Barbara is a BBC trained script and screenwriter, an author, composer and lyricist.
'Barbara's writing is bold, original and enormous fun. In her screenplay 'Cowboy Girls' she cleverly puts the female at the very epi-centre of the traditionally male genre of the Western.'

Anthony Minghella, Oscar winning
Screenwriter/Producer and Director

Bad Advice

‘Bad Advice’ By Barbara Jane Mackie

In ‘Bad Advice’, the third of the Alpha O’ Mara books, we meet Alpha, Will and family, a year later.  Alpha and Will have been happily reunited but in ‘Bad Advice’, their off-on marriage moves into a new phase:  Alpha wants ‘time out’, time to breath, time to travel, time to be Alpha … and Will isn’t happy.   We see in ‘Bad Advice’, that Will has withdrawn again, burying himself in his work, his life full of money worries – but Alpha wants some action and being an Alpha-female, we see Alpha ignoring all good advice from the ghost of her dead father, Raymond, and packing her bags to travel again.   And where is all this  ‘bad advice’ coming from?  From Geraldine,  the ghost of Alpha’s dead mother, a champagne-swigging painter, who urges her daughter to do the wild thing and live her youth once more!

‘Bad Advice’ – Synopsis

Alpha O’Mara has published her second novel but she is feeling restless.  She is missing her beloved France.  She is also missing her husband, Will, who, hugely busy with his work as an architect.  And Will has started to withdraw again.  The passion is seeping out of the marriage again.  When Alpha’s agent, Troy, tells her that she is being sent on an assignment by a high profile magazine to see how a British woman will survive in a Mountain top village near Nimes for six months, Alpha jumps at the chance.  She has been feeling stir-crazy and needs a break from Will.  This will be a series of Magazine articles that she could turn into her third book!

Will, Dex and Maisie aren’t so thrilled and Will’s Isle of Wight Architects practice is hectic and he needs Alpha, the writer-at-home, to help look after the family.  But Alpha is feeling selfish.  She needs this alone time, this me-time, this she-time.  ‘Wobble’, her second novel has been published successfully and she has been working flat out.  She deserves some fun time and this is paid fun time!  Will and the kids, can fly out and see her after a couple of months and enjoy the long summer holidays together.  Alpha runs for her plane to Nimes.  Nimes was where Alpha spent her ‘Gap year’ in France, sitting in cafes, smoking, snogging and sneering.  At forty-seven, Alpha feels young again – wild, reckless and as sexy as hell!

Alpha settles into her rented house, an old Water-Mill in a village outside Nimes.  It’s enchanting!  She starts befriending the local ‘barflies.’

There is Carlos, a flamboyant former Spanish Gigolo, a jewellery maker unhappily married to local hairdresser;  Mitzi, a former Parisienne model, the powerful village ‘earth mother’, running the local bar and the village; and Jacques, a guitar-playing carpenter from Brest, a dark, handsome and moody man in his forties.  Jacques is not long divorced but looking for love …

Word in the village is that the mysterious Jacques has done prison time but no one will say on what charge.  Alpha starts to play ‘sleuth’ and dig deeper, struggling to resist the power of Jacques’ charms.  Carlos, the fiery and flirtatious Spaniard, is making Alpha’s a bejewelled necklace.  Alpha has been instructed to write about the French and keep a professional distance this time but Carlos is very sexy and such fun!  Mitzi, the bar owner and powerful ‘village mother’, gets insanely jealous of the male attention Alpha is getting, and raises opposition to this ‘outsider’, poking her nose into peoples’ affairs.  Troy becomes highly anxious about Alpha’s writing assignment and follows her on Twitter …

The Mill has a surprise guest: Geraldine, the ghost of Alpha’s dead mother.  A flamboyant, painter with a love of pink champagne, a rogue of a woman in her early sixties, Geraldine offers Alpha bad advice on life and love, urging her daughter to start afresh in France.  Lou-Lou, Alpha’s farmer from Chalez turns up.  The lambing season is over as is his marriage!  He helps Alpha with jobs around the mill – he has missed his ‘Alfa Romeo.’ Lou-Lou offers Alpha advice: stay away from village men.

Alpha wishes Lou-Lou would leave: along with her Mother’s ghost, Geraldine.  They are both cramping her style and when Lou-Lou starts to openly dress as a woman and go out in the village, tongue’s start wagging! Lou-Lou is defiant: he is a man in the day and a woman at night and gradually, this warm-hearted Transvestite farmer wins over hearts and minds – much to the annoyance of the controlling Mitzi …

Raymond, the ghost of Alpha’s father, pops up and as Alpha’s dead parents start to bicker, give conflicting advice and creating merry hell, Alpha wonders if she shouldn’t return home to the UK.  She has a husband and children, after all!

Carlos, unhappy about Lou-Lou’s arrival, and seeing this warm-hearted farmer as a rival to Alpha’s affections, challenges Lou-Lou to a duel.  The whole village turn out to watch a candle-lit, midnight wrestling match in the woods!  Jacques turns up at the Mill to drunkenly declare his love for Alpha and it transpires he was in prison for GBH.  Terrified, Alpha realises she has got in far too deep.

The villagers, urged on by the powerful Mitzi, turn against Alpha and when her agent Troy arrives from Brighton to rescue her from a mob-lynching, Lou-Lou, in full Transvestite gear is holding off a braying mob! The next day, the ever popular Lou-Lou heals all wounds and now becoming a popular new member of the village, Lou-Lou decides he will stay and run for Mayor.  He likes it here!  Alpha says her farewells, she has her Magazine rticle on village life now and is ready to return!

Will now calls Alpha to meet him at her favourite Café in Nimes.  Under a moonlit sky in Nimes,  Alpha sees Will waiting and remembers where her heart really lies.