A wasted day...

"The most wasted of all days is one where you did not once laugh." - Nicolas Chamfort

 Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Hope in fools...

“No cause is lost if there is but one fool left to fight for it.” 
[Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, Orlando Bloom]
Image courtesy of Simon Howden/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Put your heart in it!

"The noblest joy of the senses, the holiest piece of the heart, the most resplendent luster of all good works derives from this: that the creature puts his or her heart wholly into what he or she does." - Mechtild of Magdeburg

T S Eliot

“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”
 - T.S. Eliot (September 26, 1888 - January 04, 1965)

A proverb about success

"The door of success is marked 'push' and 'pull.' Achieving success is knowing when to do what." - Yiddish proverb

Some quotes about writing a novel

"The job of a novelist is to explore human emotion and motivation. You learn more about your protagonists as you write them. If you are not very often forced by your characters to bin your masterplan, then you are a wooden and a formulaic writer indeed. So, better than having a planned structure is to begin with a character or two, and a theme you intend to explore, and an initial direction you plan to start exploring in. Don’t be alarmed when, on arriving at what you thought was your summit, you realise you’ve climbed up the wrong mountain. That’s why novelists go through drafts – because plans go brilliantly awry." - Chris Cleave

"I’m a very slow writer. Slow works for me. I have all the bad habits my fellow writers warn you not to fall into: I procrastinate. I write a bit and wander off to think it over and come back two weeks later. I have no schedule, no regular habits, no fetishes, no daily word quota. I incubate ideas for years and once I start to work on them I can spend more years happily researching esoteric bits and bobs that may not even end up in the novel. I am terribly caffeine dependent. I edit while I write. " - Audrey Niffenegger

"Every writer uses different tools to write books, and none of those tools are right for every writer—or even for every project a given writer tries. Part of making that transition from apprentice writer to journeyman is learning how to apply the right tools in the right way. For example, outlines are a tool. Some writers hate them, others love them. Character dossiers, three-act format and other plotting formulas, even a given word processing program—these are all tools. Sometimes they’ll work, sometimes they won’t. Nobody can tell you if any specific one will help you on a given project. Only through practice and experience can you get a sense of what works for you as a writer." - Brandon Sanderson

You can get your copy of "Capcir Spring"by clicking HERE if you are in the USA or here if you are in the UK

A quote from Anon

The prolific writer "Anon" has come up with a short witticism yet again.

"Money is not important, but it is useful when you are going shopping."

Quote of the day

From the well known author Anon

"A fellow who does things that count, doesn't usually stop to count them."


The French impressionist artist Degas said 
"Art is not what you see but what you make others see."
This is true for all creative people - writers, painters or whatever - opening peoples eyes to see what they have missed in the ordinary world all around them.

Walk on the Capcir Plateau

Capcir - walk the same trails as John in the novel Capcir Spring

Walking through the Pyrenees

 Starting the tour de CapcirA short minibus journey takes us into the Capcir, a high bowl of lakes pasture and forest surrounded by mountains and known locally as "Petit Sibire" (little Siberia) which tells you a lot about its winters. We start walking from the pretty village of Matemale and skirt the eastern side of the Capcir in a long day of forest tracks and paths, with cracking views across to the Puig Carlit (our eventual high point of the week, and the highest peak in the area, even higher than the famous Canigou). Skirting the lake of we cross its dam to the old village of Puyvalador then on up a beautiful side valley to the hamlet of Espousouille.Lac de Camporells

CamporellsWe leave our friendly gite d'étape and follow the Vall de Galba upwards into the mountains. A good path takes us to the remote and beautiful Camporells refuge (bunk beds, outside toilet, basic food). A gorgeous spot.

Traverse of the PéricsThe two mountains in front of the hut are the little and big Pérics. We will climb them both by some extremely steep paths followed by a descent involving a bit of scrambling, down the northeast ridge. Vistas of mountains all round, a good chance of seeing vultures, and possibly a lammergeier. We trSmall lake above Camporellsaverse the Puig de la Cometa and drop down to the even more remote hut of D'En Beys. Similar accommodation.
Into the Vall d’Orlu
We leave the Camporells and retrace our steps of day 4 briefly before heading up the mountain to the Estany del Diable, the Lake of the Devil! We cross the ridge and descend steeply into the Orlu valley. We make our way up to the remote Refuge d’En Beys.

Puig CarlitHopefully you had a good rest because this is the big one. An early start heading south down the very remote valley then we strike steeply up the western flank of Puig Carlit, at 2921m the highest peak in the Capcir, and in this part of the Pyrenees for that matter. Tremendous views from the top. We then descend a long rough path followed by wanderings on green pasture next to a multitude of shimmering lakes, with semi-wild herds of horses. Finally we drop down to the huge Bouillouses reservoir and cross its dam to get to the relatively opulent Bouillouses refuge. We can even go out to dinner, as there is a bar/restaurant next door!

Completing the circleLac de Camporells, April 2005A relatively relaxed start and we soon strike off into the forest. Coming out onto alpine pasture we skirt the Lac d'Aude and easily ascend Mont Llaret behind it. Superb views of our previous adventures. A steep descent through the forest brings us out onto a forest road and down to the beautiful lake of Balcere with its little cafe and ardent anglers. From here we follow the forest track to the village of Les Angles. The lake of Matemale glitters below. We descend and skirt the lake (possibility of a swim) then a short pleasant walk through open woodland takes us back to Matemale, and we are soon back at the hotel.

Further information can be found at the Pyrenees walking website .

You can get your copy of "Capcir Spring"by clicking HERE if you are in the USA or here if you are in the UK

Love and truth

The world is too dangerous for anything but truth and too small for anything but love.
William Sloane Coffin

The love of writing

I love writing and so do many others. Here are some of my favourite Quotes.
Jean de Beurre

There are many reasons why novelists write – but they all have one thing in common: a need to create an alternative world.  - John Fowles
Forget all the rules. Forget about being published. Write for yourself and celebrate writing.  - Melinda Haynes
Writing wasn’t easy to start. After I finally did it, I realized it was the most direct contact possible with the part of myself I thought I had lost, and which I constantly find new things from. Writing also includes the possibility of living many lives as well as living in any time or world possible. I can satisfy my enthusiasm for research, but jump like a calf outside the strict boundaries of science. I can speak about things that are important to me and somebody listens. It’s wonderful!  - Virpi Hämeen-Anttila

Saying what is important

“The most important things are the hardest to say. They are the things you get ashamed of, because words diminish them -- words shrink things that seemed limitless when they were in your head to no more than living size when they're brought out. But it's more than that, isn't it? The most important things lie too close to wherever your secret heart is buried, like landmarks to a treasure your enemies would love to steal away. And you may make revelations that cost you dearly only to have people look at you in a funny way, not understanding what you've said at all, or why you thought it was so important that you almost cried while you were saying it. That's the worst, I think. When the secret stays locked within not for want of a tellar but for want of an understanding ear.”
― Stephen King, Different Seasons

How fictional characters come to be

"Characters take on life sometimes by luck, but I suspect it is when you can write more entirely out of yourself, inside the skin, heart, mind, and soul of a person who is not yourself, that a character becomes in his own right another human being on the page."
(Eudora Welty)

You can get your copy of my novel "Capcir Spring"by clicking HERE if you are in the USA or here if you are in the UK

A quote for today

"The number one thing I am earnestly attracted to is intelligence. Writers are thus the pinnacle of intelligence. While actors are great and awesome, writers literally create new worlds from scratch. What is sexier than that? Personally, I don't know why every person out there isn't dating a writer."
- Rachel Bloom


Today's wisdom

How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world. 
(Anne Frank)

thought for the day

The failure of the caterpillar is the birth of the butterfly.

The best way to wreck your life is to try to get it just right or make it always successful.


"Champions aren't made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them - a desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have the skill, and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill." 

Muhammad Ali

what is the link?

"I fell in love with football as I would later fall in love with women: suddenly, uncritically, giving no thought to the pain it would bring." - Nick Hornby

"The virtue of angels is that they cannot deteriorate; their flaw is that they cannot improve. Humanity's flaw is that we can deteriorate; but our virtue is that we can improve. " - Hasidic saying

The link is that both quotations are going to appear in my new novel which is beginning to take shape - but lots more work to do on it....

This amused me...

Grant me the serenity
to accept the things I
cannot change.
The courage to change the
things I cannot accept,
and the wisdom to hide
the bodies of those people
I had to kill today
they pissed me off
and also,
help me to be careful of
the toes I step on today,
as they may be connected
to the asses that I may
have to kiss

Hard hearts

"Hardening of the hearts ages people faster that hardening of the arteries"  Anon.

Capcir Spring - in print

Capcir Spring 

My novel Capcir Spring is now available as a paperback as well as for the Kindle. Buy it here on Amazon in the USA. (Do you like the new cover artwork?)

The UK Amazon page is here.

Time to muse

"What is life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare."

William Henry Davies

Thought for today

"The good man is the friend of all living things"  Mahatma Ghandi

The importance of mathematics

I ordered a new fridge freezer today.
But I could not order the one I really wanted because of the maths!
The room where the freezer will sit is 2020mm tall. The freezer was 2010mm tall. That looks a good fit - just 1cm at the top so no wasted space!  But the door to the room is lower. The freezer will have to be carried through on its side and then straightened up. As it is twisted into an upright position then it will become taller than the 1cm gap! In fact using the geometry that I remember from school  (the square of the hypotenuse equals the square of the other two sides) I was able to work out that the freezer would need a height of 2110 to clear the ceiling. 
I did the same sum on the other freezers that were on the website and found that one at 1750mm tall would only get to 1860mm high when rotated to stand upright.So I ordered that one. 
I really hope that I have got the sums correct - It could be an expensive mistake otherwise!!


How can I work in this heat. I feel continuously lethargic. The smallest thing becomes a great effort. My energy is sapped as if I am carrying a great weight about with me. Even moving my fingers across the keyboard is a chore. I dislike the way that you stick to things. I am perspiring and want to lie down like my dog under the shade of the tree and sleep.

Perhaps if I lived somewhere it was hot all the time I would cope. But this is the only day that I have felt this hot since last year. And who knows it may be cold and wet again next week - you never can tell at this latitude.

Enough - I think you get the message.

An ancient cure for stress.

St Augustine is believed to have coined the phrase "Solvitur Ambulando" which means "it is solved by walking". (Other ancient writers also have this phrase attributed to them.) A more idiomatic English translation might be “you’ll find the answer as you go.”

Whichever is the correct source of the phrase it has been quoted by Dorothy L Sayers, Thoreau, and Bruce Chatwin in their works.

When you feel stressed a walk is the best cure I know. Once you get outdoors in the open air, ideally amongst wild nature, then with the wind blowing around you and in your hair, your own concerns seen to shrink and get into proportion. Your mind clears and you see much better probably because of both the fresh air and the exercise.

We have dogs. They love to walk.  They have to go out every day rain or snow, wind or storm. They make me walk them even when I don't feel like it or would prefer to be huddled up beside the fire with a good book.

Setting out for a walk you can hold some question that is causing you concern in your mind. Not worrying about it but holding it there gently in your thoughts as you enjoy the physical aspects of taking a walk. Perhaps you want to do the same with something that you are worrying about. It is likely that when you return from the walk the stress will be reduced or gone and you will see more clearly.

When you walk in company you often chat about problems you are facing and often come up with solutions. Walking alone is essential for writers who often find it is a time that develops plots and ideas for his books. A walk can also be a cure for a writers block.  If you are not blessed as I am to live next to beautiful woods maybe when you walk you have to cross major road intersections. Instead instead of streams and distant mountain views you walk past apartment blocks, shops and factories but you can still lose yourself in the exercise. You are outside. You are taking in the perspective of the wider world. It is the walking that brings healing and up to a point it doesn't matter where you walk - though I know which I would find preferable.

Solvitur Ambulando


All human beings like being treated well. So often in our modern world people treat others with discourtesy, disrespect and downright rudeness. Being treated well gives you a real boost and makes you feel good.

Last week I made a long train trip and booked using a special internet offer code so I got a first class ticket at a bargain price. As a result the service I received was superb. 
I had never before experienced first class! In your seat you had complimentary drinks offered and complimentary food served all day. This is not the way to take a trip if you are on a diet! It makes you feel good to be pampered and treated well. The seats are wider than those in ordinary carriages and also recline. I have been on long train journeys which can be a nightmare where you spend the trip longing for the agony to be over.
The trade off we have to understand is that good service costs. If we feel virtuous about getting the best possible deal and paying the lowest possible price for everything then we cannot expect the overworked staff,  inevitably be on minimum wage, to offer the best customer service. Like all of life we get what we pay for. You cannot expect a stranger to pamper you for free!
I find it challenging to wonder if I always treat people I meet in the best way that I can? Especially when I am tired at the end of a long day I know that I am not as nice to others as I want them to be towards me. 

Language changes

Language changes constantly. It is a fluid, dynamic thing that never stays the same. 
In church many old hymns are still in regular use from 300 years or more ago. The one below by Isaac Watts, written in 1719, is a versification of psalm 41. It has for some reason been left out of most modern hymnals.  There has been a complete change in the understanding of the word "bowels" over the last 300 years! Apparently "bowels" was a word that at the time of Watts referred to deep feelings.

Blest is the man whose bowels move
And melt with pity to the poor;
Whose soul, by sympathising love,
Feels what his fellow saints endure.

His heart contrives for their relief
More good than his own hands can do;
He, in the time of general grief,
Shall find the Lord has bowels, too.

His soul shall live secure on earth,
With secret blessings on his head,
When drought, and pestilence and dearth
Around him multiply their dead.

Or if he languish on his couch,
God will pronounce his sins forgiv’n;
Will save him with a healing touch,
Or take his willing soul to Heav’n.


Research is the key to good writing. If you just rely on what is in your head unless you are Einstein you will quickly exhaust your range of experiences of life.

If you are writing an essay at college for your professor you would not think of writing random thoughts from your head without looking up what the range of opinions about the subject are. research for a novel takes a different form. You have to look at locations, and understand that in different parts of the world ordinary things happen in a different way. You have to think about injuries for example and if you are writing about someone who has a broken back - what will the likely disability be? How long will they have had to spend in recovery/physiotherapy before they can begin to rebuild their life.
The Internet gives us so much information available instantly at our place of writing. But it does not replace proper reference books. there is something about flicking through a reference book about for example the city you are writing about that can stimulate the creative process and suggest all sorts of different angles for where the story will go.
There is nothing worse than reading a book where the research has been patchy and things just do not work. If you know London and someone comes out of Buckingham palace and after running for five minutes enters the tower of London then you will likely laugh at the ignorance and lack of research of the author however enthralling the plot.

Do you procrastinate when you try to write?

Procrastination is very common for writers. Look at this chart - someone sent it to me on Facebook! 
It sums up the distractions and the need for discipline if you are ever going to succeed as a writer.

Chosing the right word...

There are many words you can use. Why choose the one that you do? Why do some words appeal and others seem a big turn off? 

When I started writing I used to keep a thesaurus at my side and would look up alternative words just for the sake of using big words that looked impressive. Looking back at some of that early prose, I am embarrassed by how false it sounds.  It doesn't look clever. It looks like a kid has been let loose with a dictionary and has tried to make ordinary prose sound extraordinary by adding little known and little used words.

How many words do you know?  Some research said that the average American high-school graduate knows approximately 45,000 words. Whereas a person with more education or who was widely read would certainly have a larger vocabulary than 60,000 words. Professor David Crystal, known chiefly for his research in English language studies believes  "Most people know about 50,000 words easily. A reasonably educated person about 75,000 and a really cool, smart person more. An ordinary person, one who has not been to university say, would know about 35,000 quite easily." 

So the answer is to use your common sense when choosing which word to use. Write clearly  to show what you mean and not to show the size of your vocabulary.  Using the right word can mean using a short and simple one. 

Editing your manuscript

Editing is a very important part of the writing process.    You have sweated blood in getting the inspiration from your imagination down but it may be raw and clunky. What it needs is a good polish. I think of editing as polishing you precious creation.

You may have to cut out some words and you will remember the hours you spent crafting them. It will fell bad - it will hurt to have to cut hem but that is necessary. Once you have an overview and see the while you can cut the bits that don't fit.

Editing is more than doing a spell check and grammar check. Your computer can help with this but don't always believe the suggestions it makes for grammar! Your prose is more than the suggestions of an auto grammar checking program!

Do you over use certain words - we all do. Use a computer search function and count . You may be surprised!

Is anything clunky - do you stumble over it when you try to read it out loud. If you do that sentence needs re- writing!

Does the story make sense in a chronological way? Are there things that are impossible? I once ended one chapter with a person in a certain place and began the next chapter the same day with the same person somewhere else. It was an impossible journey in the timescale I had written but I had not noticed!

Have I used excess words? - sometimes it it better to say it with less than more. Purple prose - those over flowery descriptions do not often have a place in contemporary fiction.

Are there loose ends? Did you introduce a character early on who has disappeared as the story progressed? They can probably be deleted because to leave them in will cause confusion.

Finally read through thinking about consistency. Do all your characters act in character all the way through? Do they ever slip up and speak in a tone or use vocabulary that would be out of character. Small slips can destroy credibility of characterisation!

You can get your copy of my novel  "Capcir Spring"by clicking HERE if you are in the USA or here if you are in the UK

Keyboard or paper?

How to actually physically write can be a dilemma for writers today. Should you work directly onto a computer keyboard and see your text grow in your chosen font on the screen in front of your eyes. Or should you fill a notebook with a handwritten script that flows directly and physically from the motion of your hands. Or should you wear a headset and dictate the words into a microphone and use voice recognition software to make the words appear instantly on the screen. 
Successful authors swear by all these different methods of writing and many others besides. It is really up to you to find what suits you. I have tried them all. And to an extent they all work. It is often a matter of convenience as to which you use. If you like to write in the woods then carrying a notebook will be a lot easier than even the lightest laptop.  If you like sitting in an armchair close to the fire a laptop may be better than a desktop computer. If you want to dictate your masterpiece you may work faster but you may find the technology very frustrating in that it doesn't always work as well as it is supposed to! (At least that is my experience.)
The advice is try. If you really want to write you will write and write and if you run out of paper you will scribble on the back of cardboard cartons. Ultimately what matters is getting your thoughts down onto a medium where you can come back to them and edit them and make them into a real piece of writing. Any writing that hasn't been edited will be raw and unpolished. It should never be considered a finished product. I will write about editing another time.

Reviewing a book

My professor at university told me a simple formula for writing a book review and it works almost every time. I say "almost every time" because I like to vary everything now and then just because it suits.

The formula is this. As you read the book keep the following three questions in your mind.
  1. What genre is it?  if non fiction what specific category/subject.(Non fiction catagories are very specific)  If fiction is it crime, romance, thriller, fantasy etc.
  2. What does it say? Is the story a good one ? Are the characters believable? Are the arguments clear? Is there a progression from the beginning to the end? Is any of this new or has it been published elsewhere and is being recycled?
  3. Is it any good? This is where you move from the objective assessment to the subjective.. and this is the most difficult to do well. Your answer to this question should be based from your answer to question two. Start with the style, spelling and grammar with an expectation that for a published book this should be faultless. Then assess what impression it leaves tyou with.
So that is my technique. I find this structure very helpful.


If you are a writer you always carry a notebook.

You never know what you will see or what great inspired thought will come into your head and will be forgotten by the time you are able to get to pen and paper.

Technology allows alternatives. I can make notes on my phone. But this lacks the immediacy and ease of scribbling a few words in a notebook. You can supplement these words with a small sketch or diagram that only you will understand. You do not need to do great art to remind you of how a scene was set out or the layout of a room.  I do not want to carry a huge heavy laptop around with me nor even a tablet and really a phone is too small to write any mre than a few sentances without getting an ache in your thimbs.
So notebooks and pencils or pens in the pocket win every time for me.

How I read

As a writer it is essential that you read the work of other people. It is good to read classics and modern masters to be inspired: to see how writing should be executed.
But it is also good to read books by independent authors who have often self published. These books are often far from perfect. 
It is good to read stuff like this because it makes you analyse - 
  • why is this dialogue not working?
  • why is she using the passive voice?
  • the plot didn't make sense at that point? What would I have done instead?
  • why did that character not came alive?
  • why does that development in the plot seem completely unbelievable?
  • has she succeeded in creating locations that I can relate to? 
  • how would I have handled the descriptive passages differently?
Reading second rate novels thus becomes an aid to writing by learning from other peoples mistakes. You can go on from here and write book reviews in which you condense these thoughts into review articles.

Capcir spring by Jean de Beurre on Amazon Kindle

Capcir Spring is a romantic adventure novel set in the French Pyrenees. It is now available as a download from Amazon for the Kindle.

Mary believed that she had left her past behind her as she started exploring Cathar ruins in the French Pyreneen mountains to further her academic career. She has problems sleeping: her nightmares not only relive the ruthless persecution of local people by the Inquisition but are also mixed up with flashbacks to more recent traumatic events in her life. When Mary discovers a plan to destroy the heritage site that she has discovered, she joins forces with John to protect the mountains. 

Unknown to her John too is trying to escape from a painful past in the quiet, out of season French ski resort of Les Angles. In the conservation battle they join forces with an eccentric group of new age travellers. Both Mary and John have to overcome their personal demons and in doing so they each rediscover what is really important in their lives.

In this novel of about 70,000 words, set in contemporary France, Jean de Beurre brings together insights from psychology, history and theology in a romantic adventure.

You can get your copy by
clicking HERE if you are in the USA or here if you are in the UK

Where do you write?

Everyone writes in different places. Some of us are lucky enough to have a desk in a spare room at home where we can keep our computer and the books and pictures we are currently using as reference. Some make do with the kitchen table when it is not needed for family meals. JK Rowling wrote much of Harry Potter in a coffee shop. Roald Dahl had a shed in his garden in which he created his children's fantasy.

Today I was on a train to Edinburgh and I had my laptop with me and found it easy to write in the time that would otherwise have been spent glancing through the Metro (free newspaper) or staring out of the window.

For some people writing is a state of mind that you can do anywhere. 

But I guess that everyone interested in writing always carries a notebook around with them for you never know when you will; get a brilliant idea that you will otherwise forget by the time you get home!

The bottom line is it doesn't matter where you do it - if you want to be a writer don't procrastinate - just do it!

What is the best time to write?

When do you write? Are you an early bird or a night owl? Do you have a day job and have to fit your writing in around your hours at the office or factory?

We are all different. I can only tell you what I do.

I find I am brighter and more creative in the daytime so I speed write new stuff during the day, usually for blocks of an hour at a time.

In the evenings I am more tired and so not given to original thought. But this I find is the best time for revising previously written texts.

Unfortunately I have yet to find a comfortable way of using my laptop when lying in bed!

No corners!

I had lunch a few days ago with a lovely couple who had worked as medical doctors in Zambia.

I learnt an interesting fact from them

In the native language of the Zambian people there was no word for a corner. The word "corner" just didn't exist!  They thought in terms of natural curves and flows. They lived in round huts and had no corners in anything!

They had to adapt their language after western society introduced straight lines and boxes, cubes and corners into their world. So their language adopted the English word "corner" into it.

It must be strange living in a world with no corners. Where shapes are formed naturally and are smoothed by time to be best suited for their purpose.

It must be stranger still to not have the philosophical concept of hiding in your own corner or defending your corner. What would it be like if you could not be backed into a corner with the associated connotations of foul play? Supposing you could not corner someone or you could not hide in a corner!

I think there would be definite advantages to a world without corners!

Planning vs spontenaity

When writing a novel how much should you plan out before you start to write in clear prose? On the other hand, how much should you be open to spontaneity taking over and creating something magical as you go along.

I found an early plan for the novel I am working on at present yesterday. As I read it I was amazed at how much it had changed since I wrote that early synopsis. The characters were mostly the same. Some people who I had imagined would be playing a leading role now only made fleeting appearances or had disappeared all together. There were also new characters who had never been thought of at that initial stage.

The plan was still basically the same - but it was there as an overall shape or sense of direction and the detail had emerged in the writing. And the details had sometimes driven the overall trajectory to change in often subtle ways and the overall shape had often directed and inspired how the details would emerge.

Creativity is a wonderful and somewhat mysterious process. When it works well is absolutely amazing. When it doesn't you can find yourself staring at a blank computer screen for long periods of time wondering which key to hit next. At times liken that I write on my blog just to keep my fingers warm. Hmmm - you can see what I am doing now!

What writers do..

I find that as a writer I have to read. The more I read the more I want to write. I read fiction in all sorts of genres especially forcing myself to read those sort of books that I would not naturally choose for relaxation. I read to be stimulated and disturbed, to be challenged and to be inspired. Reading is a way of understanding what is going on in other peoples minds and understanding how people unlike youself think.
I also read non fiction both to understadn the complexities of our modern world and also to research for my own writing.
If you want to be a writer - read.

Capcir Spring kindle novel - character profiles number 2: John

John is
  • forty something years old
  • a Roman Catholic priest
  • A Jesuit
  • who has very human failings 
  • is in a remote area of France to think about his vocation
  • has been working at a church based counselling centre in the inner city
  • is a trained and accredited counsellor
  • left catholic school for seminary and has been in the church all his life
  • is at a crisis point in his life
  • is perceptive and open yet embarassed about his own recent history

Character portraits on Kindle novel Capcir Spring number 1: Mary


  • Mary is the heroine of Capcir Spring.
  • She is researching the Cathars in the French Pyranean mountains for her academic career. 
  • Since the end of her marriage she has devoted herself to historical research and wants to be a professor.
  • She is in her 30s, blond, intelligent and many consider her stunningly attractive. 
  • She is very sensitive to atmospheres and has a lively imagination. 
  • Mary has given up on relationships after the failure of her marriage in a painful and violent way.
  • She has seen the church at work from the inside and is suspicious of the motives and actions of the clergy. 
  • Her single minded determination to become someone known in her own right for her own achievements is deeply embedded in her psyche
  • This novel describes how, whilst pursuing her academic goals, her world is turned upside down and the possibility of another future emerges.
  • It is a novel containing intrigue, crime, romance, and mystery in a beautiful French setting with a credible historical background based on recent research.
You can get your copy of "Capcir Spring"by clicking HERE if you are in the USA or here if you are in the UK

Photo of the Capcir countryside

You can get your copy of "Capcir Spring"by clicking HERE if you are in the USA or here if you are in the UK

Capcir Spring - the novel - for your Kindle

Mary had her life all planned out. A summer in the French mountains researching the Cathars would be the launch pad for a prestigious academic career.

She was confident that she had rebuilt her life after the traumatic and violent end to her marriage. But in these peaceful Pyrenean mountains the bloody persecution of the Cathars by the inquisition haunts her dreams. This is made worse when her nightmares mix this violent history with flashbacks to her own painful past.

In this state she discovers a plan that would damage her recently discovered heritage site. There are a group of people who don't want her research to be made public.

John is also staying in the same mountains to escape the painful memories of of his failure and loss.

Can these two scarred people help each other and protect the archaeological remains? Who amongst the bizarre range of people that they meet can be trusted? And will they discover the happiness that they have each been seeking for a long time?

Jean de Beurre knows the Capcir plateau well and writes a tightly paced story of mystery and intrigue, tinged with the hope of love. 

You can get a copy for your Amazon Kindle by clicking HERE if you are in the USA or here if you are in the UK

Book review of Capcir Spring

Thank you "Darragh" for this review of Capcir Spring that you posted on Amazon
5.0 out of 5 stars Wholly enjoyable. Capcir Spring is simply enchanting., 11 April 2012
This review is from: Capcir Spring (Kindle Edition)
I found this book wonderful holiday reading and would wholeheartedly recommend it. It was incredibly atmospheric, and the use of setting to compliment and add depth to the interaction of the characters was undoubtedly a success.

This author is definitely up and coming and I am eagerly awaiting his next novel.

You can get your copy of "Capcir Spring"by clicking HERE if you are in the USA or here if you are in the UK


Thank you "Anne" for your review of "Capcir Spring" on the Amazon website.

4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable, 30 Mar 2012
Anne -
Amazon Verified Purchase
This review is from: Capcir Spring (Kindle Edition)
I enjoyed this book. It has an air of mystery about it, along with a touch of romance. Set in France, it combines the present day with times past (Cathers).

Les Iglesiettes

Les Iglesiettes, the ruins where Mary was researching the Cathars in Jean de Beurre's novel "Capcir Spring" really exist...

Ruins of an old village near Les Angles. The red building in the back is an old church.

This photo was taken by Adam Fowler on April 8, 2010 in Les Angles, Languedoc-Roussillon, France, using a Canon EOS 500D. It is available to share on Flickr.

Why "Capcir Spring"?

Jean de Beurre writes - "We had many holidays in the Capcir area of the Pyrenees which is very popular with French tourists but virtually unknown by British visitors. Much of the mountain countryside is like Scotland - rocky peaks and pine forests but it has a different climate. I love it there.  And spring is descriptive of the time of year that the story takes place but is of course also symbolic of new beginnings..."

The village of "Les Angles" plays an important part in the novel Capcir Spring.  This is the old part of the village:

You can get your copy of "Capcir Spring"by clicking HERE if you are in the USA or here if you are in the UK

Jean de Beurre

Some interesting facts about Jean de Beurre.

Jean de Beurre:
  • lives in central Scotland
  • writes fiction 
  • finished Capcir Spring in 2005 and it was first published by Lulu in 2006. The kindle edition came out in 2012
  • has also published a book of short stories
  • is working on a new novel set in Glasgow
  • is married with grown up children
  • is a Christian (liberal - middle of the road)
  • enjoys travel and photography
  • studied both urbanism and theology at post grad level at University (at different times)
  • has worked in the voluntary sector for over 20 years
  • enjoys cycling
  • sung in the musical "The Music Man" in 2011
  • is on the board of an environmental charity
  • was the editor of a fellowship journal for over 10 years
  • has written numerous articles and book reviews for magazines and newspapers
  • likes the operettas of Gilbert and Sullivan

Special Offer

The novel "Capcir Spring" will be available for free on Amazon for your Kindle on Friday 13th April 2012.
A chance to read my novel without it costing you anything!
Best wishes
Jean de Beurre

In this novel of about 70,000 words, set in contemporary France, Jean de Beurre brings together insights from psychology, history and theology in a romantic adventure.

You can get your copy by clicking HERE if you are in the USA or here if you are in the UK

Please note the following important information from Amazon:
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Capcir Spring - The opening pages - Start to read here

Chapter One

The small settlement, nestling in a wide clearing on the floor of the high valley, was silent after the last activities of the day. The stockade gates were shut and there was no movement in or around the thatched wooden huts inside the boundary of the heavy timber fencing. All was still except for an isolated spiral of smoke drifting up from the glowing cinders of an outdoor earth hearth. The last daylight was sinking above the outline of the distant mountain peaks and the sky, which moments before had been red was turning slowly through purple to blue black.
An owl hooted twice and was almost immediately answered by another from the other side of the valley. And then there was fire. Fire was approaching the stockade from up the valley and down. At first there were just a few torches but all the while their number expanded into a mighty army of individual flames that together brought a flickering orange glow to the leaves of the overhanging trees and even to the night sky itself. From among the mass of torches flaming missiles flew through the night air and almost immediately the roof of one and then another of the thatched huts was alight.
A sudden anguished cry ripped through the darkness as the sleeping villagers were harshly shocked out of their slumbers. More screams filled the night air as people of all ages were kicked awake and ran at first in blind confusion but then, lemming like, together, to find sanctuary in the chapel, the one stone building of the settlement, at the centre of the stockade. The noise and light and fire seemed to be coming at them from all sides. The gates had been broken down and the fiery torches were inside. They were moving closer, advancing slowly, setting aflame all that was in their pathway. Where was safety now? The chapel was crammed full of frightened, trembling bodies. The air was heavy with the smell of fire and sweat and fear.
I too followed the crowds and headed for the chapel. It already seemed full. I could hardly get in. As one of the last to arrive I was standing in the doorway. I could feel the press of bodies cowering behind me but I was facing outwards. The chapel was too small. There were too many people and it was too late to bar the door. They were almost upon us. In the torchlight the approaching faces were gross and distorted. I could see that they were full of rage and hatred.
Then I saw James. There could be no mistake. The same familiar outlines, the gangling gait, the prominent forehead and weak chin. The torchlight deepened the shadows under his sunken eyes giving his face a menacing quality. He was at the front of the crowd. It was James who was leading them on and they were chanting in unison. He was leading the rhythmic chant. I didn't understand the words but I sensed a pure hatred tinged with fear. His face was distorted in an violent grimace of blood lust that I had seen once before. Their anger bit into my flesh as physical pain. In his right hand was a sword. Slowly, with small steps and in time with the chanting they moved ever closer.
Angry men with torches and swords and spears and staves were beside him and a mass of hate filled faces were crowding behind. Their advance inched forward step by step. The cowering mass behind me in the chapel was now screaming. Voices of young and old united in a crescendo of terror, prayer, supplication and fear. And then they were at the door, a few yards from my face. One from the advancing throng threw a flaming torch over my head and it sailed over me into the crowded chapel. I was conscious of a strong pressure from behind as those inside moved to avoid the fiery missile. Bodies pressed against trembling bodies and I was being pushed inevitably towards the enemy. I was being forced forwards. I was being forced to move closer and closer to the raw hatred and the swords and the fire and the certainty of death. Oh God! No! No!
The scream pierced the silence of the Pyrenean mountain valley. It was a sultry day in early May. The sky was a cloudless blue, typical of that region of France. John was hot. He had been walking for several hours and though it was not long since his lunch break, he was again looking for somewhere out of the glaring sun to rest. He was ambling gently down a track that wound into a little wide floored clearing in the valley with some ancient stone ruins. Then there was a scream. It was a sound he remembered vividly. It started quite softly almost as a low pitched, half stifled murmur but it gradually grew louder until a high pitched whine flooded the lightly wooded valley and echoed round the rocks and hills above............................... 

In this novel of about 70,000 words, set in contemporary France, Jean de Beurre brings together insights from psychology, history and theology in a romantic adventure.

You can get your copy to continue reading by clicking HERE if you are in the USA or here if you are in the UK

Capcir Spring is now on Kindle

This romantic adventure, set in the French Pyrenees is now available as a download from Kindle.

Mary thought she had left her past behind as she starts exploring Cathar remains in the Pyreneen mountains as part of her post doctoral research. Her nightmares not only relive the painful persecution of local people by the Inquisition but are also mixed up with flashbacks to more recent events in her life. When Mary discovers a plan to destroy the heritage site that she has discovered, she joins forces with John to protect the mountains. Unknown to her John too is trying to escape from a painful past in the quiet, out of season French ski resort. In the conservation battle they join forces with an eccentric group of new age travellers. Both Mary and John have to overcome their personal demons and so rediscover what is really important in their lives.

In this novel of about 70,000 words, set in contemporary France, Jean de Beurre brings together insights from psychology, history and theology in a romantic adventure.

You can get your copy by clicking HERE if you are in the USA or here if you are in the UK