GUEST POST – THERESA JACOBS

It’s great to meet another author who is not stuck in one genre only. If I thought I hopped around from one topic to another I am a long way behind this week’s guest.

Hi, my name is Theresa Jacobs and what can I say other than I love to write!

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And I have a crazy imagination. Soon I’ll have enough varied genres written that I’ll have a book for everyone.

Seriously…horror? Got it.

Sci-fi? Yup.

Laidback phycological lit? Sure – though that one is hard to classify because it’s set in space, it has a touch of romance and aliens.

 

Campy horror-action? You’re covered.

Oh, serial killer-detective. YES!

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This is Theresa’s latest book.  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B088SM5K15/

Being handsome has its advantages and affords him easy access to people’s homes. They quickly learn you can not judge a book by its cover when they pay the ultimate price with their lives. He didn’t ask to look the way he does, nor to lose his loving mother at such a young age. Dealing with unwanted memories, he will find a way to erase his past by cleansing the city as he sees fit.

And, as they say, ‘that’s not all’.

And now a YA literature is on the way.

I won’t be stopping there either, the ideas are abundant and I’m game if you are. If you’re looking for fast-paced, interesting, yet light easy reading, you’re in the right place. Pop into my website, check out the merch, or my blog, or my movie – yup I said that too – and don’t forget to subscribe for updates.

See you over there, Theresa

https://theresajcbs.wixsite.com/authorpage

Thank you for being my guest this week, Theresa and if you are a writer and would like to be a guest, please leave a comment below, or you can pm me on Facebook.

Lucinda

 

GUEST POST TOM BENSON

You will be hearing more from me about Tom Benson in the next few weeks as he’s putting a book of short stories together and he’s included one of mine.

I don’t think this is Tom’s first guest post, as we have been virtual friends for years and it’s thanks to him I have a web site. He helped me so much in the early days.

TOM BENSON AUTHOR PIC 6

Soldier, Retailer, Author

Saying that you spend your time telling tales is akin to admitting you have an illness.

Hello … my name is Tom … and I’m a … writer.”

Hello, Tom.

Yes, it isn’t easy to be open at first, but when a writer’s work earns a few great reviews, it lends legitimacy. No longer are you one of those strange creatures who spend their time living in another world. You are an author, envied by others. You’re earning money from months of toil—perhaps not a lot, but for authors like me, the real reward is knowing from the positive feedback that you have entertained.

There is a widespread notion that writing is an exclusive, even exotic activity. Still, like many things, you can join the club if you’re prepared to put in the time and effort to learn your craft, plus, of course, accept criticism of, as well as credit for your work.

Consider a cake with elaborate decorations. Anyone can gather ingredients and lay them out on a clean surface. It’s the choices of quantity, how those items are blended, and how the mixture is processed, which creates the basic cake. Only with the foundation can the decoration be added; the edible ingredients with which will make it appealing.

Whether it be a short story or novel, there is a sense of fulfillment when you start with a blank screen and with god-like power, create a world from imagination. It must be a believable world with characters, dialogue, and imagery, supported by narrative, a plot, and subplots.

An author can make a book sound exotic. Among my published titles are Ten Days in Panama and Amsterdam Calling.

Continuing with international intrigue, one of my next books will be Czech Mate. In crime thrillers, I can offer such titles as A Taste of Honey set in the USA, or the Beyond The Law trilogy set mainly in Scotland.

I left Glasgow in 1969 aged seventeen and headed to England to join the British Army. While in training, I thought it might well be a short career. During the next twenty-three years, I patrolled streets in Belfast, manned a helicopter-borne camera over Londonderry, and operated a radio in the military train travelling through East Germany from West Berlin. I worked radios all over West Germany, trained young recruits in the UK, and served throughout the first Gulf War.

At the age of forty, I tackled fresh challenges when I became a retail manager. After six months of training, once again, I was in a uniform. I wore a badge and had a team of people who, sometimes with a bit of gentle persuasion performed as I asked.

I changed jobs a few times, going from food and supermarkets to car accessories and then on to stationery which is where I finally settled. Pens, pencils, paper, binders, staplers, punches, printers, laminators and much more besides and I was happy at work for the first time in a long time. As an artist and calligrapher, I was at home. After gaining experience, I spent five years roaming around the UK. I opened new stores and closed failing stores. I had responsibility for hiring, firing, training, disciplining and developing staff, so I enjoyed my second career, which lasted twenty-five years.

I’d always enjoyed reading, and while still in retail, my thoughts turned to a personal dream—to write a book. I’d tried to produce my military memoirs back in the mid-90s, but the writing was awful. By 2010, having read a lot more, I figured I was ready to try creative writing again. I first read several textbooks on the subject.

My poetry online got lots of good reviews. I moved on to short stories and won prizes, both national and international. My first novel was a crime thriller, but the literary creativity was like a drug, I had a burning desire to write for hours every day, at every opportunity.

It was several years and a few books down the line when I revisited those military memories of mine, and I tried again. I describe the tale as fact-based-fiction, but A Life of Choice is a five-ebook series based on my military career. In effect, I researched it over many years but wrote about it only when I had earned my stripes in writing. The story is my top-selling title.

My latest experiment isn’t doing too badly, my post-apocalyptic survival story Light at The End. Thanks to some great feedback, it’s now the first book in a trilogy.

Perhaps I’m biased in believing that to write convincingly you must have experienced highs and lows in life. I always gave my best effort as a soldier and retailer. I still do.

Tom Benson–author.

Now is a great time to pick up one of Tom’s books as he’s reduced them all to $/£0.99 during the Covid crisis – links below:

Website: www.tombensonauthor.com

Blog: www.tombensoncreative.com

Ten Days in Panama: mybook.to/Ten_Days_in_Panama
Amsterdam Calling: mybook.to/Amsterdam_Calling
A Taste of Honey: mybook.to/A_Taste_of_Honey
Light at The End: mybook.to/Light_at_The_End
Beyond The Law – Box Set: mybook.to/BTL_The_Trilogy
A Life of Choice – Box Set: mybook.to/ALOC_BoxSet

Thank you, Tom.

If you would like to be a guest on my blog, post in the comments below, or drop me a message on Facebook.

Lucinda

GUEST POST CALEB PIRTLE III

I was really pleased when Caleb accepted my invitation to be a guest here. He has consistently supported my work. Each new book that comes out, he’s promoted it on his page. I was especially thrilled when he named me as one of the Top Ten Writers of Women’s Adventure You Need To Be Reading.  And added ‘Her books are filled with action, intrigue, adventure, and danger’. With an accolade like that, I can’t wait to share news of Caleb’s latest book with you.

You know that warm, fuzzy feeling you get when a reader likes your books? I’m suffering a shock feeling right now, as I’ve just researched Caleb and he’s an author of note and then lots, lots more. I’ve included his bio below so please take a look at that too. He was far too modest to include that in the blurb he sent me.

caleb author pic

Lost Side of an Orphan’s Moon was published last month – I’ve downloaded it just now. This is Caleb’s description.

This is a story that has haunted me for a long time. It’s true. It happened during the East Texas Oil boom in my hometown of Kilgore. After all of these years, the story has finally found life, forming the backbone of my new novel, Lost Side of An Orphan’s Moon, the third book in The Boom Town Saga.

It’s historical. It’s a mystery. As I wrote about the book:  Who is the small boy who stepped off the train with a paper note attached to his coat that said: My name is Ollie Porter. My daddy is Oliver Porter. He works in the oilfields. Does anyone know where he is? Is the boy connected to the fancy dancer or, perhaps, the killer? Or is he just a waif in search of a home? 

The true story is just as mysterious. The boy was a fresh face in the midst of strangers, a new face chilled by the rains, and the rains showed no sign of ever stopping. He stepped from the train, lost and alone. He had been that way for a long time. He was only nine years old.

I found his story on the back page of a Kilgore newspaper printed in 1932. The pages were yellowed. The words were fading. The story had already faded. The story was gone. And I grieved for the boy.

The newspaper story was a short one. One column. One paragraph. Small headline. An afterthought, maybe. Newspaper layouts always had a little hole from time to time.

Some reporters filled it.

He wrote of a frightened little boy who shyly stepped off the train and into mud that was piled ankle-deep on Kilgore’s streets.   On the boy’s jacket was a tag, and on it someone had written the lad’s name and the name of his daddy.

His fare had paid his way to Kilgore. He would go no farther. And he had no idea where to do next, surrounded by strangers and faces he had never seen before.

His mama had packed him up like a suitcase and sent him for hundreds of miles down an endless railroad track to find his daddy. His daddy was working in the oilfield. That’s all his mama knew.

His daddy could feed him. She couldn’t. She was penniless and destitute. The boy’s only hope was to find his daddy.

Did he? I never knew, and the missing pieces haunt me.

In Lost Side of an Orphan’s Moon, I write the fictional account of a lost boy on an oilfield town’s street. In every piece of fiction, there is always a nugget of truth.

caleb pic 1

Buy link:  https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B088KV1VFK

About Caleb Pirtle III

Caleb Pirtle III lives in the present but prefers the past. He is the author of more than eighty books, including four noir thrillers in the Ambrose Lincoln series: Secrets of the Dead, Conspiracy of Lies, Night Side of Dark, and Place of Skulls. Secrets and Conspiracy are also audiobooks on audible.com. All of the novels are set against the haunting backdrop of World War II. His Lonely Night to Die features three noir thrillers in one book, following the exploits of the Quiet Assassin, a rogue agent who has fled the CIA. He takes the missions no one else wants. He is expendable, and he knows it.
His award-winning Boom Town Saga includes Back Side of a Blue Moon, the story of a con man who comes to a dying East Texas town during the Great Depression, promises to drill for oil, and falls in love with a beautiful woman who just may have killed her husband. In Bad Side of a Wicked Moon, the lawless have come to the oil patch, and justice has left town.
Pirtle also wrote Friday Nights Don’t Last Forever, the story of a high school quarterback whose life spins into turmoil during his entanglements with illegal college recruiting, and Last Deadly Lie is the chilling story of the gossip and scandal that threatens to break a church apart in the midst of greed, jealousy and murder.
Pirtle is a graduate of The University of Texas in Austin and became the first student at the university to win the National William Randolph Hearst Award for feature writing. Several of his books and his magazine writing have received national and regional awards.
Pirtle has written two teleplays: Gambler V: Playing for Keeps, a mini-series for CBS television starring Kenny Rogers, Loni Anderson, Dixie Carter, and Mariska Hargitay, and The Texas Rangers, a TV movie for John Milius and TNT television. He wrote two novels for Berkeley based on the Gambler series: Dead Man’s Hand and Jokers Are Wild. He wrote the screenplay for one motion picture, Hot Wire, starring George Kennedy, Strother Martin, and John Terry.
Pirtle’s narrative nonfiction, Gamble in the Devil’s Chalk is a true-life book about the fights and feuds during the founding of the controversial Giddings oilfield and From the Dark Side of the Rainbow, the story of a woman’s escape from the Nazis in Poland during World War II. His coffee-table quality book, XIT: The American Cowboy, became the publishing industry’s third bestselling art book of all time.
Pirtle was a newspaper reporter for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and served ten years as the travel editor for Southern Living Magazine. He was editorial director for a Dallas custom publisher for more than twenty-five years.
He and his wife, Linda, live in the rolling, timbered hills of East Texas. She is the author of two cozy mysteries.
I am so proud to have you as my guest this week Caleb.
Lucinda

GUEST POST REBECCA BRYN

I am a massive fan of this week’s guest and I can only shout GET HER BOOKS!  I’ve read all but one, I have her latest on pre-order, and I’m thrilled I asked her to be my guest this week as I see one book I’ve not read – how did that slip through the net?  Over to Rebecca in her own words.

ruth author pic

Thank you, Lucinda, for letting me loose on your blog. According to my document recovery pane, this version was created on January 1st 1601 at 1 o’clock in the morning. I don’t remember being up at 1am, but it was New Year, and the 17th century was pretty boisterous, so maybe…

As you know, I live in West Wales with my husband and rescue dog and love walking and painting in watercolour. Living close to the sea, painting it in all its moods has become second nature. I love the wild beaches and moorlands of Pembrokeshire.

I began writing some fifteen years ago, although I didn’t published my first novel until 2014. So much has happened since then, I can’t believe it has only been six years. I write mainly historical fiction though I’ve dabbled in mystery and post-apocalyptic. I’ve always loved history and am fascinated by the way our past has shaped our present. At school, I studied British history, mainly from the Plantagenet kings to James II of England although the Anglo-Saxon era and the Tudor period were my favourites. As I’ve grown older, it’s been more recent history, especially social history that has drawn me in. It began with me deciding to try to discover if there was any truth in a family story about a poacher who murdered a gamekeeper and was transported to Van Diemen’s Land, and my addiction grew from there.

The tale about the family my mother called ‘loose-knickered, murdering thieves’ was true, the research fascinating, and it spawned an epic love story set in 1841, the trilogy For Their Country’s Good.

From there, I researched my grandfather’s army career and his own love story. He and his horse were sent to Egypt and Palestine during WW1. Again, the research blew me away, taught me much about myself, and gave his wartime mementos – his army fork and two cowrie shells that I treasure – a special significance. The Dandelion Clock was born.

RUTH 1

Not wanting to ignore my father’s family, I researched for Kindred and Affinity and a marriage that went against church law and risked damnation to eternal hell. Surely that must have been true love for people of strong faith to risk damnation?

With any research for a novel, you discover a lot you didn’t suspect and much that shocks – that’s the joy of writing for me, learning something new that increases my understanding of who I am and how my world got where it is. In the time periods about which I’ve written, social injustice, the inequality and lack of rights of women, poverty, and oppression were subjects so ingrained in the periods I couldn’t ignore them, so it’s no surprise that my stories embrace these everyday challenges of the ordinary working people who built Britain by the sweat of their labour. I don’t write about the aristocracy, or royalty, or those in power, just about the lives and loves of the life blood of the country: the farm labourers, the boot makers, the lace makers, the common soldier, the women interred in Auschwitz, the girl left at home looking after the children, the poacher, the doctor, the schoolmistress, the quarry worker, and most recently, the women chainmakers of the Black Country.

Touching the Wire was inspired by a TV news report about Nazi war criminals and my latest book, The Chainmakers’ Daughter, was similarly inspired by a TV article on Flog It!

Can I tell you a bit about the chainmakers? In the early 1900s, women, and girls from the age of about four, full-time from the age of ten, made dog chains, cow chains, and horse traces working in backyard forges. They lived in abject poverty, literally on the bread line as bread was all they could afford. They worked ten or twelve hours a day to earn about four shillings a week – that’s 20p in decimal money. It was enough to buy about twelve to sixteen loaves of bread a week depending on whether the bread was at summer or winter prices. Can you image working some fifty-four to sixty hours for a dozen loaves of bread? I found that shocking. The Chainmakers’ Daughter is Rosie’s story, a girl who joins the fight against the rich chain masters for a legal minimum wage that ended in one of the most important strikes of the 20th century and paved the way for the National Minimum Wage that we enjoy today.

“Some make chains. Some wear them.” Rosie Wallace survives on three slices of bread a day. Scarred by flame and metal, she makes her life as her ancestors have: making chains for the rich chain master, Matthew Joshua. There is no hope for a better future. No hope even for a green vegetable on the table. Her life will be making chains, marrying Jack, the boy she loves, and babies every year. But when an assault by the chain master’s son threatens the very fabric of her tenuous existence, Rosie finds the courage and the reason to fight for her very life and the lives of her family and neighbours. Set in the first decade of the 20th century The Chainmakers’ Daughter is a haunting portrayal of abject poverty, ever-present death, and modern day slavery.

This lovely review was sent me from one of my beta readers, Rachael Wright, author of the Captain Savva Series.

Rebecca Bryn’s The Chainmakers’ Daughter is not only the most vivid and haunting portrayal of the 20th century struggle for workers and women’s rights but it is also timely and a mirror to our own modern struggles. Bryn’s novel is to be lauded for its attention to historical detail and its sharp depiction of true and crippling poverty but it is first and foremost a love story. Rosie Wallace is a woman both out of time and very much in time. Bryn has managed to produce a heroine that is recognizable as a feminist to modern readers and yet not a unicorn to the early 1900s. The Chainmakers’ Daughter is quite simply one of the most compelling and haunting works I have read in years. Characters, vices, and even steel comes alive under Bryn’s fingers and the chain of love she creates is nothing short of miraculous.

To say this made my day is an understatement.

The Chainmakers’ Daughter is available as an e-book now for pre-order at http://mybook.to/ChainmakersDaughter and will be released on June 28th 2020. It will also be available as a paperback.

ruth painting

In a moment of madness, I also wrote an illustrated step-by-step how-to book, Watercolour Seascapes as my alter-ego, Ruth Coulson. Available in paperback only.

Books by Rebecca Bryn: all as e-books and paperbacks.

Historical fiction

http://mybook.to/TouchingtheWire – the women and children of Auschwitz and a man who tied to save them. – ‘Outstanding storytelling.’ IAN Book of the Year 2019. Also available as an audiobook.

http://mybook.to/DandelionClock – war changes everything. Lovers torn apart by WW1. Can their love survive the horrors of war and five years apart? – ‘Totally compelling and unmissable.’

For Their Country’s Good series – three young poachers are convicted of killing a gamekeeper and exiled to Van Diemen’s Land. Ella is the girl who wouldn’t be left behind. – ‘Truly exceptional trilogy from one of the finest writers of our time.’

http://mybook.to/OnDifferentShores

http://mybook.to/BeneathStrangeStars

http://mybook.to/OnCommonGround

and the box set of For Their Country’s Good

http://mybook.to/FTCGboxset

http://mybook.to/KindredandAffinity – When the man you love marries the sister you hate. Annie Underwood lets faith and family bigotry get in the way of love, and lets Edwin go to prevent escalating their families’ war and to save his heart. She is distraught when she loses him to her estranged sister who has no such qualms. ‘Gritty and realistic.’

Mystery

http://mybook.to/SilenceoftheStones – Can Alana discover the secret written in the stones before her daughter is sacrificed by an eccentric old lady? Perjury, wrongful imprisonment, and a tissue of lies. – ‘Beautifully choreographed tale of murder, deceit, and redemption.’

Post-apocalyptic

http://getbook.at/WhereHopeDares – When a young healer is kidnapped to fulfil an ancient prophecy, her husband heads into peril to rescue her and discovers that prophecy can be dangerous. ‘Holy cow!! – What an amazing book.’

Non-fiction by Ruth Coulson

http://mybook.to/WatercolourSeascapes – a how-to book with six detailed step-by-step demonstrations to paint seascapes in watercolour. Tackles the difficult subject of using masking fluid. ‘A lovely book. The techniques work well.’

Website: www.rebeccabrynblog.wordpress.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/rebecca.bryn.novels

Twitter: www.twitter.com/rebeccabryn1

IAN: www.independentauthornetwork.com/rebecca-bryn

Amazon: http://author.to/RebeccaBryn

Thank you for reading, and if you pick up one of my books, I’d love to know what you think of it.

Thank you so much Rebecca for being my guest this week and for such an interesting chat.

If you are an author and would like a guest spot, then leave a comment below, or pm me via Facebook, or through my email, and you can find this on my website.

Lucinda

GUEST POST – RAY WILCOX

There are many of us living here on the Costa Blanca who are writing books. I first met Ray when we shared a table together at a local Christmas charity fair. Since then we’ve kept in touch and attended book launches and plan to travel to Valencia to give a presentation to students about books and writing. (When the lockdown allows). We both worked on the same local radio show until the owners returned to the UK. Ray’s books are based on his years working for Her Majesty’s Prison Service.  – In his own words.

RAY WILCOX PIC 1

I was born in the early hours of 17 July 1949 in Peckham, South London. My early years seem to go from bad to worse and I would describe my family situation as broken. I´m presently writing about those early years and hope to let it see the light of day before too long.

My working like began in 1965 at Daily Mirror newspapers in High Holborn. I left for pastures new at Charles Barker Recruitment in 1973. In 1975 I joined HM Prison Service and it turned out to be my life´s work.

When I retired in 2005 I was a governor. During the 30 plus years, I had worked in 25 prison establishments as well as HQ. I met some incredible people, both staff and prisoners.

RAY WILCOX PIC 2

We moved to our new villa in Spain one week after I retired, a decision we have never regretted.

I have been writing poetry since 1965 and decided to have a go at writing a book in 2010. A creative writing course put me on the right track.

My first novel Lock-Down Blues was published in 2014. It was a crime thriller based in a prison in NE England. My second novel Unlock These Hands was published in 2018 and is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats. I still have copies of both books. I´m presently working on a third which will complete the trilogy.

We love to travel the world and are happy when we return home to Spain.

You can contact Ray on his web site www.ray-wilcox.com    

Ray’s books are one of the few paperbacks I have on my shelves. Look him up.

 

YET ANOTHER VIRUS BLOG

I have read so many posts and laughed at dozens of cartoons about this lockdown. So, let’s add a bit more.

chess-1

I mentioned in my last blog I felt guilty. Yes, I do because I loved the serenity. The guilt comes from knowing that so many people out there are suffering the loss of loved ones, or are panic-stricken about work, or losing their businesses.

Huddled away here in our little rabbit hutch in Spain we have avoided all that. While I may worry about the future of our pension, for now we can cope.

LAST LOO ROLL

The peace and quiet were exquisite – though one friend did mention that life was very little different for me as I am constantly welded to my laptop. No planes flew overhead, no traffic on the road and although we are rural since they re-tarred the road between the villages the noise has gone up.

virus cartoon stay with girlfriend

As the figures of Corona Virus case rose alarmingly in Spain, I heard from people I’d not spoken to in years. They wanted to make sure we were still alive.

Here, we were in total lockdown and the Spanish were fantastic. Only one person allowed out just to the nearest supermarket and pharmacy, up to twice a week. No couples or families. No walks outside, except 50 metres if you had a dog to exercise. I saw one fantastic clip of a lady lowering her pooch swathed in a sling from her third-floor balcony.

It’s a long time since I’ve seen such creativity. There was singing and other entertainment from balconies, and the police and ambulance vehicles drove around with lights flashing and horns blasting to entertain the children who were locked in – especially on birthdays. Police even serenaded residents from the streets.

The police also found time to erect numerous roadblocks and there were plenty of fines. If you were turned back, you dared not argue. You do not mess with the Guardia Civil.

We found limited supplies in the shops, but managed to get everything we needed and we saw no panic buying.

lockdown horoscope

Slowly we are being released, but slowly. We have moved from Phase Zero to Phase One and can drive within the province and some shops are open. Social distancing and masks are obligatory, and the size of the fines encourage me to obey even if my glasses fog up and I can’t see where I’m going. We were told we were going into Phase 2 last week, but this has now been rescinded.

There has been a sense of camaraderie which may not be accurate, as our Spanish is too poor to understand the probable infighting among the politicians.

Despite it all, the local people have remained cheerful and upbeat, even shocking DH as they identified him as eligible to go to the head of the queue outside the supermarket. I have mentioned to him he does not look 21 any longer, but not sure he believes me. He’s busy growing the lockdown beard which will come off, he tells me, the day ‘The State of Alarm’ is over. It’s now been extended until June 9th.

restaurant

Having no idea how long this was all going to last, I planned to learn fluent Spanish, de-clutter the house – spring clean throughout and plan the rest of my year.

What did I actually do? What else but write, write and write some more for most of my waking moments except for three short outings since March 13th. I launched my latest book last week, though it was more a slide out, and I’m 12 words into the next one.

We are due out to supper next week and it appears a momentous occasion.

I’m a bit of a cynic in that I think we will not learn too much from all this. It will be too easy to slip back into the old ways although some people will prefer to work from home, I guess. And with the new apps for conferencing, what a lot of time and travel that would save. But then it’s fun to jump on a plane isn’t it? You feel more important than sitting in bunny slippers talking to some CEO on the other side of the world. I’m not sure man has learned very much since he was off hunting mammoths.

Have you read any of my books? If not why not grab as it’s free.

https://www.books2read.com/u/bw8May

And if you enjoy it, check out the others here  author.to/Lucinda

Till next time, take care and stay safe.

Since my free edition of WordPress doesn’t allow videos, I can only post this link here. I laughed till I cried – it may strike a chord with you if you remember the Ladybird Books in school. https://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/~jac22/The_Ladybird_Book_of_COVID-19.pdf

 

SO GUILTY

Yes, I’m ashamed since once I begin a project, I’m like a dog with a bone and I don’t let go.

For example, in 1984, when I wrote my first radio script, I had a broadcast time to deliver, and I made it – just. Since then, I’ve never missed one.

During this lockdown, I made my own deadline for getting the next book written and launched. I’ve made it, though it was hard. Like many of us, I just wanted to binge on Netflix and chomp chocolate.

But I set a goal of 3,000 words a day and stuck to it.

Now, in my bumbling fashion, I’m trying to get the word out.

So, why do I feel guilty?

I have not blogged for ages. I’ve promised to write about my travels to Australia and India and I have all the stuff to hand, but I’ve yet to find the energy. Any spare? Please send it over.

The new book?  It’s a sequel to A Year in the Life of Leah Brand.

A gentle, meek, housewife is driven to the edge of madness as objects in the house begin to mysteriously move around. Her best friend Andrea was there for her in the dark times, but then they lost touch.

A Year in the Life of Andrea Coe follows straight on, and although it can be read as a standalone, it makes more sense to read them in order.

“How well do you know your best friend?” What was the attraction between a quiet, insecure housewife and an outrageous, confident, outspoken woman who lived life to the full? Was she all she seemed to be?

Belinda makes an appearance, several in fact – readers told me she was a favourite character. Still sassy, still raiding the fridge and possibly into something a lot more serious.

So, does Andrea have a hidden agenda and if so, what is it?

I’ll be back soon and that’s a promise – guest posts and my travelogue. Just give me a few weeks to get my breath back while I try to tell about 7 billion people, (I’ll settle for 6 billion) that I have a new psychological thriller out.

Take care and stay safe.

 

 

 

LUCINDA’S BEST BOOKS 2019 (4)

The last of my 12 books (from a total of 100) for 2019. Remember they are in no particular order and I would be hard put to choose one above all the others.

THE MYSTERY OF JULIA EPISOPA by  John I Rigoli

THE MYSTERY OF JULIA EPISOPA

I have a weakness for historical fiction books set especially around the early Christian era. There is an aura of mystery surrounding the Vatican and the secrets of the early church and the manipulation of the elderly men who set a whole religion on a path that is still followed two thousand years later. An exciting, easy to read book which kept me turning the pages while the dirty dishes waited in the sink.

This was a great book to read. We meet Julia, the wife of a Roman official who was alive not long after the crucifixion of Jesus. Circumstances take her from Rome to Ephesus and then to Heracleum and back to Rome. In parallel, the story is set in the present day when two young archaeologists discover evidence of Julia’s life buried deep in the Vatican archives. What they find will rock the world. The tale moves at a great pace, not lagging for a moment and the characters were believable although I could relate more to Julia. Highly recommended.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B078P5T17C/

THINGS FALL APART  by Sharon Brownlie

THINGS FALL APART

An emotional journey of awakening, through broken trust, heartbreak, and family conflict. Despite being at the depths of despair, in the face of adversity, there is always a belief in the promise of a hopeful future. This is a coming of age story with a difference. Thirty-five-year-old single mother Mandy is forced to mature and grow up quickly. By the time we reach the final chapters of this incredible chronicle she moves from the blindness of naivety into pain, despair and eventually, at great cost, the maturity of hard-won wisdom.
Set in the mid-nineteen eighties in Edinburgh, a city dubbed as the drug’s capital of Europe, it’s a town where Mandy faces a mother’s worst nightmare. The warning signs are staring her in the face, but at first, she doesn’t heed them. All she wants to do is love, nurture and protect her family, but despite all her efforts she has to stand by, watching helplessly as it fragments, and things fall apart. How does she bring things to a peaceful conclusion? Is it even possible?

I know I am reading a good book when the dishes are ignored, the world goes by and I sit and read it from beginning to end. This story had me transfixed. I can’t praise it enough. I am not sure if it is in any way autobiographical, but if not, then this author can get right inside her characters. You feel their pain, their joy and their precarious position. This is a book which should be read by every parent with teenage children and the teenagers themselves.  https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07961BTBX/

CAPE OF STORMS  by Bianca Bowers

CPAE OF STORMS

Why did I choose to read this book? Initially, because it was set in and around Durban and Umhlanga and evoked almost forgotten memories of places I knew well having lived there for several years. I suspect the story has a hint of autobiography as the author grew up in South Africa and left to live in Australia when she was twenty-three, also considered by the heroine Rosalinde. The narrative is fast-paced and engaging as we first meet her as a young child questioning apartheid and its ramifications. The innocence of childhood accompanies her through school to university when she is brought face to face with a different culture and an alien mindset when her beliefs are shaken to the core. She is forced to face the same dilemma that so many white South Africans have encountered and to which there is no easy solution if there is any solution at all. The tension builds as Rosalinde is faced with the reality of being of Caucasian origin in the modern South Africa. Family members are brutally murdered, and from sitting at home with a panoramic view over the Indian Ocean, all this changes, to high walls, razor wire, and security cameras. She, like so many, becomes a prisoner in her own home. She struggles to understand the reasons for the anger and violence but it is hard to accept and she can see how the fledgling country is on the path to destruction. Not wanting to leave the land of her birth she acknowledges that leaving may be the only path to take to save her life. The dialogue is realistic, the narrative flows smoothly and once I read the first page, I did not put this book down until I reached the last one. If you have always lived in a western country and think you know what life in Africa is like because you have watched the news and read the papers, this book may open your eyes. It is a novel, yes, but nothing is far-fetched, it simply incorporates everyday life in a country I too fell in love with and was heartbroken to leave.  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07ZJVKHPN/

If any of my top books sound fun, then do please go and check them out. They are the 12 best of the 100+ in 2019 that have taken me to new worlds, different places, and exciting situations. I could have included a lot more, many of the other books I’ve read this year have been good, but those I’ve featured over the last 4 weeks are the ones that have stayed with me and that is always the sign of a good book.

I’m currently scribbling my 14th book, it’s a follow on of my psychological thriller A Year in the Life of Leah Brand. You can take a look at all my books by clicking here  https://www.amazon.com/Lucinda-E-Clarke/e/B00FDWB914

I wish all my readers a wonderful Christmas or holiday season wherever you might be. I’ll be down south in Australia and wrenched away from my laptop, but I’ll do my best to keep in touch.

Stay safe and take care

Lucinda

 

 

 

Lucinda’s best books of 2019 (3)

Someone asked me how do I choose only a few books from so many? Since my memory went AWOL some time ago, l now list them on a spreadsheet. Those special books I highlight when I review, and I nearly always write up a few words, unless I really didn’t like the book or it was badly written.. All writers adore getting reviews (hint).  The three books in my top 12 this week are:-

PORTRAIT OF STELLA by  Susan Wuthridge

PORTRAIT OF STELLA

After discovering her birth certificate is a fake and there is no record of her existence in the UK database. Jemima Ashton is desperate to discover her real identity. With scant information and the burning question ‘who am I?’, she embarks on an incredible journey of detection. On learning of her late mother Stella’s disappearance during WWII, she retraces her footsteps across the globe and at a distant vineyard, unearths a family she had no idea existed.
While treading a path of narrow-minded bigotry, scandalous revelations emerge of two families inextricably linked by one woman and the drastic steps they took to hide the truth.

I didn’t think I was going to even like this book, but I loved it. I loved it so much I spent a whole day immersed flicking the pages as fast as I could. This is an excellent story, carefully crafted, exciting and packed with lots of information. Having lived in South Africa, I was aware of the apartheid rules and regulations – if you did not experience that, it will be a real eye-opener. The plot is quite complex but all the loose ends are tied up leading to a very satisfactory conclusion. The pace was fast, but the words flowed and I raced through the book through the eyes of both Stella and Jemima. The book grabs you from the first chapter when Jemima finds out that she is not who she thought she was and thus begins her search to discover her past. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B073QGDX9Y/

ONLY THE GOOD by Rosemary Reeve

ONLY THE GOOD

The third book in the Jack Hart series follows on nicely from books one and two but it can be read as a stand-alone. We meet up again with Jack, the kind-hearted litigator, his girlfriend and long-time friend Mark, not forgetting Betsy the dog with attitude. Mark is still hating his job in the Seattle law firm, but he finds himself in deep water when he is suspected of murder. He might be able to prove his innocence on one killing but then the bodies begin to pile up. Adding to this Jack’s family, a family he didn’t know he had, is involved and he finds himself in conflict on both sides of the law. Extra suspicion falls on Jack when it is revealed that he has inherited the family business, the mansion, a holiday home, and several yachts.
Rosemary Reeve has written another action-packed, fast-moving novel. The reader cannot help but love Jack and his friends, even the golden-haired almost out of control Betsy. The plot is tight, the words follow effortlessly and the scenes are described with just the right amount of detail, not too much but enough to take you into each location. The storyline had me guessing as the murders add up and suspicion falls on Jack time and time again. It does not help when the police in Bellingham are determined to pin all the crimes on Jack. At the same time, Jack is struggling with his own demons, about his past childhood in a selection of foster homes and his desperate desire to know who his parents were – all is not what it seems.      https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07DDFS2QJ/ref

WILD CHILD   by Ian Mathie

Ian Mathie was an entertaining raconteur and writer who told his true-life stories with great vigour and enthusiasm. He had an amazing memory and was able to recall the smallest details, even from his early childhood. His life was packed with unusual experiences and adventures in distant places with strange people, wild animals, danger and fun.

When Ian Mathie sadly passed away some months ago, the world lost one of the last adventurers who grew up and loved the African continent and its people in the mid 19th Century. I have avidly read all of this author’s books and this last one, completed by his family in collaboration with his publishers, tells the story of Ian’s early days growing up in the bush. It recounts the freedoms, the adventures, and the creatures, running wild without a care in the world. His voice shines through on every page painting vivid pictures of a rural missionary school and the exacting punishments he received. He tells us of his African friends, getting to grips with a new language and the culture shock of boarding school back in Britain. Reading Wild Child takes you to Africa, surrounding you with the dust, the smells, the atmosphere of those vast areas densely populated with wildlife and vegetation. The book is a must-read for all those who have visited, lived there or who simply want to experience a world very different from any other continent on earth.

I should mention my books, shouldn’t I? I have penned 3 memoirs, one fairy tale for adults, a five-book adventure series set in Africa and my latest one is a psychological thriller set in England. Click here for my Amazon author page.

https://www.amazon.com/Lucinda-E-Clarke/e/B00FDWB914

 

LUCINDA’S BEST BOOKS OF 2019 (2)

Last year, 2018, I set my Goodreads reading challenge to 100 books. I only managed to achieve that by cramming in a couple of children’s books in December – well I wasn’t really cheating, was I? This year and last I read more than the totals as I could not include beta reading or other books that were not yet published.

In 2019 to take a little pressure off I lowered it to 80 books and that is a much easier target to reach, I’m already there.

I have traveled back in time, returned to Africa several times, lurked behind pillars in the Vatican, and again and racked my brains wondering ‘who done it’?

Here are the next three books I loved.

CONCLAVE  by Robert Harris 

conclave

I’m very curious about the Vatican with all its secrets, mysteries and the men who live there – those who are genuine in their beliefs and those who worship power more than God. I loved this book and read it in one day. The pope is dead, and behind the locked doors of the Sistine Chapel, one hundred and eighteen cardinals from all over the globe will cast their votes in the world’s most secretive election. They are holy men. But they have ambition. And they have rivals. Over the next seventy-two hours, one of them will become the most powerful spiritual figure on earth. I also learned much about the rituals involved when voting for a new pope and it was not as I had imagined. Why did I think they were all locked in one chapel for days on end? Why did I believe they might not be able to talk to outsiders in those days? This book explains a lot and the ending? While I was still debating – it had me fooled – as to who were the good guys – the ending was explosive and made me laugh out loud.  https://www.amazon.com/dp/1784751839

THE DUNG BEETLES OF LIBERIA  by  Daniel V Meier JR

dung beetles

I loved this book for its sheer honesty especially in an age where so many people are just willing and waiting to criticize and contradict and pc speech is strangling our literature. This book set in Liberia in the 1970s cannot be questioned, it tells of a time period well before we could all immediately find out the ‘facts’ as they now appear on the world wide web.

The Dung Beetles of Liberia is the story of a young college undergraduate at Cornell who drops out of school to take a job flying planes in Liberia. He leaves behind his astonished family and his almost-fiancé in a bid to escape the demons that plague him over the death of his brother. He’s learned that Liberia is one of the richest countries in Africa and has high expectations of what he will find there. America had repatriated many slaves in the 1800s and established a democracy and infrastructure. What young Kenneth found was the true state of Africa with its own interpretation of life, morals, and ethics. It shocks him to the core. Life is cheap, the hierarchy is absolute, the poor are driven to the point of extinction and he finds himself rubbing shoulders with other hard-drinking, wild and unprincipled expatriates.
The book is based on a true account of life there at the time – which I suspect has changed very little. This is possibly the most honest tale of Africa I have ever read. It is not as politically correct as other books set in similar places, but the author brilliantly highlights the cheapness of life, the lack of compassion, the willingness of the poor and downtrodden to accept their lot in life. Many readers may simply not believe the tales told with such pathos and humour but I can assure them that life is as wild and undisciplined as they are recounted. Kenneth Verrier is a typical young American from a good family who is shocked to the core with what he encounters. Flying small planes delivering equipment to the mines – and a little diamond smuggling on the side – paying no attention to overloading, air traffic rules, non-existent runways and centre of gravity safety regulations. Little by little Kenneth learns to adapt but never loses his humanity. He is a likable hero, and tells his story simply, honestly and clearly. This book is one of the best I have read in a long, long time and find it difficult to believe the author did not spend most of his life in Africa as he has grasped the problems, the customs, and the mindset so truthfully. Highly recommend reading – in fact this should be on the prescribed reading list of every high school as a window on a continent with a different way of life and a different mindset. Welcome to the world of Africa.  https://www.amazon.com/dp/1945448377

THE OPIUM LORD’S DAUGHTER  by  Robert Wang

THE OPIUM LORDS DAUGHTER

Moving continent to Asia, the author, now living in the United States, writes of a historical period in the land of his ancestors. In an east meets west scenario we meet the family of Lord Lee Shao Lin, his daughter Su-Mei and his number one son Lee da Ping during the time of the opium Wars between Britain and China. Many people may not know of the travesty of this unevenly fought war when the British navy attacked China to ensure uninterrupted trade in tea, porcelain, silks, and spices. Since China had no need to import anything from the west, the currency used to buy Chinese goods was Chinese silver which the British obtained by illegally importing opium into China. Everyone was involved, the Chinese merchants, the corrupt customs officials, the addicts who would do what it took to obtain more of the drug. But then the Emperor issued a decree to halt the trade and the troubles begin. At this time, Sue-Mei meets Travers Higgins from Yorkshire and falls in love – a cross-cultural affair unheard of and disapproved of in 1840. The stage is set for an explosive story in more ways than one.

The Opium Lord’s Daughter is one of the best books I have read this year. I read it in a day and a half and loved every bit of it. The characters leaped off the pages, I connected with Sue-Mei the heroine and the words flowed effortlessly. For the hours I was engrossed in this book I was living in the 1800s in China, surrounded by the sights and smells, the customs and the laughter and sorrow of the young couple and her family. The historical information was woven seamlessly into the story and I suspect the author researched the facts thoroughly, backed up by the pictures in the back of the book featuring many of the real characters mentioned at the time. A fairly balanced argument from both sides highlights the greed and avarice and arrogance of man which has not changed one iota in the last two thousand years. I highly recommend this book, and I shall file it away to read again in the future.  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07T2N4GK9/

Have you checked out my books? Memoirs, humour, action-adventure and my new psychological thriller. This link will take you to my Amazon author page.

https://www.amazon.com/Lucinda-E-Clarke/e/B00FDWB914