Saturday, October 15, 2016

Jumping the gun, Harlequin's mega sale and paradors in Andalucia

This morning, my twitter feed brought the lovely news that BookScream  had featured AN IDEAL HUSBAND as one of their bargains of the day for 14 October  at $1.99. In fact all my novels are for a limited time $1.99 as part of the Harlequin mega digital  backlist sale. The sale was supposed to start on 18 October but some e-book retailers have jumped the gun and discounted early. Harlequin wanted to keep things quiet until the 18th but…I couldn’t resist sharing after my book was highlighted. The sales officially runs until 25 October but who knows if it will last longer with e-book retailers.
Malaga parador's view

On to paradors and Andalucía. At this point last month Spanish sunshine and soft sea breezes filled my days, instead of typical British autumn weather . My husband and I discovered paradors some years ago – these are state run hotels which feature comfort, good regional food in stunning locations (often former government buildings that have been put to good use).  They are quite good value.
This year, it was southern Andalucia with Cadiz and Mazagon being the outstanding highlights. Some legends claim that Hercules founded Cadiz and that it served inspiration for tales of Atlantis.
El Rocio near Mazagon -- a town with unpaved streets 
It is certainly old and the region has had earthquakes in the past. The buildings actually hum with insect life.  The Phoenicians  were there and people have lived there ever since. The market still uses the Roman market with its colonnades, for example.  The entire coast was very wealthy during the Roman period because of the fish. It used to produce most of the fish sauce (garum) that the Romans used to season their food. More recently  Nelson bottled up the Spanish fleet in the harbour. However, now it is a bit of a forgotten backwater which slumbers in the sunshine.
The Caduz parador was recently rebuilt and with its infinity pools, electronic blinds and glass cube rooms reminded me of a James Bond movie.  At the restaurant I made two discovered — first sea urchins taste great if someone else has prepared them and that ice cold Pedro Ximinenez served with rich black coffee is a perfect dessert. Pedro Ximenez is a very sweet sherry which tastes like you are drinking  raisins but it is best served ice cold. It should be more popular other places as it is excellent. If you ever get a chance, try it.
View from Ronda parador's balcony
One of my husband’s great joys is bird watching. We tend to take holidays in places which are good  for it. When we arrived in Mazagon which is further along the coast towards Portugal and has golden beaches, my husband set up his telescope so he could do a bit of birdwatching. A man ambled up and said in a tone of great delight –oh you have my book.  By chance we had run into the man who wrote a series of books on where to watch birds in Spain.  In some ways it was a James Bond moment because of  course Ian Fleming got the inspiration for the name from a birdwatching guide. I had him sign the book because it is always pleasant to encounter authors in the wild.  
We also went to Ronda and had a spectacular view from the bedroom balcony. There was a music festival so we were serenaded by a harpist and singer. They mostly played  1960’s folk tunes. SO it was very much figure out the song while watching various birds glide past.

Michelle Styles writes warm, witty and intimate historical romance in a wide range of time periods. Her next book SOLD TO THE VIKING WARRIOR will be published in February 2017. You can learn more about Michelle and her books on

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