So This Just Happened

Janey In Mersin was created by me when I first moved to Turkey. It became my only friend in a sometimes dark, desolate world, my safe place to go where I could hide from all the bok and my private confessional between me and… well… anyone who happened upon it.

It also helped me make friends, journal my experiences, and gave you guys a glimpse of just how ridiculous life could be here with The Turk and his crazy family. But more importantly, blogging allowed me to take that first step to fulfil my childhood ambition of becoming a published author. 

As a child, I had lofty ambitions indeed. I had just finished reading “Are you there God? It’s me, Margaret” and I decided that I would surely become the next Judy Blume. I mean when it all comes down to brass tacks has there ever been a better piece of prose than, “We must, we must, we must increase our bust”?

By the time I finished school I had quickly realised I didn’t need to repeat that particular mantra over and over as my boobs were already a double D, so I discarded my dream of becoming an author and got on with my real life.

And then one morning as I sat on my terrace overlooking the Village, I wrote a couple of paragraphs about a girl who had fallen in love. I knew something about that at least, well, I did at the time anyway. That girl became Ginger Knox. She and I became firm friends (and occasionally mortal enemies) over the next year or so while I drafted and revised, discarded and re-visited Ginger’s story, time and time again.

Finally! I had written something that wasn’t completely heinous, but where do I go from here?

Full of bravery I emailed off my synopsis and first draft to publishers and waited to be inundated with offers. Now I’d like to think that I was mature enough to handle rejection but, as it turned out, I’m not. Instead, I morphed into a whiny-assed child when Harlequin rejected my manuscript, and I threatened to burn the world down when Mills and Boon passed on my literary masterpiece. “To hell with them all!” It was a battle cry shrieked from my rooftop in the Village all the while smearing blue paint down my face and brandishing my bottle of wine like a sword! They were trying to destroy my dream!

I decided it must be rubbish so I shelved it for a while.

After a little soul-searching I asked for beta-readers to give me some honest feedback. And I got it in spades! From the positive: “I needed a ciggie after that” and “When I wasn’t laughing at Ginger’s inner monologue and snappy comebacks, I was in desperate need of a lie down after all the naughty bits”, to the negative: “I feel there is an overuse of profanity that could cast a negative light on the story”, and even the down-right strange: “I will pray for you.”

All that feedback helped me shape Ginger’s story (and between you and me that last comment made me realise that I might be on the right track!).

I began to look at other publishing options. Self-publishing seemed the most realistic way for me to move forward. I had seen other well-known authors who utilised self-publishing and went on to see their novel become a huge success.

And so let’s fast forward to today. I’m excited and terrified and more than a little bit nauseous, but I’ve finally done it. I’ve published my slightly funny, definitely not autobiographical (this question gets asked a lot!), sexy, swoony, heartfelt romance. Rated R for raunchy, Salep and Ginger is probably not suited to those who don’t like being spanked or for those under the age of 18 years (full disclosure: there is no spanking in this book). It’s mostly the story of a girl standing in front of a boy… wait, no, that’s not right… maybe you guys should just read it for yourselves. 

Anyway, tell your friends, tell your neighbours, tell everyone you know (within reason, of course) to grab a copy of Salep and Ginger, available now from Amazon, either on Kindle or paperback from your usual Amazon e-store. Every sale will help support my wine habit and enable me to continue to live in the luxury (cough, cough) of which I have become accustomed. 

To those who do take the plunge teşekkür ederim (thank you)! If you loved it, please leave a review and hit up those stars on Amazon. I would appreciate it… and there’s a bottle of rakı on its way to you (there’s not really a bottle of rakı on its way to you. Sorry.).

_________________________________________________________________________

Loving this blog? Please help me build my audience and share with like-minded people who, like me, know that confidence is half the battle won and also love Turkey. You can also subscribe or like me on Facebook for all updates.

Gülek Kalesi, Take Two

You guys might remember this post from March when my friends and I took a road trip up to Gülek Kalesi. That road trip turned out to be a complete disaster, and we ended up drenched, discouraged and downright depressed, but at least we made it out alive. Just to recap it was a little touch and go at times on the single-laned, pot-hole ridden track disguised as a road with its thick fog, sharp turns and blind bends that in my mind would have been more befitting Bolivia’s “road of death” than this little mountain outside of Pozantı.

We recently made a second attempt at visiting the Kalesi, travelling the same road up into the Tarsus Mountains. Thankfully we didn’t get lost, but we also didn’t recognise much of anything either.

Case in point:

After some accommodating locals pointed us in the right direction (and practised their English on us), we finally found ourselves at the top of the mountain and at the historical site of Gulek Kalesi.

Yeah, I know, it doesn’t look like it was worth the effort … but it was!

As my friend Moe put it so succinctly, “this Byzantine, then Armenian, then Arab, then Ottoman and now tourist destination has sat on this mountaintop, casting a shadow on the village below for almost 2000 years. Yadda, yadda, we trip over that shit down here.”

I laughed so hard at this – but it’s all true.

We came for the photo, the famous ledge that hangs out over the mountain and looks straight down the otoban connecting Adana and Ankara. Sadly none our photos are as fabulous as those that are floating around on the internet, but the pride that we felt as we stood on that ledge was just as rewarding as if we had climbed Everest (and if felt like that at times as we traversed the craggy rocks to reach our destination). 

We did it!

For those of you based in or around Mersin it’s totally worth the trip (about 20 minutes outside of Tarsus) but do yourselves a favour and do it is summer or check your weather apps because shit gets real up in them there hills when the weather turns bad.

Oh and take water – lots of water!

_________________________________________________________________________

Loving this blog? Please help me build my audience and share with like-minded people who, like me, know you might need more than one trip up the mountain to reach the summit and also love Turkey. You can also subscribe or like me on Facebook for all updates.

You Need To Calm Down

Daughter has made me vow to not use her for any of my future blog posts as it is an invasion of her privacy. Pfft! 

So here’s a story about a person that lives in my home which for the sake of this post is called “She Who Shall Not Be Named”. 

She Who Shall Not Be Named is now seventeen years old and living her best teenage life. You already know she is a well-established şımarık and brings along with her all the drama that a şımarık can bring. The never-ending phone calls and text messages that go ALL NIGHT LONG. Ding, ding, ding! The gossip. The chaos. *squeals*

Since we returned from Oz, she has been out socialising every single day – and night. Camping. Beach. Music Festivals. Nightclubbing. Vomiting in gutters. All the usual teenage stuff. It’s exhausting trying to keep track of her. Anyway, school goes back on Monday (thank feck), so I’ve said it’s time to rein back her activities, get home at a reasonable hour and prepare for the new school year. 

Sooooo last night SWSNBN (I had to shorten it otherwise I’d be typing all fecking night) came home early at 8.30. Yah!! With her boyfriend! Sure, okay. That’s fine. Nothing wrong with the boyfriend visiting. My long-term boyfriend used to spend most of his nights on my parent’s sofa. He was never allowed to stay the night, but we got to hang out, watch videos on the old VHS player (how old am I anyway?) and have a pash when we thought my parents weren’t looking. Everyone was pretty happy with that arrangement.  

Well, it all went to shit as my BIL, and SWSNBN’s umca Vito was dead-set having a melt-down when he spotted SWSNBN rock up at ours on the back of boyfriend’s motorbike and subsequently TOOK THE BOYFRIEND UPSTAIRS!!! He immediately reported it to the BossMan (the oldest BIL) who scurried over to our apartment. 

Knock, knock.

“There is a guy in your apartment.”

“Yep.”

“The Turk is not here.”

“Well he doesn’t live here so nope he’s not here.”

“Would you like me to stay?”

“Hell to the no!”

Have we gone through a time warp? Is it 1948 here in Mersin? Come on, folks! I’m sitting on the fecking sofa across from them while they watch Riverdale. Nothing hard-core happening here!

SWSNBN was mortified. The BF didn’t seem too fussed. I’m sure he’s seen this kind of behaviour before. 

As Taylor Swift would say “You Need to Calm Down.”

_________________________________________________________________________

Loving this blog? Please help me build my audience and share with like minded people who, like me, have their very own şımarık love Türkiye. You can also subscribe or like me on Facebook for all updates.

Nemesis 3.0

It’s been a while since I have mentioned my nemesis. Just to remind you my nemesis has reincarnated a few times over the years but has always taken the form of a rather large and loud cock-a-fecking-doodle-doing rooster.

There was the large red cock that terrorised My Hurley Dog so much that he refused to go into the yard for a good month. That red cock ended up as a fricassee. Then there was the big black cock (what am I writing?) who made it his personal mission to ensure I never slept more than two hours a night. Now I don’t know what happened to him but when he disappeared there was nothing left of him but some feathers and a beak. I’m guessing an alien abduction was the most likely cause of his demise. Then there was a cute little brown cock. He was a sweet-looking little guy but despite his tiny stature, he had a hell of a set of pipes on him! I swear you could hear him in the city. My BIL mangaled his ass and I must say he was delicious.

The owner of all of these reincarnated nemeses in their various forms, previously referred to as Crazy Eyes, had been rather quiet of late. I hadn’t seen her, or her mother or those five unruly boys (no doubt the reason for her crazy eyes), but last weekend she reappeared in a big way and worse still she brought with her yet another big black cock. She has gotten much smarter though. She knew we entered under the cover of darkness and Seal team 6’d her roosters so she has re-housed her new black cock and his six bitches onto the roof of her house. The fecking roof! Now, this new black-feathered evil dinosaur is even closer to my window.

My nemesis started this morning at 3:36AM. Precisely. He hopped to the end of his coop (read that as Crazy Eye’s roof), stared into my opened window and screamed at the top of his lungs “HEY, JANEY? ARE YOU AWAKE? JANEY? HUH? JANEY? WAKE UP! WAKE THE FECK UP!”. I swear to you this is no lie.

As he is now mere feet from my window I immediately woke, moaned, cried a little, hugged My Hurley Dog and, when this ugly ass cock-a-doodle-dummy kept this shit up for a straight forty-five minutes I gave up on sleep and went and watched the news.

So I now have a mission (if I choose to accept it) and that mission is to find myself a big-ass rifle and, if I haven’t accidentally shot off my own head in the interim, I am going to sniper the shit out of that bastard cock-a-doodle-don’t!

I be hella grumpy when I don’t sleep.

_________________________________________________________________________

Loving this blog? Please help me build my audience and share with like minded people who, like me, have a nemesis and love Türkiye. You can also subscribe or like me on Facebook for all updates.