About Me

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Queensland, Australia
I'm an Australian author of Contemporary Romance, Romantic Action/Adventure, and Historical fiction. I live in Queensland, Australia. www.noelleclark.net

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Above Par - new NA novel from Crystal Donahue

 Fellow Etopia Press author, Crystal Donahue, has released 'Above Par' - a New Adult novel.

There are no mulligans in love.

Drew’s life just got a whole lot harder. Her relationships are falling apart, her little sister is failing math, and her parents are leaving for Florida to take care of Grandpa. Now not only does she have to play surrogate parent, study to graduate from her last semester of college, and deal with the looming threat of full-on adulthood, she has to do it all while running the family’s mini-golf course by herself. Even the upbeat Drew is starting to feel like she just drove her ball down the unfairway.

Her luck takes a turn when she meets Weston, the snarky geometry teacher. He’s smart, capable, dependable, and handsome—a real hole in one. But even Weston has a few hazards of his own. Now Drew will have to decide whether his secret is the wedge that drives them apart, or pushes them together.

Buy Above Par here
Barnes and Noble
All Romance Ebooks

Saturday, December 14, 2013

How many authors does it take to have a PAR-TAYYYYY?

My good author buddies are flung far and wide across our beautiful planet, but we were lucky enough to get together to wish each other a very merry Christmas.

Cat Cavendish - Wales
Shehanne Moore - Scotland
Anne Lange - Canada
Sharon Struth - USA
and myself in Australia

This is what happens when we gals get together:


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Next tour stop - Addicted to Writing

I'm having a ball on my Goddess Fish Promotions blog tour. Today, I'm visiting the lovely Christine
over at Addicted to Writing

Please come and say hello. Leave a comment to be in the running for some great gift card prizes.

Just click on this link to see Addicted to Writing!


Saturday, December 7, 2013

Roman Holidays

Hi everyone! My friend http://christineelaineblack.blogspot.com.au/ - author of Roman historical books - is hosting me today as part of the Goddess Fish Promotions tour.

Christine is an expert on Roman History. Check out her books at http://ceblack.wix.com/author#!bio

It all ties in beautifully with my references to the Emperor Tiberius in Rosamanti. Come on over and discover more, plus you have the chance to win some great prizes.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Queen of the Night ... a fitting place for Rosamanti

Hello everyone! Yes, my lovely Italian romance - Rosamanti - is being launched over at Queen of the Night Reviews with that crazy mid-west gal, Maria. Unlike the Queen of the Night cactus flower in this picture, neither Rosamanti nor Queen of the Night Reviews are one hit wonders. We're not here for a fleeting, night-bloom. We're here to stay. Please come on over and enter the competition to win some great prizes..

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Harlie's Books - full revs here girls!

No, not those kind of Harley's. The wonderful Marika at Harlie's Books has me visiting her website. Comment to win great gift cards. Come on...why not?

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

It's Raining Books - truly!

Yes, the lovely people over at It's Raining Books have kindly allowed me to visit their gorgeous website today, to help me celebrate the release of Rosamanti.

They have excerpts and giveaways galore! Now, who doesn't like gift cards?

So please, pop on over, say hello, and I wish you the best of luck in winning a prize.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Bookgirl Knitting is my host today

Come on over to Bookgirl Knitting for a wonderful experience. Not only can you learn about my newly released novel, Rosamanti, but she also has some fantastic giveaways.

Just leave a comment to be in the running. I'd love to see you there!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Join me on tour - with Goddess Fish Promotions

Yes, that's right. 'Rosamanti' was released on Friday November 29, so what better way to launch it, than to go on a blog tour with the wonderful people from Goddess Fish Promotions.

Here are the dates and the hosts. Come along for all the fun, and leave a comment for a chance to WIN a free ecopy of Rosamanti.

December 2 Bookgirl Knitting
December 3 It's Raining Books
December 4 Harlie’s Books
December 5 Queen of the Night Reviews
December 6 Christine Elaine Black
December 9 Christine Young Romance Writer
December 10 Reading In Twilight
December 11 Deal Sharing Aunt
December 11 Long and Short Reviews
December 12 The Hedonistic Minimalist
December 13 Welcome to My World of Dreams

Rosamanti -- Release day is here!

In February this year, I sat down and wrote Rosamanti in three weeks. The story came from my heart; from a deep love of the beautiful island of Capri; and from a life-long fascination with the Blue Grotto. Today, Rosamanti is published and on sale throughout the world. I feel like pinching myself.

This book is very special to me in many ways. I do hope you enjoy reading it.

Fate drew her to Rosamanti. Love made her stay…

After the death of her husband, best-selling mystery author Sarah Halliman has lost her desire for just about everything. Desperate to break out of her funk and rediscover herself, she answers a newspaper advertisement—For lease: Isolated villa on Capri, Italy. Must love cats. Traveling alone to the beautiful island of Capri, she locates Villa Rosamanti, a gorgeous 400-year-old dwelling nestled in the hillside of Monte Tiberio. Above it lies Villa Jovis, the 2000-year-old villa of Emperor Tiberius, ripe with history and intrigue.

Sarah soon discovers a strong resonance with Rosamanti and its gardens and quirky pets. She begins to feel a deep connection to Elena Lombardi, the deceased owner. But it’s not just the villa Sarah’s fallen in love with. Elena’s grandson, Pietro, is handsome and charming, the epitome of the passionate Italian. His dream is to own a restaurant of his own, but such dreams are for wealthier men.

Between the sparks that Pietro kindles in Sarah’s heart—and her kitchen—and the mystery of nearby Villa Jovis, Sarah’s muse begins to stir. She senses stories in the ancient stones, and romance in the phosphorescent blue waters of the Blue Grotto. But when her curiosity takes her to Elena’s library, a child’s notes and maps lead Sarah to a mystery that could be the answer to everyone’s prayers—or perhaps, be the destruction of everything they hold dear…

Buy Rosamanti here




Thursday, November 28, 2013


Pietro lived with his grandmother – Nonna –and his mother, the only male in the household. From his Nonna, he learned all about loyalty, love, and belonging. Nonna was his rock in a sometimes difficult childhood. She taught him about life, and nurtured him until he was a grown and capable man.

Although life threw some curve balls at Pietro, he grew to be a stoic and reliable man. He is happy working as a chef in his Aunty Maria’s restaurant, turning out authentic Caprese fare to the hordes of tourists and day-trippers to the island.

When Pietro happens to meet an Australian woman who arrives on Capri, his whole world seems to turn upside down. He is forced to face his future, seeing for the first time the opportunities to turn his life in a different direction. But his loyalty to Nonna goes much deeper than pursuing his own dreams.

Stubbornly, he fights the notion of change, but there is one thing he is helpless to fight, and that is the power of falling in love.

Rosamanti -- out on November 29th from Etopia Press

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

I'm going on tour! With Goddess Fish Promotions. Lots of Giveaways!

Yes, that's right. 'Rosamanti' will be released on Friday November 29, so what better way to launch it, than to go on a blog tour with the wonderful people from Goddess Fish Promotions.

Here are the dates and the hosts. Come along for all the fun, and leave a comment for a chance to WIN a free ecopy of Rosamanti.

December  2   Bookgirl Knitting 
December  3   Musings and Ramblings 
December  4   Harlie’s Books  
December  5   Queen of the Night Reviews
December  6   Christine Elaine Black 
December  9   Christine Young Romance Writer
December  10   Reading In Twilight 
December  11   Deal Sharing Aunt 
December  11   Long and Short Reviews 
December  12   The Hedonistic Minimalist 
December  13   Welcome to My World of Dreams

Rosamanti - out on November 29th


Monday, November 18, 2013

Mystery, danger - treasure

Rosamanti - Fate drew her to a faraway villa – her heart made her stay
Out on November 29th!


Thursday, November 14, 2013

If these walls could talk - inside the Blue Grotto

Villa Jovis photo from http://www.capri.net
The Emperor Tiberius ruled the Roman Empire from the island of Capri for 10 years between 27 and 37 AD.  The reclusive and unconventional Tiberius loved the seclusion and mild climate the island offered, and built 12 villas there. His main residence was Villa Jovis, which stood atop the second highest mountain on the island, on the edge of a 1000 foot high cliff. It was an impregnable fortress, offering Tiberius safety and privacy.

It seems Tiberius frequented the famous Blue Grotto, or Grotta Azzurra, and had a quay carved from rock inside it, enabling him to indulge in his fondness for bathing in the other-worldly blue waters. It’s also said he built a marine nymphaeum, where he indulged in another passion – swimming naked with young boys and girls. Tiberius, from all accounts, was a depraved individual who held orgies of unorthodox sexual practices in several of the grottoes that dot the waterline around Capri.
In AD 121, Suetonius wrote De Vita Caesarum  - The Twelve Caesars. Although considered a primary source of Roman history, Suetonius had his critics, many questioning the truth of some of his claims. Suetonius has painted a picture of Tiberius which some scholars today say may not be true. But one only has to look at the paintings, statues, and other relics in Capri to see that he was probably close to the truth.

Suetonius graphically describes some of the lurid and debauched behaviour perpetrated by Tiberius on all who happened to cross his path. Not just sexual deviance, but murder and cruelty. At Villa Jovis, there is a ledge atop the cliff which is apparently where he would have people pushed to their death, merely on his whim.
This extract – a translation from the Latin – shows just how depraved Tiberius was, and it doesn’t take too much imagination to see what went on in his Blue Grotto nymphaeum.

“After retiring to Capri, where he had a private pleasure palace built, many young men and women trained in sexual practices were brought there for his pleasure, and would have sex in groups in front of him. Some rooms were furnished with pornography and sex manuals from Egypt - which let the people there know what was expected of them. Tiberius also created lechery nooks in the woods and had girls and boys dressed as nymphs and Pans prostitute themselves in the open. Some of the things he did are hard to believe. He had little boys trained as minnows to chase him when he went swimming and to get between his legs and nibble him.”  (Suetonius, De Vita Caesarum , XLIII,XLIV)

Painting from http://www.artvalue.com/auctionresult--italian-school-20-italy-the-emperor-tiberius-caesar-au-1901797.htm
For all his wayward and decadent behaviour, Tiberius was also a lover of the finer things in life. He gathered the best architects and craftsmen and set them to work creating complex and massive edifices which allowed him to play his games in luxury.
A statue of Neptune recovered from the Blue Grotto
As recently as 2012, researchers discovered several plinths and statue bases nearly 500 feet
underwater, on the floor of the Blue Grotto.  The number and positions of the bases suggests that there were many statues decorating the grotto. In 1964, archaeologists recovered three statues from the floor of the Blue Grotto – one of the sea god Neptune, and the others were of Triton. Considering seven statue bases in all have been found, experts are confident that another four statues have yet to be discovered.

Boats waiting to enter the small cave opening
Whilst local Caprese fishermen have always known about the existence of the Blue Grotto, it wasn’t until 1826 that the rest of the world heard about it. Two Germans, a writer and a painter visiting Capri, found the small, metre-high opening to the cave by chance.

The wonder of the Blue Grotto, is that it has remained so pristine over the centuries.

No one who visits can ever adequately describe the magical blue light within the cave, caused when sunlight enters the small underwater aperture and is then refracted through the water. The white sandy bottom of the cave reflects the light, producing a vivid blue hue. Any object that is dipped in the water turns silver white. Small fissures in the rock walls emanate a mysterious silver light, adding to the surreal beauty of the grotto.

The Blue Grotto is today one of the most magical of places I've ever been.
Rosamanti - out on November 29th

Monday, November 11, 2013

Meet Sarah Halliman

Successful crime author, Sarah, needs to write a new chapter in her life. But right now she’s finding it difficult to write anything, let alone find her place in a world which has turned upside down.

Never one to shy away from hardship, she takes a big breath – and a huge leap of faith – and embarks on a solo adventure to the other side of the world. She’s seeking solitude, peace, and inspiration. When she arrives on Capri, the tiny island off the Amalfi Coast, Italy, she finds all of what she needs in huge abundance.


Fate drew her to a faraway villa – her heart made her stay

Out on November 29th

Sunday, November 10, 2013

What would you do?

Read this ad in the newspaper classifieds.

If you wanted to get away from everything for a while – maybe to pursue your dreams, maybe to recover from something or someone, or maybe just to think for a while – what would you do?
Sarah had this dilemma. Could she pack up and leave her friends and family, and go somewhere she knew no one? Where she couldn’t speak the language? Would it fix the problem?

Rosamanti  -  by Noelle Clark

Out on November 29th

Monday, November 4, 2013

Meet Nonna

Elena Lombardi is Pietro’s grandmother, or Nonna. She and Pietro both call Rosamanti home, a safe and loving environment in which to nurture one’s soul. Pietro’s love for her is evident in the way he cherishes everything that she holds dear. She has instilled in her grandson the most admirable of traits – loyalty, honesty, and hard work.

Although tragedy has been no stranger to Nonna, causing her great pain and immense loss, she has never lost her ability to love those dearest to her.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The magic of cuisine

When I think of Capri, I think of many things, but being a lover of food I often think of the cuisine first and foremost.

In Rosamanti, my hero Pietro is a chef. He never set out to be a chef, but life’s twists and turns have landed him in the kitchen at Zia Maria’s restaurant, where he works daily to prepare delicious local meals for the hordes of tourists and day-trippers to the Italian island. But as the story unfolds, it’s clear that food is his passion. But not just any food. Pietro has a deep love for traditional, local dishes, made with fresh produce sourced from local producers.

I’m not saying anymore – you’ll have to wait until November 29th, when Rosamanti is released through Etopia Press to find out more. But just to whet your appetite, here are a few of mine – and Pietro’s – favourite Caprese dishes. Buon appetito!

Insalata Caprese is a simple salad usually served as an antipasto (starter) made of sliced fresh mozzarella cheese, tomatoes and basil, and seasoned with salt and olive oil. See the recipe here.

Ravioli Caprese is the island’s signature dish. Fresh, hand-made pasta ravioli pillows are filled with locally made caciotta cheese, parmesan cheese, and marjoram, and served with  fresh tomato sauce and tossed in melted butter and sage. For an extra taste bud extravaganza, fry them. Recipe from http://www.capri.net/en/recipes
RavioliRavioli, filled with caciotta and Parmesan cheese and marjoram, is the Island of Capri's signature dish. Prepared in all of the kitchens of Capri, according to age-old recipes handed down from generation to generation. Much loved by both adults and children, the ravioli are served with a fresh tomato sauce or tossed in melted butter and sage. When fried, they provide a delicious starter.
To make the ravioli place the flour in a mound on a flat surface. Make a crater in the middle and pour the olive oil and hot water into it. Work together to obtain a compact dough. Beat the eggs in a bowl and add the caciotta, parmesan cheese and the marjoram. On a floured surface, use a rolling pin to roll out a quarter of the mixture into a thin sheet. On half of the sheet, place teaspoonfuls of the cheese mixture, positioning the balls about 6cms apart. Take the other half of the sheet and cover the first half. Proceed to separate the ravioli, cutting around each ball with either a ravioli cutter or a glass, with a diameter of roughly 4 to 5cms. Repeat the procedure with each of the remaining quarters of the dough.
Once you have finished making the ravioli, place them to one side (taking care not to put them one on top of the other), on a flat surface, which has been dusted with flour or on clean teacloths. Cook the ravioli in boiling water for five minutes and serve with a fresh tomato sauce (see recipe for Chiummenzana), Parmesan cheese, and a few leaves of basil. Alternatively, the ravioli can be fried in hot oil until the pasta turns a light golden color. Serve hot.

Ingredients for 4 people
  • For the pasta: 500 gr. flour, 2 table spoons of olive oil, half litre of boiling water
  • For the filling: 300 gr. Caciotta di Sorrento cheese (grated), 2 eggs, 200 gr. grated Parmesan cheese, marjoram
  • For the sauce:: Fresh tomato sauce, grated parmesan cheese, fresh basil, olive oil

Totani ripieni (stuffed cuttlefish) – the cuttlefish have a similar taste and texture to calamari but have a stronger flavour. Cuttlefish form part of the staple diet of local Caprese, and are caught at night in the sea around Capri. On summer evenings, it is easy to spot the flickering lights of the boats heading out for the night’s catch. The stuffing consists of local caciotta cheese, parmesan cheese, and tomatoes. Recipe from http://www.capri.net/en/recipes
Totani ripieni (stuffed cuttlefish)This dish is perfect as either first or second course. Clean the cuttlefish and remove tentacles, making sure not to break the cuttlefish's body, which will be stuffed. In a pan, lightly fry the garlic in olive oil and cook the tentacles (cut into little pieces). In a bowl mix the eggs, Parmesan, caciotta, chopped parsley and cuttlefish tentacles. Use this mixture to fill the cuttlefish body and seal together with a cocktail stick. In a saucepan prepare some tomato sauce and then add the stuffed cuttlefish. Cook for 20 minutes. The sauce can also be used with pasta.

Ingredients for 4 people
  • 1 kg. of cuttlefish
  • 500 gr. tomatoes
  • 1 small grated Caciotta cheese
  • 100 gr. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 eggs
  • Garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Parsley

Come along and spend some time with Pietro and Sarah at Villa Rosamanti. You’ll get to sample homemade goats cheese from the milk of Geraldina; eat the eggs from the Rosamanti chickens; and sample the home-made wine. No reservations necessary.

Rosamanti – out on November 29th


Monday, October 21, 2013

Meet Carlo

I'd like to introduce you to Carlo, one of the characters in Rosamanti.

Eleven-year-old Carlo lives with his mother, Teresa, in an old cottage near Villa Rosamanti. Carlo and Teresa struggle to make ends meet. They have no modern conveniences in their small home, but what they have they share with friends and neighbours. Carlo and Sarah take an instant liking to each other, and when Sarah is in grave danger, it is Carlo who responds.

Not having a father of his own, Carlo hero-worships Pietro, and brings to the story a refreshing perspective on life and love.

Rosamanti  -  out on November 29th

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Little Red Gem ... and a song from the heart. Meet author D.L. Richardson

I’d like to extend a very warm welcome to fellow Australian author, D.L. Richardson. Deb’s next book, Little Red Gem, is set for release on October 25th, and I can tell you that this will be one book that will capture the hearts of many readers. Deborah’s previous books are The Bird With the Broken Wing, and Feedback – both out through Etopia Press. Deb’s YA books are proving very popular, and have recently achieved #1 and #2 in Teen Novels in OmniLit’s Best Sellers list. Very impressive!

So, I’ll hand over to you now Deb. It’s such a pleasure to have you here on my blog.

D.L. Richardson
Thanks for having me on your blog, Noelle. For those who don’t know me, I write speculative fiction. This is my third YA novel and my first paranormal romance. Little Red Gem was so much fun to write. It began many years ago as a story about two girls named Ruby and Audrey who swapped bodies when they died, and along the way it evolved into a teenage paranormal love story. I wanted to write the ultimate romance, so for me that meant I had to include one of my passions - music. I loved the character names and retained them, though nothing else of the original story ended up in Little Red Gem.

Why was this so much fun to write? Well, I made the main character, Ruby, a singer in an all-girl band and the love of her life, Leo, is also a musician. As a teenager I sang in the school choir and rock band and I performed in school plays. My boyfriend at the time was also a guitarist. I had an acoustic guitar but I wasn’t great on it and I loved piano but again, not that great. I was a singer, not a musician but I play for enjoyment so it never bothered me. Anyway, when I left school my boyfriend and I started a band where I was the vocalist, but after a few rehearsals I decided to buy a bass guitar, because every band needs a bass guitarist. Suzi Quatro was an icon of mine. I was pleased when I realized I was actually good on the bass guitar, though I sold all my equipment after 10 years when I decided I wanted to write novels. I wish I hadn’t been so impulsive that I just sold everything. But I’m an impulsive kind of person, sometimes.

Back to the story. To be able to delve back into the world of music was a real treat for me as an author. Usually I’m researching worlds or creating them instead of re-living them. Here is an extract featuring one of the songs from the book. It’s called Side Of The Road. And as a special treat, I have recorded this song and included it on the trailer. Be sure to check it out, though it isn’t professionally recorded so I apologize in advance for the less than excellent quality. I hope you like it.

Extract from Little Red Gem

I shook off the gloom, and forced cheerfulness into my voice, telling myself I should stay positive for Anne’s and William’s sake. After all, I was merely dead – they were dead and cursed.

“Okay, you’ve convinced me a song from this century is in order. I’ll sing for you, on the condition you continue with the story of how you and William met your fate.”

I closed my eyes as if sorting through my mental library and all I saw was the image of Mom’s Jeep careening over the embankment. I choose to sing a tragic ballad:

“I am a cross
At the side of the road
Covered in flowers
Sweet roses of gold
No more can I see them
How that makes me cry
At the side of the road
Is forever where I lie
I am a memory
Too painful for some
Now others bring flowers
I don’t know who they’re from
Would I could I’d say thank you
How that makes me weep
At the side of the road
Is forever where I sleep
I am with angels
In sweet heaven above
There are those who don’t know this
But I once found true love
And always I’ll be waiting
To again touch his face
At the side of the road
I found my resting place.”

After I’d finished, my cheeks felt warm and I figured, throughout the night I’d swiped at the tears, now I should let them cascade like a river. If they ran for long enough maybe they’d wear down through my flesh and bone to form a crater-like dam, which would come in handy; I doubted the tears would ever stop and I’d need somewhere to store them.

The wind outside rattled the shutters and I opened my eyes, hoping to view a different day and feeling horrendously let down when I didn’t.

“Such a sad song,” Anne whispered. “Yet…beautiful at the same time.”

 “Thanks,” I said. “I got an A+ in music. Teacher said I must be a reincarnation of John Lennon.”

Anne tilted her head. “Oh. You did not write that song about your own demise?”

“No. Leo and I were driving into Prospect, and on our way home the car hit an oily patch on the road. We skidded. The car did a complete three-sixty. Thankfully we didn’t crash into the oncoming cars, but we did end up off the side of the road. We pulled over to let our heartbeats return to normal, and there, staked into the ground was a wooden cross with a bunch of flowers tied to it.”

Anne’s eyes lit up. “How intriguing.”

“It gets more so. There was a newspaper clipping pinned to the cross. A young woman’s car had run off the run and crashed into a tree. She’d died. The flowers were from her lover.”

“This is turning into a tragedy.”

“Agreed. But in a way it’s also a very romantic story. The crash happened ten years ago and the newspaper clipping said the lover vowed to return every year on the anniversary of her death to replace the flowers. And every year he’s returned, not only has he replaced the floral arrangement he’s also carved the date into the cross. How’s that for true love?”

No sooner had the words left my mouth than an agonizing grief rammed into my chest. My throat unlatched and a sob escaped. “Oh Leo, I’m sorry I died.”

Anne rushed over to my side and embraced me. We curled up on the couch, pressed up against each other, and throughout the night my tears flowed. They continued until light seeped in through the cracks.

I had survived my first twenty-four hours as a ghost.

About the songs in this book

With the exception of Amazing Grace, all the words to the songs in this book are written by the author. Side Of The Road, the song Ruby sings to the ghosts when she first meets them, is the only song not written specifically for this book. It was written in 1991 and was inspired in a similar way to which Ruby was inspired to write the song. A Million Miles, the song Ruby performs at the Reach For The Stars audition was written for this book and has musical accompaniment, unlike the rest of the songs which are just lyrics and have yet to have music put to the words.

Book Description:
Love can make you do crazy things as Ruby Parker discovers when she dies and returns from the grave to unearth how much Leo Culver loved her. With the aid of bad advice from a ghost who is trapped by a curse, a little bit of magic courtesy of her unsuspecting half-sister, and a televised music talent show coming to town to hold auditions, Ruby Parker makes more of a mess in death than she ever did in life. Can she fix everything before it’s too late? Or will she spend eternity as a ghost, haunted by the unknown depths of love? Either way, one thing Ruby learns is that while love can make you do crazy things, it can make you do amazing things too. But at what cost?
Little Red Gem – out now on Amazon!

Available at all good online retailers such as:
Buy eBook
Buy Print

More online retailers to come…
Other links:
Goodreads    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18525150-little-red-gem
Bonus material!!!
Here is a unique book trailer. Listen to D L Richardson as she performs one of the songs featured in the novel. I apologize in advance for the quality. I haven’t performed live in over 10 years. I’m a little rusty. 

Coming soon from D.L. Richardson - Listen to D L Richardson as she performs a second song featured in the novel.
Coming for Christmas - Bonus novellas. What happened to Audrey while she was trapped in the underworld? More of the story behind the two ghosts, Anne and William
"One lucky reader who comments on my blog post will be randomly selected to win an ebook copy of Little Red Gem. Good luck!"

Monday, October 14, 2013

Mother Nature’s gifts – my love affair with Capri

The island of Capri, Italy, is small. It measures only 4 miles long by 2 miles wide, which equates to roughly 4 square miles, or 10 square km. There are two main towns, Anacapri and Capri. Both towns sit atop a rugged spur which stretches lengthwise along the island with a dip in the middle, like a saddle. On my last visit to Capri, I discovered the Natural Arch, or Arco Naturale.

Capri town is a thriving, bustling place made of white washed buildings, cobblestones,
narrow alleyways. It’s also home to designer shops, to-be-seen-in cafes, bars, and restaurants. No cars are allowed in the town, and the cobblestones are well worn by the feet of millions of visitors. Capri is a mecca for the rich and famous, and indeed many celebrities make this their summer vacation town, including the likes of Elton John who is a regular visitor.

My companions and I wanted to see beyond the tourist things, and hopefully get a taste of the history of this place.

Way back in 29 BC, Caesar Augustus visited this island. He loved it so much that he bought it. Well, actually he traded it for the island of Ischia which he owned. His successor, Tiberius, lived on Capri and was responsible for building twelve villas between the years 27 and 37 AD, and the ruins of many are still standing.

So, instead of following the glitterati and well-trodden tourist paths, we followed a steep and winding stone path upwards through the town, passing villas and homes, stopping to look at breathtakingly beautiful scenery overlooking the island and the Bay of Naples. We had no map, we just wanted to explore. It was hot and sunny, making us feel homesick, as the weather was reminiscent of our gorgeous Queensland.

Armed with bottles of water, we walked for hours. Bougainvillea, majestic in its purple, draped over high white walls, wrought iron gates, and archways. Flowering oleanders in pink and white added to the colour. Combined with the blue of the sky and the intense cobalt of the sea beyond, our walk was an intense photo-shoot to try and capture the beauty of the day and the place.

Stumbling upon a sign saying Arco Naturale, we decided to follow it. We passed no one, it was quiet apart from the hum of bees and the occasional squark from a seabird overhead. Passing firstly through the outer ring of homes, it wasn't long before we were in fairly dense bush. We passed many little devotional grottoes with statues of the Virgin Mary. The Italians are very devoted to her and they leave flowers at these little memorials along the roadsides.

A peaceful walk, no traffic, the hot sun beating down. How wonderful to be in this place. Out of the blue, we came upon a cafĂ© carved into a rock cliff along our track. It had little tables with white cloths. I stopped a waiter. “Si si, Arco Naturale” and he pointed for us to keep on walking.
Eventually we found it.
A magnificent arch of rock, suspended over a drop of several
 hundred metres, right down to the blue water below. We spotted some tourist boats bobbing way, way down, so tiny they were mere dots. We stayed in this glorious place for hours, soaking in the view and the peace. A little kitten came to talk to us. Other than that, we were alone.

As we finally began to make our way home, Mother Nature was to leave us with one last parting gift. A magical sunset.