Oliver's Offerings - July 2022
Monastery of Batalha
(Mosteiro da Batalha)
It's July in Portugal which means the flowers are in full bloom, the flies are buzzing, and our garden is generating more lettuce than we can eat. I've been slaving away on author stuff as well, so let's see what's going on.
On the writing side of my life things are trudging along at a sedate pace. I'm still about halfway through Demon Trappers #9 and kinda stuck on how the ending of the book is going to play out. It'll happen, but it's just taking its time telling me what to write.
At least I can share a short snippet from the story with you. Fair warning -- first draft here so the final version might be a bit different. For those who've read LOST SOULS, it's about four weeks after that story ended. Simon is currently on a sabbatical so Katia is on her own, working extra hours to earn money for her very own apartment. She anticipates a quiet night in a graveyard, but that's not what's headed her way.
Demon Trappers #9
It felt wrong. The cemetery was too still, with no rustle of a breeze, no sound at all. As if there was no one else in the world but the dead, and Katia Breman.
Seasoned demon trappers didn’t spook easily, and it wasn’t as if she was unprotected. A circle of twinkling candles and Holy Water had been laid onto the ground around her, then charged with a prayer to keep her safe. That same circle guarded the recently-deceased Albert Means, who was tucked into his pricy cherry wood casket, inside a vault, and then under six feet of Georgia clay.
His widow had dropped by right after Katia had begun her vigil. A woman in her mid-fifties, she’d talked a lot and listened even less. And expounded on how nice her husband’s casket had looked at the funeral.
According to Mrs. Means her husband’s heart had said, “That’s it, I’m done” during an appointment with his tax attorney. It’d been an awkward conversation, but finally the lady left both Katia and her dead husband in peace.
Yet the cemetery’s dead stillness—no pun intended—made Katia wish she weren’t here on her own. Despite what Master Blackthorne had said, protecting the dead from necromancers wasn’t a skill every trapper should know. But when you were a journeyman trapper you did a lot of things that didn’t make sense, at least not at that moment.
Besides, Katia was being paid to be here, which was probably why Riley had recommended her when the usual grave watcher had called in sick. Ten dollars an hour for a ten-hour shift would take her a step closer to a deposit on an apartment, and there were no demons were involved. Other than the quiet, this job was the graveyard equivalent of watching paint dry.
“It’s a dead-end job, but someone has to do it,” she muttered.
And now she was talking to herself.
(c) 2022 Jana Oliver
All Rights Reserved
It's quite possible that many of my readers do no know about my alter ego, Chandler Steele. Chandler writes thrillers with a steamy side order of romance. These are adult, "ripped from the headlines" kind of stories -- domestic terrorism, white collar fraud, drug trafficking.
If you're not a fan of those kinds of tales, and sexual content, Chandler's not your best choice. If you do like suspense thrillers with explosions, double crosses, damanged heroes and heroines please check 'em out at Amazon (see the link above). They are also available through Kindle Unlimited.
The fourth book (KNIFE EDGE) will be published after I complete Demon Trappers #9 and the fantasy series rewrites. So it'll be awhile.
Life In Portugal's Countryside
We have SOLAR PANELS! Yes, we now have a fully functional solar array collecting all that free sunlight to offset the grid's electricity usage. (The sunlight is free, the system to do all that certainly wasn't.) I was tickled to learn that the panels were manufactured in Canada.
The installation took two days' total, then a few more visits to get the system and batteries to work as intended. Lots of worker bees in and out of the house, but finally it is done. We are totally jazzed by this since Portugal has a LOT of sun. (So much so we're checking into what it would take to sell the extra electricity back to our provider). Now I don't feel guilty running the A/C if it gets really, really hot.
The city of Batalha is a little over an hour south of us, and I'd always wanted to see the monastery there. So we took a quick two-day vacation. Built between 1385 to 1517 (how's that for a long construction project?) the monastery commerates the victory over the Spanish at the battle of Aljubarotta (1385). No surprise, it's a UNESCO World Heritage site.
We stayed at a lovely hotel right next to the site, wandered around the monstery and the grounds on a very rainy and dreary day. Then we enjoyed a yummy supper on their veranda, and just chilled out. Not many tourists--Portuguese schools were still in session and the weather wasn't the greatest. That worked great for us. It was exactly what we needed after all the construction work of the last few months.
If you'd like to see an amazing 360 degree panorama of the Chapter House within the monastery, click the link. Portugal's Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (Túmulo do Soldado Desconhecido) is in this chamber and there are always two soldiers standing guard over their fallen comrades.
As an American, I will always be astounded at the age of Europe's culture. This monastery has been in existence for over 600 years. Coming from a country with 240+ years of history, this is humbling.
After Batalha we headed back home, but made sure to stop at Fátima and Óurem along the way. In future newsletters I'll post pictures of those sites. The time off was good for us and now I'm back in my office, working on my writing and gearing up for what promises to be a long and hot summer. At least I have A/C (wink). We won't be doing any more touristy things until later in the fall when it's not so hot and the places we wish to visit aren't so crowded. I have a list. A long one because all our travel plans were not an option for the last two years. Time to catch back up, one trip at a time.
Next month I hope to be able to share more about Demon Trappers #9 and perhaps another snippet. In the meantime, please stay well and have a grand summer!
Until next time,
Jana Oliver Online
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is an international & multi award-winning author in various genres including young adult, urban fantasy and paranormal romance.