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How we got where we are in spite of missed opportunities!

About the author: 

Suzi Stembridge B.A. Hons (OPEN) M.C.I.J. was educated in North Wales. Her first job was as a Secretary to the manager of a travel agency in Huddersfield, it was headed by James Hanson who became Lord Hanson. Suzi was invited to visit his New York office off Fifth Avenue on a visit to the U.S. She did, but for reasons only known to youth when she returned she gave her notice and moved to London.

She was delighted to get a job in Bond Street, London with K.L.M. Then followed four years as an air-hostess in a charter company just as package holidays were developing.

This was followed with a job in motor-racing as secretary/PA/Courier which involved travelling to European Grands Prix running errands around the pits and paddock.  

She returned to the Pennine area of Yorkshire, where she was born, to start her first business “Girl Friday” which did what it said on the tin. Here a team of young women who would tackle whatever the clients wanted from Cordon Bleu dinner parties, secretarial jobs, child-care, marketing and promotions (a first PR company, before the term was created!) She developed a translation service within Girl Friday with the backing of a Director from Hansons but this was in its infancy when she sold the business when she became engaged to Simon Stembridge.

Simon had just returned from New York where he had been employed in The Commodore Hotel. But before he trained in the hotel business, and prior to that he was at agricultural college in Bedfordshire after being educated in Scotland.  They moved to the hills above Halifax, two children, Heidi and Oliver were born and as the children became teenagers Suzi enrolled with the Open University and began writing novels. Simon by this time was employed on the Yorkshire Post in Leeds as an editor. He developed an interest in photography and as the family travelled, particularly for family holidays to Greece, this came to the fore.

It became apparent to both Suzi and Simon that they were absorbing a great deal about Greek culture as they began to travel around wide areas of Greece and her islands. They were not surprised when Suzi was asked to write a brochure for small Greek tour operator. This led to Suzi selling holidays and her second company, Greco-file Ltd, a travel agency specialised in good Greek holidays, was born, followed by Filoxenia Ltd a specialised tour operator. As the approached retirement they sold the travel business and since then Suzi has concentrated on writing.

The rest is history as related by the memoirs: NO ORDINARY GREEK ODYSSEY.


Eleni, the young Greek bride’s first Christmas in Cheshire.

Excerpt from GREEK LETTERS VOLUME 2 It was with this marriage and Christmas that the family and their new mother began to bond together. Eleni Carr loved the tale, told by her husband, about how th…

Source: Eleni, the young Greek bride’s first Christmas in Cheshire.

“Pavlov’s First Christmas” brief extract from THE PUPPY WHO DIDN’T LIKE RAIN

I was born when the nights get dark very early; later the Persons tell me I was born on Halloween. I am very young when the Persons start talking about Christmas. These days-with-names seem to matt…

Source: “Pavlov’s First Christmas” brief extract from THE PUPPY WHO DIDN’T LIKE RAIN

“Pavlov’s First Christmas” brief extract from THE PUPPY WHO DIDN’T LIKE RAIN

I was born when the nights get dark very early; later the Persons tell me I was born on Halloween.

I am very young when the Persons start talking about Christmas. These days-with-names seem to matter to the Persons. They are always talking about Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or perhaps Sunday. Sunday seems very special, they all sit round a big long table and eat a lot of food, which always smells so good. I don’t know why they don’t give me any.

To be honest Christmas seems to get in the way of everything including me getting my ‘puppy sleep’. The Persons are so busy, rushing around, talking in a very excited way and wrapping everything up in coloured paper. But I am only eight weeks old at this stage so my story is going back a bit.

Then they bring a very long stick thing into the house. It has lots of other sticks sticking out of it. It’s the kind of thing I see outside covered in green spikey things. And the Persons bring it inside, with great difficulty, and some very loud voices. Uncle Olly holds it still while Gran-Daddy Person makes sure it stops wobbling. Then they rush about covering it with twinkly coloured things. Suddenly they press a switch and all the twinkly things light up and pretty sounds of music can be heard. It is beautiful and I want to look at it closely. But when I run up to it, all the Persons stop what they are doing and rush to pick me up. “No Pavlov, no, you must not go near the Christmas tree.”

So that is a Christmas tree! “If you are a good-boy Pavlov, there will be a parcel wrapped up for you under the Christmas tree on Christmas Day. ”I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about what they are saying. I am more interested in all the cooking that Groovy Granny is doing. She is always cooking and it always smells so good. “Christmas Pudding, Mince Pies, Christmas Cake, Pavlov,” says Groovy Granny, but I don’t know what she is talking about. “You can’t eat any of the Christmas fruits, Pavlov! Grapes and raisins are very poisonous to dogs, but you might be able to have some turkey on Christmas Day.”

What does poisonous mean? These Persons they have so many long words and they expect me to understand, but I do like it when they talk to me, it is really very nice because it makes me feel included.

“Christmas is very like Sunday lunch Pavlov,” says Mummy Person. “Except we have a really big Turkey on Christmas Day, instead of a roast chicken, but I think you will like it just as much! We will give you a little because, although you can’t have chocolate or any of the sweet things, you can have turkey and carrots.”

When the big day comes, Persons are excited from the moment they wake me up. Aunty Penny Person arrives with Arthur-little-person. She is carrying Arthur-little-person in her arms. To be frank that is also where I stay for most of the day, in Mummy Person’s arms. Unless they put me into my dog-house-crate, which seems to be an awful lot of the time. There is paper and ribbons everywhere, the lights are twinkling on the long stick which is called a Christmas tree. I would love to be running around in all things over the floor.

I think Mummy Person realises this and gives me a parcel of my own. I tear off all the loose wrapping, as you do, and inside is a lovely soft ball with a squeak inside. I am going to be able to drive all the Persons mad, wag a tails! Christmas dinner is more than Kibble good! Why they only give me such a little bit is beyond me.

Buy Now: THE PUPPY WHO DIDN’T LIKE RAIN by Suzi Stembridge, drawings by Anna Falkonakis:

Christmas in the Peloponnese just before the end of the Greek War of Independence.

An extract from BEFORE VOLUME 1 of the GREEK LETTERS QUARTET by Suzi Stembridge, available in paperback at Waterstones and independent booksellers and from Amazon, and e-book: As the year of 1827 d…

Source: Christmas in the Peloponnese just before the end of the Greek War of Independence.



templars_promoThe third volume of my trilogy based on the life of Viscountess Ermengarde of Narbonne, THE VISCOUNTESS AND THE TEMPLARS, will soon be available through Amazon and other online booksellers. 

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THE GLASS CLASS A critique for my novel set in Calderdale, Snowdonia & Greece

Source: THE GLASS CLASS A critique for my novel set in Calderdale, Snowdonia & Greece




FiVE STAR REVIEW by Robert Egby: Bright Daffodil Yellow opens with aging former airline pilot Gerald Duncan posing as a Greek Cypriot innkeeper named Stephanos in the delightful romantic harbor town of Kyrenia of the early 1970s. Colonial Cyprus has long gone and the Turkish forces have not yet arrived while Gerald is lusting after a young English girl named Maeve. From the very start the reader knows Duncan is in trouble, pursued by relatives of former loves and indeed a marriage. As the Turks invade, Duncan flees the Island and in the turmoil adopts another identity in England. One feels like laughing at this hopeless creature as he earnestly seeks the freedom of obscurity only to survive an Underground railway disaster and be thrust into the exposing spotlight of national television. Duncan’s great ambition is be a loving parent for the two sons he fathered by two different women — and stay free. It’s a wonderful but fascinating and taunting story, well written and seemingly reminiscent of Lawrence Durrell who also lived on Cyprus in another age, frequented Kyrenia (Bitter Lemons) and wrote of the loves and agonies of men and women in The Alexandria Quartet. The author’s knowledge of Cyprus and the English Lake District is highly evident, plus she has the ability to portray characters with deep meaningful words. This along with the peculiar, unpredictable and pathetic exploits of a freedom seeker keeps one turning the pages to discover this Romeo’s fate. Incidentally, his encounter with a Harley Street plastic surgeon is classic. A truly delightful saga.


PAPERBACK EDITION: GREEK LETTERS VOL 1 now available at leading bookshops ISBN 978-1-78507-021-1

Over the next few months I hope to have all the eight books of the series JIGSAW published in paperback. The series comprises: GREEK LETTERS QUARTET; VOLUME 1 ‘BEFORE’ ISBN 978-1-78507-021-1 is the first to be published in paperback; VOLUME 2 ‘AND AFTER’ will be published before Christmas 2014 and in the New Year 2015 VOLUME 3 ‘THE EYES HAVE IT’.

The fourth volume of the Quartet is also the last of the whole series JIGSAW (or it could be the first, because this, the most contemporary of the whole series, is the one novel I would recommend if a reader said they only wanted to read one book of the series.) GREEK LETTERS VOLUME 4 is entitled MUCH MORE THAN HURT. The Quartet begins in the early 19th century and concludes in the early 21st century.

All the books follow fortunes of Samuel and his descendants, particularly in the later books, with Rosalind his great-great-granddaughter, her son Andrew and their friends and lovers. The books are all partly set in Greece, Europe, London, Northern England and Wales and the Lake District.

The second series COMING OF AGE is a trilogy but with the thriller written under a pseudo-name becomes a second quartet. VOLUME 1 CAST A HOROSCOPE, the air-hostess Rosalind makes one huge mistake in the early 1960s, which will impact on the family as much as Samuel’s 19th century deeds. Greece before mass tourism and West Yorkshire are the main locations. VOLUME 2 a thriller set mainly in Corfu, West Yorkshire and Greenwich is published under a pseudonym. VOLUME 3 BRIGHT DAFFODIL YELLOW slips the mold by being initially set in Cyprus in 1974 moving via London to the Lake District. VOLUME 4 THE GLASS CLASS is a heart rending tale set in West Yorkshire and North Wales, a touching account of a marriage of love and of the damage of alcoholism.

All the books are available as a Kindle edition on Amazon, with Greek Letters also on Kobo.

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