Friday, 23 June 2017

San Juan - the day health and safety inspectors cry themselves to sleep


One of the best things about Spain is the way they've maintained so many traditions and the huge quantities of festivities there are. You could spend a year hopping from one town to another chasing fiestas if you wanted to. Perhaps I should do that and write a book about it - except I'm a bit of a lightweight and I can't cope with two late nights in a row.

By late, I mean reaaaaally late. You've got to calculate the time as if it were the time plus three hours. So if you get home at 3am, that's really only like getting home at midnight in Spain.


Today is San Juan, which means tonight we'll be celebrating La Nit de Foc - the night of fire. Tonight is the night safe and healthy officers give each other a look as if to say 'why do we even bother?

In Palma, it will start in front of the cathedral with ominous drum beats that will set your pulse racing. Then devils will appear wielding tridents with spinning fireworks at the end of them. Sparks will fly, smoke will fill your nostril, the bang of firecrackers will ripple through your body and you will retreat screaming. You will then probably creep forward again, because it's so mesmerising you won't be able to stay away.


After an hour of all hell breaking loose, the devils will depart... to rejoin their families probably for a barbeque and a beer. Everyone will head down to the beaches and prance around flaming bonfires. There will be no supervision and no massive barriers in front of the fires like there is in public displays for Guy Fawkes in the UK.

There are rituals - like scribbling your deepest wish on a piece of paper and throwing it into the fire so that it comes true. Or jumping over it three times. In reality, the most common ritual is drinking too much, swimming in the dark and making a mess of Mallorca's beaches. I'm intending to go equipped with black bags and be a conscientious San Juan party goer!

So there you have it. If you happen to be in Mallorca tonight - or Spain in general: Do not be afraid. It is not the apocalypse - it's only San Juan. 

I'm seriously thinking about including some mad fiestas in my next novel... 





Thursday, 22 June 2017

Goats or Boats - choosing a Mediterranean dream!


Prices for property in Mallorca are sky rocketing and we've been thinking it might be a good idea to look for somewhere to buy before it's too late. Yesterday we saw an old block with a huge perk. Direct access to the sea via a ladder from a concrete platform. Pretty special, right? Don't get too excited. The second bedroom was too small to swing a cat; too small for a comfortable visit. 

It had a great terrace though. You could grow a tomato plant in it. Not big enough for chickens. Certainly no goats. There are a lot of wild goats in Mallorca. We went on an excursion in our inflatable dingy and saw some walking along the cliffs. It was the highlight of my week.

Every time we set off in our little boat I marvel at how different my life is from what it was a few years ago living in the big city of London. We lower our little anchor, jump into the water for a snorkel, and then dry off in the sunshine, bobbing gently until I feel a bit seasick and we have to go back.

Before I moved toMallorca I was sure I'd choose mountains over sea every time. That's because my summer holidays in the pre-pyrenees in Catalonia were blissfully happy ones. I imagined we might look for a rustic stone-walled finca in the countryside.


Instead we got lucky with a beautiful flat with low rent in a lovely residential area outside Palma. If we could buy a place in our current neighbourhood, we would; unfortunately it's too expensive. 

Having spent two years just walking distance from the sea, I feel its immense value. An ever-changing and always uplifting view, relief from the stifling heat. Plus, we've got our boat now and need to make the most of it.

Back to those goats. There's nothing like seeing wild animals. No doubt we'd see lots  if we chose to take that apartment we saw yesterday because it's not all that far from Magaluf. It gets me thinking. Access to the sea is great, but is it still great if it's in a tourist bubble? If it's in a place which doesn't even resemble Spain any more?

I used to be a massive fan of the programme A Place in the Sun. I remember how the guests ummed and aahed over the compromises they would have to make. In my next book there's a retired couple who come to the island after a dream. Trouble is, they start to realise it's not the same dream.

A place in the sun? Well, I've got the sun bit. Now it's about working out what's the best place to enjoy it... on the budget we have!





Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Mallorca: the sensationally dark side


People often ask writers: Where do you get your ideas from?

Up until now, they've just arisen from daily life. A conversation with someone; an observation that has instigated a series of What if's in my head. After reading the latest copy of EuroWeekly News, I realise I've been missing a trick. The amount of outrageous stories in it are enough for at least three novels a week.

-Sordid Orgy Scandal Erupts: Two top politicians found to have had drug-fuelled orgies with the so-called Godfather of Mallorca

- Caught Red-handed: Two men caught suspected of encouraging Brits to make false food claims.  Mallorca hotels have paid out an estimated 50 million already on fraudulent claims, with a 700% rise in Brits doing the conning

Then there's drunk driving, domestic violence, an attempted kidnap of a baby, disappointed football fans throwing eggs at their team's bus, an inflatable plastic protest against the rise of pollution and of course LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS OF MISBEHAVING DRUNK TOURISTS:

-Stark naked Brits go jogging
-Scottish and British football fans filmed exchanging blows, chanting and covered in blood
-Budget Mile High Club: Couple filmed having sex on a Ryanair flight

Charming! 

It gets worse:

Neo-Nazi thugs invade a bar

Then there's the idiotic:

Women caught stoned in hospital with 46,000 in her purse believed to be cash stolen in a previous raid.

How can you be so stupid?

The only light relief is a mention of a Spanish fiesta where men dressed as devils leap over a line of babies.  Not much relief if you're one of the babies though!

There I was thinking I'd moved to Paradise. By page two of EWN I'm wondering if I've been blind all this time.

On the upside: Lots of potential novels! 

My new novel The Hen Party is also set in Mallorca and does have some misbehaving characters in it. However compared to what I've just read, it's quite tame! 

It's for anyone after a fun, fast-paced book for the summer which won't leave you feeling depressed and in need of another holiday by the time you reach the last page. I can't say the same for this week's EWN. Although I should feel optimistic, if I keep reading I'm sure to have some entertaining plots sorted soon... Plus I love doing the crossword! 






Thursday, 8 June 2017

Sun, Sea and Missing Hens - The Hen Party is out now!

If I haven't blogged recently it's because I've had my hands tied behind my back in a bid to stop me typing before the right time! That and I've got a new job with abcMallorca magazine. But more about that another time. Today is all about THE HEN PARTY.

And the general election in the UK. Oops. Could I have chosen a worse day?

Never mind! I can't resist sharing the news any longer. The Hen Party ebook is OUT NOW in the digital wild. Proceed without caution. Be a big spender. Toss those three pounds at it like you've just discovered them in an old jacket you haven't worn in ages.

I say pounds, but the ebook is available all around the world - $9.99 Reales in Brazil - $49.99 pesos in Mexico - 129 Rupees in India! £2.99 sounds cheap now, doesn't it?!   

The paperback will follow shortly and I will update as soon as it comes out! Best place to find me is on my Facebook Author Page.   

I really, really hope you enjoy the book. If you do and you have a spare minute, reviews are SO helpful as they raise the profile of the book and mean other people see it too.

Thank you for accompanying on the writing journey this far and THANK YOU so much to everyone who buys a copy of my book! 

                                      BUY THE HEN PARTY!


I might calm down in a minute, but I can't promise. 


The Hen Party Blurb

Film Director, Kate Miller, is in serious trouble.  The entire cast and crew of the reality TV show The Hen Party has gone missing while filming in Mallorca.

To make matters worse, the network boss has just flown in and will be arriving any minute to check up on her production.

Kate thinks it's all her fault. She hasn't exactly been following the guidelines.

But if she is to blame, why were the hens arguing between themselves? And why is the groom-to-be calling her up in tears?

Kate doesn't know the half of it. The hens have their own secrets and it's only matter of time before they all come tumbling out.   

A party of eight arrive on the island, but not everyone's going home.


If you are a reviewer would like to get in touch about a review copy, contact me directly: emily@emilybenet.com.