Tuesday, 1 January 2013

The Old and The New


NEW Year greetings to you from Paradiseo. This is Roy's close collaborator Ed Black posting from my island in the Aegean.

The cocktail bar and grille I run in the Old Harbour, Black Velvet, is closed for winter and this is a quiet time of preparation and reflection: making plans for the year ahead but also considering what has passed.
Despite the harsh economic climate - and some testing weather also - we have got by and there has been much to be thankful for and celebrate.
But now the harbour and pine hills above are still, as though paused in admiration and anticipation, while we pick ourselves back up and prepare to start life afresh.
Whatever has been laid at the door of Greeks of late, they honour their past and those who deserve thanks. I have posted before about the islanders' relaxed lifestyle but even the most outrageous characters here maintain a simple dignity that is admirable and inspiring.
After the partying they are now counting the cost - but not in any rush. Everyone pays their bill in the end.
The islanders remember what they owe and to whom. Until this last year, one of the British paratroopers who helped liberate the area from the Nazis still visited us on holiday every September.
He proudly carried his old Army papers and the islanders, from hoteliers to cafe owners and horse-drawn buggy drivers, refused any payment from him, while his wheelchair-bound figure was welcome and feted everywhere.
We raised a glass to his memory this last September, as that musk-laden, silk-like evening air clung about us on the harbour like a departing warrior's cloak. It's this magical air where I first listened to opera in appreciation, as a visiting Italian tenor sang gently amid the black-satin water and ghostly hulls.
That was when I knew this was to be home for me and sensed my destiny. Whether you have yet to find yours, or are already determinedly embarked upon it, I wish you well through the brightening months ahead.
But we all need moments of relaxed enjoyment, too, and here on this website we hope there will be much to entertain and inspire you. Like Roy, I believe writing should be a positive force taking us beyond temporary setbacks and sadness. There is a balance where we know all is well.
One or two new titles will be appearing on our Books page in 2013. A sample of my own comic and highly spiced Hong Kong novel Romp & Circumstance will shortly feature on our Excerpts page.
Meanwhile, Roy is to make a special offer for the New Year with limited signed and personalised copies of his first novel published by Amazon, Where Angels Tread, for a bargain price (see side panel opposite soon). This is a book that promises to change you - and literally will!
Finally, our memoir page Way Over Yonder will relate the undoing of one careless reporter - leaving a vacancy on the South China Morning Post that Roy filled. He will also reveal how Chinese staff there offered to pool their wages to help him . . . in romance.
We hope you enjoy it all, as well as the year ahead.
Yassas my friends!
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