electric circuit. Nothing would put him off, this time. Nothing and no one.
Asaf turned the key to unlock the front door, using his foot to push aside the draft stopper. When he returned, he would have done the deed and things would be different. Yes, people were about to take notice of him. Change was in the air.
The cold wind hit him as soon as he stepped out of the flat. This block didn’t have an outside door, and living on the ground floor didn’t help. Outside the building, the wind swirled around him. Asaf cut through it with hooded head lowered, as he charged ahead along almost-deserted pavements. He passed closed, lifeless shops. Even the grocer, though open for business, had its entrance closed to keep the weather out.
Other early birds waited at the bus stop on Hebron Road. Asaf recognised most of the faces and some of the voices. They probably recognised him. One thing he was sure of: none of them had ever heard his voice. He’d never approached them, and they usually left him alone. There was that time when a newcomer had asked him which bus he needed to get to the central bus station. He shrugged and raised his eyebrows, despite knowing the answer, and someone else offered the information.
The 71 turned up and most of those waiting crowded around the entrance. Asaf stood at the back, where no one would blame him for shoving them. There were generally enough seats, anyway, at this time. If not, standing was no hardship for him. As usual, he was the last to insert his Rav Kav into the slot.
This time – was this a sign? – he even won a prize for being last on. A window seat, vacated when two people prepared to get off at the next stop. A chance to get up to date with news headlines on his phone, as well as to glance up at the familiar sites passing by. The Bank Junction, nicknamed after the numerous bank branches. Its name had stuck, although several of them had since changed identities. The streets of the neighbourhood of Baka on the left, then Abu Tor, the mixed Jewish and Arab neighbourhood, on the right. The First Station, once Jerusalem’s railway station, now an outdoor cultural and culinary centre that hosted shows and boasted the start of a walking and cycling path leading as far as the zoo. Yemin Moshe, the beautiful old, road-free neighbourhood easily identifiable by its tall windmill. The town centre, and then the orthodox areas, noticeable especially by the dress of those traversing the streets, chatting together or scampering in all directions.
Perched on his window seat, Asaf took in all these sites, and skimmed the news on his phone, but still focused on his self-imposed mission for today. Nothing could stop him. Not

after the events of Thursday, the last working day before the weekend. Thursday was a bad day, but sometimes you needed bad things to occur because they pushed you to break out of your comfort zone. Like the time he hit back at some twerp at school, who fell down in surprise, and for a change the laughter had diverted from Asaf to the twerp.
The screen on his phone turned itself off, but Asaf continued to stare at it.
Thursday. It was about eleven when he found out – after everyone else, naturally. He’d been concentrating on a particularly difficult circuit board, trying to work out the best components to fit into a tiny space, and he’d just had a lightbulb moment when Ido had put his black-haired head round the opening to Asaf’s cubicle, all smiles and false friendliness. Typical. Ido always appeared at the worst moments and commanded attention solely by his presence.
Asaf should have told Ido to wait because he was busy. He should at least have said he needed another minute, so that he could write down his lightbulb thoughts before shifting his attention to Ido. But he didn’t. He never did. The truth was – and this was hard to admit but had to be said – he was in awe of Ido.
Yes. Ido, who was hopeless at his job in quality assurance. Ido, who said, “Yes, of course I understand.” Ido who came back to Asaf to ask yet again and feigned friendliness until Asaf had practically run the whole procedure himself, because there were only so many times you could explain the same thing.
“Asaf, you’re a brick. I’m indebted to you. I’ll tell Omer how helpful you’ve been to me.”
Like hell you will, thought Asaf. You’ll never tell the boss I did your work for you. You’ll pretend it was all you, and he’ll believe you because you could talk your way out of a snake pit. You could persuade a murderer to release you from the knife on your neck. And you know I won’t tell Omer, despite being absolutely exasperated with you, because it would be too much of an effort for me to get the words out. Omer wouldn’t believe me anyway. I know that and you know that. It’s win-win for you and lose-lose for me. Every single bloody time.
Yes, this was that same Ido who Asaf was in awe of, precisely because of his ability to use his tongue to get everyone on his side.
But on Thursday, Ido hadn’t come with any of his scribblings in hand or asked Asaf to review any of his measly attempts. No, Ido had come with an excited grin between his spiked hair and neatly trimmed beard, and a piece of news.
“Guess what. I’ve been promoted!”
“What!” Even Asaf couldn’t keep quiet at that.
“I know; I was amazed, too. They think I’m ready to manage a team and, with Koby in the
other office leaving, there’s one going. Isn’t that wonderful?”
“Yes. Congratulations.” Asaf’s reply was weak and emotionless, but that wouldn’t raise
any eyebrows. Asaf always sounded quiet and lacking in feelings.
“Cheers, mate.” Ido thumped Asaf on the back. “I’m ordering cake for this afternoon. Two
o’clock. Don’t forget.” Ido’s actions were apparently friendly, but Asaf sensed the underlying scorn. What Ido was really saying was, ‘Huh, you see? You sit here glued to your desk, slaving away at your simulated designs with their intricate components, but I’m the one who gets promoted. I’m the one who’s going to get ahead in life. Ten years from now, I’ll be a big boss over a whole department or a whole company. I’ll have a large office all to myself, and you’ll still be sitting in your little cubicle taking commands from up above.’
Asaf had lolled back in his chair after Ido left him. He’d been working at the office longer than Ido, he was far, far better at his work than him, and he would never be promoted. 


Miriam Drori was born and brought up in London and now lives with her husband and one of three grown up children in Jerusalem.

With a degree in Maths and following careers in computer programming and technical writing, Miriam has been writing novels and short stories since 2004. After some success with short stories, Miriam turned her hand to longer fictional works, publishing NEITHER HERE NOR THERE and THE WOMEN FRIENDS: SELINA, co-written with Emma Rose Millar.

Social anxiety features in Miriam's latest publications. SOCIAL ANXIETY REVEALED is a non-fiction guide that explores this common but little-known disorder from multiple points of view. The book has been highly recommended by 'sufferers' as well as professionals in this field. CULTIVATING A FUJI is the story of a fictional character who battles against social anxiety before learning to make friends with it. STYLE AND THE SOLITARY, a crime novel, asks an important question: what happens when a suspect can't stick up for himself?

When not writing, Miriam enjoys reading, hiking, dancing and travelling.



Amazon page:








Monday, 17 May 2021

Melanie Robertson King's popular 'It Happened' series

Melanie Robertson-King is thrilled to announce the upcoming release of the third book in her It Happened series featuring the Scott and Layne families, set in picturesque locations in Canada.


Beaches meets Born on the 4th of July

When Melissa Scott flees to the village of Percé, she’s determined to leave her painful memories behind her.

Gareth Young, a soldier with the Canadian Forces, never got over losing his friend in the war in Afghanistan. Nowadays, he’s happier in his own company than that of others, until she enters his life.

Despite her recent breakup and knowing rebound relationships don’t work, Melissa falls head over feet for the handsome military man, only to discover he comes with enough baggage to fill an army cargo plane.

Will the couple be able to work through their issues and achieve a happy ending together?


At the set of wooden stairs leading to the shoreline, Melissa picked up Buddy and descended. It was a short walk from here to the shoal, where she would cross. Once she reached the bottom, she put the dog back down, and the pair struck out.

Water lapped over the edges of the causeway and pooled in the lower sections of the sandbar. Melissa lifted her dachsie before stepping from the drier beach towards the mammoth chunk of shale and limestone. A lump formed in her throat as she stood gaping at its near-vertical cliff faces.

With Buddy tucked under her arm, she picked her way across. Unsure if it was due to the time of day, the time of year, or the bad weather forecast, there were not many people wandering around. No one strolled along Rue Mont Joli either. Strange.

Because he was well behaved and came when called, Melissa had no qualms about unclipping Buddy’s leash and putting him down. At first, he stayed by her side, sniffing the ground or raising his nose to catch a whiff of something. The scent of rotten eggs wafted through the air, no doubt brought on by rotting seaweed, occasionally overpowering the more pleasant aromas.

Melissa made herself comfortable on a boulder and pulled out her phone while Buddy amused himself. She had no new messages. Not hearing from Iain was a blessing. Maybe he realized they were finished.

She took pictures of the village from this vantage point and Buddy playing on the sand and pebbled shore. She was far too close to the rock to photograph it. She would have to wait for another time. The quay where the tour boats left from would be the best location. Melissa snapped a couple of selfies with Percé looming behind her — some smiling, some with pouty lips before returning the device to her back shorts pocket.

Loud barking and growling jolted her from her reverie as Buddy antagonized a company of gannets. Squawking seagulls soared overhead. One landed nearby and stared at Melissa with its beady yellow eyes. It took a few steps closer, ruffled its feathers and stepped back again. Living and working near the water in Saint John, she was used to seeing them. This one was different. It was more intimidating, almost like it was daring her to move so it could attack, like in the movie The Birds.

Water splashed by her feet. The tide was coming in. She wasn’t here that long, was she? Pulling her phone out, she checked the time. Yes, she had been. She had to act and fast or be cut off. “Come on, Bud, it’s time to go,” she called to her dachshund, but the animal continued harassing the waterfowl. She lunged for him, and he darted away closer to the arch — the most dangerous place of all here.

A clap of thunder rumbled in the distance. Things were quickly becoming dire. Melissa had to get her dog and return to the mainland before the thunderstorm hit. Too late. The skies blackened, and the rains pelted down. Lightning streaked across the sky, followed by yet another crash. How close was the storm? If she counted between the flash and the thunder, the longer the gap, the farther away the inclement weather was. There was more to the calculation, but at this point, it made no difference.

Strong winds pushed the incoming tide and created whitecaps. Huge waves churned and crashed over the sandbar cutting the two off from the shore ...


It Happened at Percé Rock is available to pre-order for the low price of 99¢/99p. You can get your copy here


After the June 6th launch date, the price will rise, so take advantage of the pre-order special!

About the author:


Melanie Robertson-King has always been a fan of the written word. Growing up as an only child, her face was almost always buried in a book from the time she could read. Her father was one of the thousands of Home Children sent to Canada through the auspices of The Orphan Homes of Scotland, and she has been fortunate to be able to visit her father’s homeland many times and even met the Princess Royal (Princess Anne) at the orphanage where he was raised.


It Happened at Percé Rock is Melanie’s eleventh book and it is available as an eBook or a paperback.


You can follow Melanie at the following links:


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You could win a mobi or epub version of It Happened at Percé Rock.

use this link