Into the Vines

Into the Vines

by Kim Troike

Monteluce VineyardAs I begin another novel it is difficult to just set aside the beautiful, and moving story of Olivier and Brie with Daniela and her triumphs of heroism. Hawa and Francis running into the vines, exploring and catapulting into the next adventure.  But I must begin again and very soon. First, though, let me give you una mas time to see what I’m talking about.

Mom's iPad 1579


Do you know what a blue moon is? A blue moon is that rare occurrence meaning it doesn’t happen very often. It is the second full moon in a month or quarter. It happens this month on July 31st, read about it in this story.



A family is formed on a vineyard by a pilot who performs rescue missions around the globe, saving those persons from disaster and extreme circumstances. Have you ever wondered how you might act when you come upon a terrible situation, and you are the only one there left to save those stranded by age and terror?

Into the Vines is a story about heroism and destinies. A young nurse named Daniela desires more in life but is unsure of what that entails. One night after work she doesn’t go home but takes a different route to go visit with friends at a local joint. This sets her on a path that changes her life evermore.

novel by Kim TroikeBrie is a woman who has been there, done that; she decides to celebrate a milestone birthday by going to the city of light! Paris! Why not? She’s from Savannah, Georgia and full of southern charm with looks we only dream of. What she doesn’t know, yet, is that her heart is her biggest treasure of all. Someone who has lost it all sees this before she does.

Olivier is the pilot performing these missions like tomorrow exists forever. In his mind he can’t think of another thing to do that would make him happier. Until one day at his sister-in-laws cooking school in the Loire Valley he meets an American girl named Daniela, and all he can do is think about being around her.

Back CoverHawa and Francis are the children in this story ready to capture your heart and take you to places in Africa. Why are they there? What do they find? And who do they rescue?

This is the beginning of this contemporary novel of fiction for teens, YA, and adults. Read and find out how they come together; what they do with their lives and the tragedies they encounter. This epic novel of 414 pages floats along like a butterfly with beautiful and potent emotions, meanwhile the pages speed by taking you through cities like Paris, Savannah, Cleveland and all the way over to the island of Maupiti in the South Seas.

Poetry Blog


Ready for the adventure?

Purchase Into the Vines on Amazon

Images by Kim Troike & Thinkstock



Enter to win a FREE copy of Into the Vines. Contest runs a month long until August 31st.


Want to Come to a Fantasy Sci-Fi Dystopian Steampunk Bargain Books Party? Then Read On – Meet the author – Nicola McDonagh


All the best Nicola … this is from my friend Jane.

Originally posted on Nikki McDonagh - author and photographer:

Prior to the Facebook Extravaganza – Fantasy Sci-Fi Dystopian Steampunk Bargain Books Party I am spotlighting each author taking part. Today, the day of the event, I am spotlighting – Myself!

In June, my publishers closed down and I gained the publishing rights to my YA Dystopian/Sci-Fi series The Song of Forgetfulness. So I self-published the books with an addition of a Prequel, Whisper Gatherers.

So, this is me:

me and storm b&W

Nicola McDonagh is an author, creative writing tutor, and photographer. She lives in Suffolk, UK, with her musician husband and a plethora of rescued/feral cats. She came to writing prose late in life and is trying to make up any lost time by dabbling in more than one genre.

Nicola won the Suffolk Book League’s Short Story Competition 2011 with her story, ‘Glimmer’. The anthology of short stories – Glimmer and other stories was given a Certificate of Excellence…

View original 633 more words

Happy Bastille Day

Happy Bastille Day to France, its 101st since WWI. I know the Tour de France ends in Paris. Good luck to all the cyclists.

Here is a poem I wrote for my novel Bleu Moon titled, “Someday.”

Maybe you feel like this too. Have a read.


Someday, when I’m in Paris
Touring the Avenues, along the Seine;

My eyes will venture to the sky
Noting Gothic Notre Dame and Eiffel tower line.

My francs exchanged for euros to pay for Louvre Art,
Rich history, and beauty fill chambers in my heart.

But first a cafe and selected sinful fruit tart…


“Qui, Qui. S’il vous plait,” I say.
“D’accord.” She hands me the baked sweet.
“Merci,” I add.
“De rein,” she replies.
“Donnez-moi, s’il vous plait un verre de vin.” I changed my mind.
“Oui.” She smiles.
“Merci, ou est the Louvre?” I ask.
“La tout droit.” She points.

“Yes, yes please,” I say.
“Okay.” She hands me the delicious sweet.
“Thank you.”
“You’re welcome.”
“Please give me a glass of wine.” I changed my mind.
“Yes.” She smiles.
“Thank you. Where is the Louvre?” I ask.
“There, straight ahead.” She points.

by Caroline Clemens~pen
picture from francefrance tumblr

Novels by Kim Troike purchase here.

The Bachelor

Old HousesThe Bachelor

This never married gent resides right here,

He found he never could bring her home.

What’s that? You want more to hear?

He found himself unattached, free to roam,

Kind of like the wee ones, an elf or gnome.


The day his momma had her place tendered,

He knew he’d be here til she died.

Yet could he find a way to be rendered?

A smile and his face, never; but love, yes, hide!

Or so he thought to himself; he lied.


Then he met her one dismal winter,

She smiled in frilly dress; she was not poor.

His hand held the bannister tight with splinter,

Impulses gave way, such as like in film noir.

She with brown, bobbed hair said, “Please, pour!”


The gift from his mom, pleasant, yes he cared.

Would you live here with me? He’d  ponder.

She saw mountains, crossed the room, leg bared,

“My brother owns mountains over yonder,”

He said. Should she settle? She now dared.


Years later he thought of that day,

Visiting still made him feel he found gold.

Their hearts fused as one joined like today,

Touches that shook, looks that lashes flickered away,

Brought warmth in temperature and the suns ray.


Til one year it was getting late and true.

No, it couldn’t be, were they getting old?

He asked her, “Do you still love me, my blue?”

“Why do you ask me, for this I’ve you told.”

“Only because, I need to be near you, I’m old.”


“We can do it, you know, tie the knot this spring,”

She said. He looked and thought her crazy.

“Yeah, that’s how I feel now, give me a ring.”

She had turned a corner, not a care, no lazy.

He felt pulses in his bones and wanted to sing!


Seventy years came and she sat in a chair.

He never drove, never sat, never held a wheel.

What would happen to his house? He didn’t care.

She had her life, the real deal, so much feel.

Then one day came those ladies, with the meal.


He died before her, she never had her ride.

She couldn’t bare to part with his prize, not sold.

To feel him again, not ready to depart from lifetime.

From the road she saw the decay and the cold,

Her heart rolled once; resolve made her bold.


The bat’s in the basement made such a sound.

Was this life’s end? Sure as the cigarette must be a rue!

She waved a second time goodbye, no ghosts found.

The homestead standing old and still, ready to fall, too?

She’d rebuilt his place and paid them, the friendly crew.


By Caroline Clemens


Entry for the August poetry contest on Goodreads!

Here’s the link; I’m no. 99.

Goodreads August Poetry Contest

Google Images Credit

4 Reasons Why You Will Never Regret Studying Abroad in Paris


Here’s a lovely post by a student abroad. Thanks! Merci!

Originally posted on ISA Study Abroad Student Blog:

Regan Kirsch is a student at Indiana University and an ISA Photo Blogger. She studied with ISA in Paris, France.

  1. The food

Laduree, Paris, France, Kirsch - Photo 1 Macaroons from Ladurée are known around the world!

You can’t go to Paris without discussing the food. Everything is fresh and carefully prepared. Even a simple ham, cheese, and butter sandwich is out of this world. Also, where else can you walk by so many pastry stores in one block? Whether it’s the fresh produce, the macaroons, the bread, or the crepes, there’s really something here for every palate.

  1. The excursions

Chenonceau, Paris, France, Kirsch - Photo 2 Chateau Chenonceau was included in a weekend excursion to the Loire Valley

Not only are they fun and to beautiful places, but they always have historical importance. Studying abroad is a continual learning experience, excursions included. Whether it’s the chateaus of the Loire Valley or the D-Day landing beaches in Normandy, there is always…

View original 301 more words

Poetry n Posts

Hello Blogging World!

iThinkstockPhotos-480956567What a platform for writing and expression. I love it! However, life gets busy, especially in the summer and we have to adjust and we should. By August I should have life back on my platter and ready to serve it up again. Please keep following and I look forward to following my old buddies and many new ones, too! The beauty of this is that I’m my own boss and the one in control. As a parent you try to be in control but who are you fooling the teenagers have minds of their own. I keep plugging them with my love.

I have some wonderful posts ahead with artists I’ve found that will delight your eyes and mind. In the meantime, share my poetry book with friends and others, and if you do, let me know as I would love to reciprocate and possibly purchase your creative endeavor. There is a flag poem in there that is liberty and freedom at its finest, carefully construed for our veterans. Another poem is written for France, several in fact, as my novel “Into the Vines” is all about Paris and the surrounding countryside. The poem shared here is titled, French Bleu, just like the first novel I wrote. Finally, my third poem presented is a love poem. Summer is love; I think you’ll agree!

Memorial WeekendMy Red, White and Blue
On the anniversary for the gallant lives we lost,
Whose mortal means paved revolutionary roads.
I salute the sapphire souls, the brave and the bold.
The commanders and mates who mightily scathed the foe,
With grit and pure resolve, kept innocence and freedom so.
I honor the soldier’s life, chivalrous and true,
Dying for my flag of red, white and blue.

by Caroline Clemens

fb196599840French Bleu

French blue, a color so true
Full of promise and hope
Ye shall see this as I say.

Power me to be free to
Want not but love and do
You see her glory, written so true?

The accordion plays on and on
Wanting love, expecting no less
For it’s beauty shines and sings.

Patient and blue longs for it’s rendezvous
Again romance found a door, smiles let go,
Sighs give relief, pardon adieu!

No sadness seen in a city of light
Many hours to make things right
Love, yes, ignites without fight.

Notes of song bring rhythm
Two by two, feelings join the rhyme
Blue, the hue, pour me a cup.
Grapes divine, sings freedoms song.

by Caroline Clemens


Your soft patience brings me a smile
As the pale blue sky lasts awhile.
My toes grasp the blades of freshness
As green grass bends to my restlessness.
You want and accept my desire for you.
Fast clouds bring skies of dark blue.
Swift turned my passion to lust.
Your response shares a hope for us.
When the storm came closed were my eyes.
I felt your smooth body give way to sighs.
The dove circles overhead way above.
Down here, though, my heart is full of love.

by Caroline Clemens

Happy Father’s Day to all you dads. Social things are changing daily about rights, gender, race, flags and even fatherhood. One idea to keep in mind as we honor the dad’s today … let them be people with hearts and emotions no matter what type of personality shines through. Teach your children well. Blessings.

***If you would like to see your work displayed on contact me via email @

***Google Images/grapevines



Caring for the Carers


This is from Ali Issac on WordPress. She writes from Ireland and cares for a special needs child who is severely disabled. Bless her.

Originally posted on aliisaacstoryteller:

carer's week 2You are probably not aware of it, because it doesn’t seem to be that well publicised, but it’s Carer’s Week this week in the UK and Ireland.

Carers Week is all about recognising the hard work, dedication and self sacrifice carers make every day in caring for a loved one. These are not paid staff employed either privately or by the state to look after a disabled person; these are people who give up their own lives to in order to improve the life of a friend or family member who can’t look after themselves.

In the Census of 2011, 4.1% of the population were giving unpaid regular assistance to someone who needed it; of these, 98.3% were family members, mostly spouses, two thirds of them female. It is hardly surprising to find that separation and divorce is higher among carers than in the rest of the general population.

Sadly,  the…

View original 949 more words

Feeling Nostalgic by Jacqueline Nash


I don’t know places in Europe but I definitely remember conversing how we would change even our hometowns! Thanks Jacqueline Nash.

Originally posted on Jacqueline C Nash Poetry:

Idyllic Cottage

Feeling Nostalgic – Jacqueline Nash

I was living in a surreal dream of innocence,
looking to the future with wonderment,
wondering where we were going.
You a student, me working in Muswell Hill.
I wore dresses that touched the ground,
long skirts made from curtain fabric,
topped with that long, wine, velvet hooded cape
and my long hair that blew in the wind.
I felt we were living in a past romantic age.
We listened to progressive rock music in darkened rooms
filled with the scent of burning incense and candles for light,
drinking cider because it was cheap,
talking all night of how we would change the world.
We went to concerts and pubs to see our favourite bands.
You, with your King Charles hair and your flared Levi jeans
fitting tightly over those long slender legs.
You with your cheeky smile and gentle eyes.
Remember how we talked…

View original 119 more words

Sasha Harding

I’m pleased to present to you an artist I met on the internet through blogging. She is Sasha Harding and a fully illustrated book of her journey on the southwest coast path is titled, “A Brush With the Coast.”


Her book talked about walking a path, well, I just had to check out the path to see where it existed. No, I couldn’t travel across the ocean but rather I used Google to bring this place before me on my computer. Here is a picture (see below) I found and the place looks extraordinaire. No wonder people travel this path, the beauty alone probably lifts your being off the ground as you walk 630 miles. Yup, in the United States that would be halfway to Florida or halfway to Ohio, depending if you’re headed north or south.

Here’s a glimpse of the book followed by an excerpt and a couple illustrations to showcase her artistic talent:

A BRUSH WITH THE COAST An artist’s search for inspiration along the South West Coast Path…

sasha-harding-young-zoologistThis is the lavishly illustrated story of one girl and her dog, documenting their adventures walking the South West Coast Path. The girl, an artist needing inspiration for an exhibition, roped in her reluctant Ridgeback as her sidekick and together they embarked on a six hundred and thirty mile walk, taking seven weeks and changing their lives forever. The artist with her sketchbook in hand, found her inspiration and saw the best and worst of human nature, experienced the most beautiful and wild landscapes and discovered an enduring love for the simple act of walking. The dog caught a rabbit, traveled on a steam train and followed wherever the artist led. This is a book celebrating the beauty and diversity of the South West Coast Path, seen through an artist’s eyes. An experience that one girl and her dog will never forget…

SashaClick here if you can’t wait til the end of the post to see her site.

What if I was to walk the coast path painting and sketching as I went? Think of the inspiration, the ideas that would flow from an experience like that! Another reason I was so enthusiastic to embark upon this walk was that I had spent most of my life living near the sea and it was very much in my blood. I was a keen fisherwoman and kayaker and when I wasn’t in my studio I was either on or by the sea so spending so much time so close to the water would bring me great joy. I was also an avid walker and thought I could easily accomplish the twelve to twenty miles a day needed to complete the walk. Very tentatively I allowed the idea of doing the walk to grow in my mind, however I was not without doubts. Questions assailed me: how would I go about it? Would I go on my own or with another person or Jess my dog? Where would I stay? Would I camp? What about B&Bs? Would they take dogs? How much would it cost? What about luggage? All questions which needed answering before I could walk a step. It was time to hit the internet…

The South West Coast Path stretches unbroken for six hundred and thirty miles from Minehead in North Devon to Poole in Dorset. It began life as a route for local coastguards to patrol the coast, looking for smugglers and contraband, enabling them to peer down into hidden coves and secluded bays. This was certainly no Sunday afternoon stroll – the combined ascents and descents add up to the equivalent of climbing Mount Everest four times!
It also provides a huge boost to local economies of the area and is estimated to bring in three hundred million pounds annually with nearly thirty percent of people coming to the West Country lured by the path. Add to that the wildlife and flora, the ever changing landscape and dramatic scenery, cream teas and pasties, pints of beer and crab sandwiches and it’s easy to see the path’s charm and appeal. It offered a whole world on my doorstep just waiting for me to walk along it.



I definitely needed a companion to join me on this adventure and had a dubious choice of two – my husband Jack or my dog Jess. I thought about asking my husband for about three seconds and then dismissed the idea with a chuckle. Unlike me, my husband has a proper job and was not in the position to take seven weeks off in order to mooch along the coast path. More importantly he views walking as a total waste of time and effort. The ideal choice would be Jess, my seven stone Rhodesian Ridgeback. I had done a lot of research into the breed before getting Jess as I had wanted a dog that would enjoy long walks in the great outdoors. Lithe and sporty looking, she was bred for endurance and stamina – handy when hunting lions – and she has a calm self-assurance that would be a comfort if the going got tough. So, the perfect sidekick you might say but no, Jess is an anomaly. Where most dogs would become infused with joy at the mention of a walk, Jess will invariably raise a lazy eyebrow and let out a sigh of despair or merely turn her back on me and slope off to her bed. Jess’ whole day revolves around sleep. She will sleep for hours and hours while the world goes on around her, I often grumble that she is sleeping her life away. Despite knowing her lack of enthusiasm for any kind of exercise and also at a loss as to who else I could ask to accompany me, I decided she would be perfect and signed her up there and then – ready and willing… or not!

After an age spent on the internet I hatched a plan: whilst Jess and I walked the path carrying only my painting gear in a backpack, a luggage transfer company would deliver our suitcases to the B&B’s we would stay at along the way. To make life easier, everything was arranged by a wonderful local walking company who took care of all the details from booking dog-friendly accommodation to sending maps to help me plan my route. Since I wanted to spend time soaking up inspiration, sketching and painting, I decided to leave in September as I hoped the weather would still be warm but the hordes of tourists would have returned home and the B&Bs would be more likely to accept a one night booking. Before setting out, I had a very strong image of what the walk would be like and it mainly involved quite a lot of ambling with plenty of stops for fishing, reading, sketching, painting and refreshments, the sun would shine and all would be fun and laughter. This was the walk in my imagination and it is lucky that I was so optimistically delusional because if I had had an inkling of the reality, I would have cancelled the trip and returned to the safer occupation of reading about other people’s adventures rather than embarking on one of my own!

My usual walking gear was trainers and jeans, fine for a daily dog walk but most unsuitable for serious hiking. I had learnt this from my hours perusing various walking websites, so it seemed it was time to dip a tentative toe into the world of outdoor fashion… Standing in the wide entrance of my local outdoor activity emporium my mind boggled at the sheer range of things for sale: coats, hats, tents, torches, freeze dried food, sticks, water bottles whistles… it went on and on!

Nervously I stepped into this mayhem, grabbed the arm of an unsuspecting assistant and asked him to help me make sense of it all… Two hours later and very much lighter of purse, I stepped back into the light already an addict. I had eagerly followed the assistant around as he explained what I would need and why, my eyes wide like a kid in a sweet shop. I bought waterproof trousers that turned into shorts, water bottles without the bad-for-you plastics, socks that let your feet breathe, a backpack that let your back breathe, and a small, orange whistle that was as loud as a plane taking off. The mantra seemed to be ‘layers, layers layers’ – so it seemed paramount that I brought vests made of a special material that cooled you down, then t-shirts, shirts, fleece tops, and finally a light weight waterproof coat. The icing on the cake was my new boots, just trying them on had transformed me from a leisure walker into a serious hiker, I really looked the part with my thick socks and red laces; this girl was not messing around! This girl was on a mission…

Once home I held an impromptu fashion show for a bemused Jack. All the fabrics felt so different from normal clothes –they were lighter, comfier and all seemed to have the added benefit of being able to repel water. I also regaled him with a new word I had learnt – “wicking” or “self-wicking.” I insisted on explaining to him that that meant the fabric would actually pull sweat away from your body keeping you super cool. Instead of the gasps of amazement I was expecting, he shrugged and left the room, leaving me prancing and preening in my new clothes. Keen to get into the swing of things, I started wearing my kit on my daily walks with Jess and began the very important task of breaking in my new boots. This was essential if I wanted to avoid blisters once we got going. Not yet ready to hang up my purse strings, I now embarked on buying one or two other things. First suitcases – one for me and a much larger one for Jess, whose travel essentials included her enormous bed, food and treats.

Next on the shopping list was a five piece fishing rod (with thoughts of catching a monster bass) and finally a very smart blue waterproof coat for Jess, this was essential if I was going to keep her happy, she hated the rain and I had a feeling we would be seeing plenty of it. With a month to go before we left I started packing. First my new wardrobe, then watercolours, watercolour paper, pencils, sketchbooks, reading books (x3), travel rod, lures, line, hooks, a selection of energy bars, boot cleaning kit, first aid kit, maps, travel books, MP3 player and optimistically, sun cream. Over the next month I packed and repacked until I was sure I had covered every eventuality, then it was just a matter of counting down to the big day…

coast**Just before we reached Porthscatho, I spied a café above a sandy cove. It was thrumming with dog walkers and people out for the day and had a lovely informal atmosphere. The café was more of a shack and in front of it were two over-sized tables with benches at either side and everyone was sitting together like kids at a tea party. It seemed the menu was made up of huge slabs of homemade cake or great steaming bowls of soup. It was an inspired choice of food – sweet or savoury and both choices ideal comfort food. I opted for a sticky square of chocolate cake and a steaming cup of tea and sat chatting with the couple sitting next to me while Jess played with their dog.
A burst of energy after the tea and cake had me skipping along the path and into the picturesque village of Porthscatho. On the beach, small boats lined up behind the single harbour wall, the low tide exposing fingers of rock reaching out into the sea. We mooched around the harbour and once on the other side looked back at the coast we had walked: the Nare Head and its companion, Gull Rock and beyond that The Dodman, an imposing and majestic headland and the half-way point of the next day’s walk. Somehow, even though I was the one walking it, it always surprised me when I stopped and took note of far we had come – both physically and emotionally…

porthgwarra_by_miles_cowton_content_half_width**Be sure to click on the links below for her book, calendar, bio and the southwest coast path web site! Congratulations Sasha on this extraordinary adventure. I’m jealous I think. You are a brave woman, more than me. Good luck to you! You can purchase her book here.

By Kim Troike






The blackbird


Poetry from Jane on wordpress!

Originally posted on Jane Dougherty Writes:

A bit of self-indulgence for one of my favourite birds.


You sang your small heart to the summer,

Filled the woods with an endless song.

The soul of the orchard and hedgerow,

Your magic swelled all summer long.

But you wore out your heart with your singing,

Your brittle bones failed, not your art,

Winter’s white hand took your sweet songs,

And its cold fingers stilled your warm heart.

The roses have withered and fallen,

You have flown to the Islands of Bliss,

Where blackbirds still sing in the rose trees,

In that world so much gentler than this.

View original