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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

MEET JOHN SEARANCKE

I am really happy to be part of a huge blog hop for John Searancke, whose name is familiar as he is also a member of the FB group We love Memoirs.  But first things first.

ALL JOHN’S BOOKS ARE ON SALE FROM MARCH 31, 2019 THROUGH APRIL 2, 2019 for 99¢/99£

The Author (1)

John Searancke is restaurant reviewer for the Tenerife newspaper Island Connections. Born in 1943 at Derby Royal Infirmary, a war baby, he lived his early life in Ashby-de la-Zouch and was sent away to be educated at Kings Mead Preparatory School, Seaford and afterwards at Rugby School. Later commissioned into the Territorial Army, he has been variously a director of a light engineering company, an hotel and restaurant owner, director and chairman of a marketing consortium, and latterly a partner with his wife in a commercial legal services company. He has enjoyed working in England and Switzerland and has homes in England and northern Tenerife, where he now lives with his wife Sally.

His latest book is

TheReluctantHotelkeeper

A Memoir

Available Wide in eBook, Paperback

ASIN: B07LB7WLZM

ISBN-10: 1789017572

ISBN-13: 978-1789017571

Non-fiction, Memoir

US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07LB7WLZM/

UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07LB7WLZM/

Amazon Smart Link: smarturl.it/TheRelHotelkeeper

Universal Wide Link: https://books2read.com/b/ReluctantHotelkeeper

A rescue mission originally thought of as lasting for a year or two turned into a 35 year lifetime love affair with a beautiful old building.

There were to be battles royal with neighbours not wanting their status quo to be altered, and with the local fire authority who sought to impose draconian new safety measures.

John Searancke came to the role of hotel keeper almost accidentally, and most definitely with much reluctance. After his parents’ marriage fell apart, he was dragooned in, at the age of 22, to pick up the pieces of their new venture, a barely-trading country house hotel that had, frankly, seen better days. Not only was it posting an annual loss, but the fabric of the building was crumbling and there was no money left to make improvements.

Over the years, and with the steepest of learning curves, the grand old building was renovated and transformed to meet the requirements of the modern discerning traveller. Accolades for the hotel and its restaurant were won; together they became a well-regarded destination for a number of celebrities – and those that deemed themselves to be celebrities but were not. Stories abound featuring idiosyncratic guests, overbearing public bodies, fractured family life and animals of all shapes and sizes. The local fire station next door was demolished one foggy night, people were frightened by flying dogs and snakes in the long grass, and there were, as befits a country house, strange goings on in the night. Many were the guests who checked in who really should not have been seen together.

This is a tribute to all the people behind the scenes who helped to make the hard-won transformation into a great success.

With a rave 5 star review from Readers’ Favorites, I can back up Matma Madhaven’s comments: “There are a lot of interesting stories about eccentric guests, how many guests who checked in should not have been seen together at all, and how it ended up being one of the favored stops for a number of celebrities. The author goes through the entire process, speaking about transforming the hotel methodically and in detail, taking readers along with him and his experiences while getting the old building renovated to cater to the needs of a modern traveler. There is not one boring moment in this memoir and the positive narration and outlook make this memoir an encouraging and motivating read. The author’s story and experiences are enriching, and the ups and downs of his life and the accolades he received for the hotel and its restaurant will encourage many readers out there to become hotel keepers.”

I’m not sure about that last sentence, but I sat and read John’s book in one sitting and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Other books by John:-

Dog Days In The Fortunate Islands: A new life in hidden Tenerife

https://books2read.com/b/DogDays

Prunes for Breakfast: One Man’s War: Based on a True Story. 

https://books2read.com/b/Prunes

Like most of us these days John has numerous addresses and if you want to find out lots more about him click on one of these.

Website: https://www.johnsearancke.com/

Newsletter sign up: https://mailchi.mp/57550f38f321/joinjohnsearancke

Author Interview: https://www.rukiapublishing.com/an-interview-with-john-searancke.html

FB: https://www.facebook.com/johnsearanckeauthor/

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/JohnSearancke

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/john-searancke

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/John-Searancke/e/B00J787XZ6/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7956383.John_Searancke

All the very best John for your new book.

Till next time, take care

Lucinda

 

MEET MARK MOREY

I’ve lost count of the number of guests I’ve had on my blog, and I have not read all the books featured, but this week is different.

My guest is Mark Morey and I have read two of his books and thoroughly enjoyed them and the third, the one set in Japan is on my kindle and second in the queue to be read and I’m really looking forward to it.

I enjoy his stories as they are set in different countries and the first one that caught my eye was No Darkness as it was set in Zimbabwe.  But Let Mark tell you his own story.

MARK MOREY HEADSHOT

I hadn’t thought of writing fiction until I went to the local library to borrow a book, but couldn’t find anything which interested me.  By that stage I was tired of writing dry, technical dissertations, so I set myself the task of writing something more interesting.  It had to have interesting characters, and it had to have an interesting and unusual setting.  I thought authors better than me have written about many aspects of past and contemporary Western life, so I should tell a story far from that.

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My most recent novels please me the most.  No Darkness is set in my wife’s country of Zimbabwe, where we were married and had our honeymoon, and which has been through terrible times since then.  She and her people are the most wonderful people on this planet, and those good people don’t deserve what they’ve been through.  Nobody deserves what they have been through, but particularly not the people of Zimbabwe.  I have an insight into African culture and memories of my time there, which helped to write this story.  I hope those who read No Darkness will understand more about the tragedy of modern-day Africa.

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I like contemporary French music.  One of my favourite albums has a song ‘Dans Nos Souvenirs’ or In Our Memories.  I didn’t understand what it was about, until eventually I came across the Armenian Genocide of 1915.  I was quite shocked that I had never even heard of the first genocide, and I was sure that others would be the same.  Indeed, reviews have shown this is the case.  In Our Memories is currently under consideration for the UK school curriculum.

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The Syrian Civil War is complicated, and I set myself the task of writing Blood Never Sleeps about the rise and defeat of Islamic State in Syria.  For this I got the help of Syrian Kurds, who have translated my novel into Kurmanji Kurdish for use in their schools.  For Westerners, the stoicism of Kurds and Arabs under stress may seem a little distant at times, but this is how they are.  Even in battle, living or dying is in God’s hands, and if you die for a good cause then you will be a martyr.  But there is more to Blood Never Sleeps than battles and war.  These Kurds are aiming not for women’s equality, but for the total dismantling of the patriarchy.  I do thank Komutan Rodja Felat for allowing me to use her and her words in my story.  Also a big thank-you to ‘Clara Raqqah’!

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My country of Australia was shaped by the Pacific War against Japan.  My father and my uncle fought in this conflict, while my mother was terrified the Japanese would invade Australia and brutalise her.  At the time it seemed Japan would, but ultimately that was not their plan.  But how did a small nation decide to go to war against the rest of the world; a war they could never win?  After reading a crime novella set in pre-war Tokyo I was fascinated by the setting.  So Ketsumeidan opens in Asakusa, Tokyo in the year 1932, where forces seem determined to drag Japan to war.  I have been to Japan, and when I was younger I lived in Hong Kong and in Korea for a time, so I do understand the Asian way of thinking to a degree.  I have a friend who was born and raised in Japan, who helped me with aspects of Japanese culture.  Finally, a geisha helped me to get my geisha character right.  Ketsumeidan is the most truthful of these four novels.  Almost everything in Ketsumeidan actually happened, and wherever possible I used actual words of the people involved.  A letter by Shumei Okawa, the police interviews with Sada Abe, or the sad story of Chang Jiazhi (her real name was Zheng Pingru).  Zheng even had a Kenpeitai lieutenant as a friend.  It seemed like all the pieces were there waiting to be written, and all it needed was three, strong characters to bring this story to fruition.  For Australians and Americans, the war against Japan is well-known but not necessarily understood; while those in other parts of the world might be surprised that this brutal conflict was being fought two years before Hitler invaded Poland.  But Ketsumeidan is not about war and battles, rather individuals going against the flow because it was still possible that war wasn’t inevitable, and then when war happened; those who truly loved their country had to stop it from destroying itself.

All Mark’s books are available in e-book and print on demand paperback, from Amazon, Apple iBooks and other online retailers.

https://www.amazon.com/Mark-Morey/e/B00I3U8V2S/

Thank you Mark for being my guest this week. I hope lots of readers will check out your books and enjoy them.

 

 

 

MEET BONNYE MATTHEWS

I am thrilled to welcome my guest this week, a writer whose subject is absolutely fascinating – the very early inhabitants in the Americas. I can’t even begin to imagine the amount of research it takes to write each book. As new discoveries are made, it turns many of the facts we have been taught upside down as the truth is revealed.

BONNYE GUEST BLOGI retired to Alaska, exquisite land which I had come to love. I heard the story of how Americans first came over the Bering land bridge and moved through the ice-free corridor to what is now the USA from which they continued south killing megafauna all the way through South America. I couldn’t “buy” the massive megafauna kill claims, but had no bone to pick with archaeologists until I began to research. Research showed my hunch on the megafauna was right, and, to my horror, so much that’s been taught is pure fantasy. I went ballistic! I turned to writing as a way to fight the fiction/fantasy that is being taught as fact—with fiction. I’m not credentialed to write non-fiction, and it already exists and has been done well. Oddly, with fiction I can reach a much wider group of people to deal with facts. So, I’ve given it my best effort.

First of all, I did five years of heavy research on the topic of the peopling of the Americas. That means seven days a week, exceptionally long hours, researching a journal an issue at a time—that type of research. It continues, shared on my Facebook author page (https://bit.ly/1MZ76gg).  I wrote a tiny little book that is my western hemisphere population origin paradigm. It explains my view which Einstein summarized succinctly, “If the facts don’t fit the theory, change the theory.” People have lived in the Americas far longer than anyone wants to admit. Unless camels (or some other pre-ice age animals) can carve, humans carved a gomphothere (four-tusked elephant) and a speared cat on a mammoth pelvis bone 250,000 years ago in Mexico. The carving was carved fresh, so that means the carving dates to the date of the bone. People who came to the Americas before the end of the ice age likely came from Asia, Pacific Islands and Aboriginal Australia, Africa, and France/Spain. This information is not being taught.

1.0 Winds of Change AD 1 Winds of change novel series

My books consist of a novel series, Winds of Change, on the peopling of the Americas before the ice age. There are five novels: Ki’ti’s Story, 75,000 BC, Manak-na’s Story, 75,000 BC, Zamimolo’s Story, 50,000 BC, Tuksook’s Story, 35,000 BC, and The SealEaters, 20,000 BC. They’re designed for adult readers though with a PG-type rating. Readership varies from elementary school to seniors. That holds true for all my current fiction. The novels show how the peopling of the Americas could have occurred. I shifted my novel series writing to a novella series, designed for young adults, but still read by a wide range of readers. The novella series focuses on specific, extremely old archaeological sites. The first, Freedom, 250,000 BC focuses on Valsequillo in Mexico where an amateur archaeologist found the carved bone mentioned above.

The second novella, Courage, 30,000 BC focuses on Pedra Furada in Brazil where some of the most vital and amazing art work in the Americas can be found. Ironically, I lost my courage in writing Courage. I used 30,000 BC knowing I should have used 48,000 BC as the date. There was so much fighting in the archaeological world over the date, I frankly got cold feet. I am in the process of having my publisher change the year from 30,000 to 48,000 BC. If I’m going to name a book Courage, you’d think I could show some! The novella in progress is Integrity, 130,000 BC about the Cerutti Mastodon find at San Diego in California. It should be out December 2018.

Every single novel and novella listed here has won an award, all are first place except Zamimolo’s Story, 50,000 BC. The year I competed that novel I also competed Tuksook’s Story, 35,000 BC. Only one could win first. I am updating the images of the awards. Not all appear here with awards affixed, because some were awarded as late as September 2018, when Courage, 30,000 BC won First Place Young Adult Fiction at the National Federation of Press Women for 2018. According to Grace Cavalieri, award-winning poet/playwright, book reviewer, host of The Poet and the Poem from Library of Congress, Matthews is America’s pre-eminent author of prehistoric fiction. George Steiner, quaternary geology and pleistocene cognitive archaeology expert, “Her stories are fascinating and the science behind them is cutting edge.”

This work is the most demanding, has the longest hours, and is the least financially rewarding of any work I ever did. I love it the most of all. There is a spark to life that comes when a writer and a reader connect in communication through fiction. There is no other comparable experience.

All books are in paperback and e-book. The novellas are also in audible form. My books are available at local bookstores, libraries, or Amazon

https://www.amazon.com/Bonnye-Matthews/e/B001KMIPJU/ 

BONNYE LOGO

Thank you Bonnye for being my guest, and I am most impressed with your logo – you will have a lot of other writers thinking about getting one I’m sure.

Till next time, take care.

MEET PENNY LUKER

I’m thrilled to welcome my guest this week as this will be one of the most colourful blog posts ever. Penny writes children’s books and the covers are so bright and attractive they jump out at you. And, yes, despite I’m a wrinkly, I’ve read several of them and loved them. Time to meet Penny.

Penny headshot

I think I’ve been a writer all of my life. When I left my job I flicked through years of diaries and found numerous (rather bad) poems on spare pages. Since leaving my paid work, I’ve taken numerous poetry and writing courses and I’ve discovered that writing is a skill where you keep on improving. Nature’s Gold and Autumn Gold are mixed anthologies with a variety of themes but my latest book, The Shadows of Love is an anthology based on the theme of love. It’s not sugar sweet love poems though!

Penny has written 3 poetry books:

mybook.to/AutumnGold     mybook.to/NatureGold    mybook.to/shadowsoflove

One of the most wonderful events in my life has been having grandchildren. I have four and have written a children’s book for each child. The Green Book and Tiny Tyrannosaurus explore family life. They touch on topics such as being greedy and stranger danger, with a sprinkle of added magic. Pablo the Storytelling Bear, tells stories of a wild polar bear and one that lives in the zoo. Following the wild bear allows the reader to become aware of the problems that wild life have to cope with in a changing environment, while the one in the zoo has magic and conversations with other animals. I feel it’s important that children’s books are fun. Desdemona the dragon without any friends, deals with loneliness and how sometimes we don’t see potential friends, because they are different from us. Children love making the sounds that go along with the story. It’s my one and only picture book and I did all the illustrations. It was such fun to do and I learned how to use Photoshop at a beginners level.

mybook.to/GreenBook                                        mybook.to/Tiny  

 

mybook.to/Desdemona                                     mybook.to/PabloSTBear

I attend a weekly writers’ group, The Winsford Writers, and so produce heaps of short stories. There’s another book on the way. Pebble on the Beach and The Mermaid were both published a few years ago. They are anthologies with mixed genres, but next I’m thinking of doing ghost short stories.

Short Stories

mybook.to/TheMermaidShort                            mybook.to/Pebble

The Truth Finder

I’ve also written The Truth Finder, a YA novel about earth in the fifth millennium. It’s about a young man who has the gift to read minds and his struggle to take control his gift. The sequel, ‘The Visualizer’ is nearly finished. I’ve been writing it all summer and I sometimes don’t want to come back to real life.

mybook.to/TruthFinder

Since leaving work I’ve definitely been focusing on my creative side. Apart from the writing I’m learning to play the ukulele and I play the piano after a fashion. I looked up all the old music I love and found easy versions to play.

I’ve also been to many art courses and classes in the last few years. I love doing batik work and painting pictures in wax. Getting messy doing printing or any form of painting is just such fun. Occasionally I produce something that someone actually wants to put on the wall. My favourite subjects are life and figure drawing and portraits. Sometimes I think that one will make a great character for one of my stories.

In real life, I help to care for some family members who are not too well, but I’m also a strong believer in life long learning. I enjoy meeting new people from all walks of life and discovering new facts, techniques and songs. Perhaps I’m a true Gemini, butterfly!

It’s great to meet another writer who crosses genres – it goes to prove if you are a writer, you can write anything!

You can find out more about Penny and her books here:

Author Blog   www.pennyluker.wordpress.com

Amazon Author Page   author.to/PennyLuker

Thank you so much for being my guest this week.

Till next time, take care.

 

 

 

 

 

MEET TOM JOHNSON

A warm welcome to this week’s guest Tom Johnson. Reading a little about his life it has been anything but boring!

Tom Johnson was born July 26 1940 in Seymour, Texas. His dad was a cowboy and cook, giving his family an itinerant lifestyle. Tom changed schools often, as his dad’s jobs were relocated. His dad wanted him to follow in his footsteps, but a cowboy’s life didn’t appeal to him. Instead, during his high school years, Tom dreamed about becoming an entomologist. He loved biology and math, but was weak in other subjects. He read every book he could find on insects, reptiles, and arachnids, as well as paleontology.  His dream was simple – buy an old car and small mobile home that he could pull behind the car and set up in the desert where he could study the animal life. Having something of a raw artistic talent, he wanted to write and illustrate books recording the life cycles of desert animal life.

However, his life changed when he joined the Army and spent a 20-year career in law enforcement. Afterwards, he and his wife started the publishing imprint of FADING SHADOWS, and published a hobby magazine for 22 years, and several genre titles for nine years.

Fading Shadows Books http://fadingshadowsbooks.blogspot.com

Tom Johnson

They published writers and artists from all over the world, and met many of the publishers, editors, authors, and artists from the pulp magazines of the 1930s and ‘40s. One of those he met was Walter Gibson, a writer and magician who created the famous character The Shadow. Tom had been a fan of The Shadow radio drama as a child, and later found the novels. Gibson wrote almost 300 Shadow novels, as well as helping bring the character to radio and comic books. They corresponded until Walter’s death.

Tom was a voracious reader from an early age, beginning with comic books at age 7 and reading novels by age 10 or 11. He has never stopped reading for pleasure, though his interest in genres have often switched from SF to western, to hardboiled detectives, the classics, and back to science fiction again over the years. In his own writing readers will often find something about his love of zoology, whether insects, reptiles, or saber-tooth cats. Tom had a stroke in March 2002. Now retired, they devote their time to keeping Tom’s books in print, as well as helping promote other writers.

PENTAX Image

They settled in Tom’s hometown of Seymour, Texas, home of the Whiteside Museum of Natural History, and the red-bed digs near the town where Permian fossils have been discovered for over a hundred years. A 250 million year old amphibian, the Seymouria, was discovered in the red-beds and is named after Seymour. One of the main predators of the Permian was a large finback reptile called a Dimetrodon, and a statue is displayed outside the museum. Several of Tom’s books are on hand in the museum.

PENTAX Image

With over 80 books in print that he has contributed to, Tom has slowed down now. He is still writing children stories while promoting his books still on the market. Plus, he still has hopes of one day seeing his short novel, Pangaea: Eden’s Planet, made into a film.

Pangaea: Eden’s Planet: Seven astronauts en route to Mars encounter a time warp in space that disables their ship. Crash landing back on Earth, they discover an alien planet sixty million years before the dinosaurs. Pangaea, the super continent, is filled with danger and terror, as they must survive against fierce reptiles that ruled the Earth 250 million years in the past! Surviving in a prehistoric world gone mad where even the environment can turn against you, survival is all you think about. But even in the harshest of times, two people will find their destiny in an Eden modern man cannot imagine.

There are lots of places where you can connect with Tom:-

Tom’s Blog http://pulplair.blogspot.com

Tom’s Face Book Page https://www.facebook.com/tomginger.johnson

Tom’s Books http://jur1.brinkster.net/index.html

Tom’s Amazon Page http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B008MM81CM

ALTUS PRESS http://www.altuspress.com 

Thank you Tom Johnson for being my guest today.

 

 

 

MEET CHRIS-JEAN CLARKE

This week my guest is Chris-Jean Clarke who lives in England, but has strong literary connections in the United States.

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Chris-Jean Clarke grew up in the West-Midlands (UK), but now resides in South Staffordshire (UK) with her husband, Geoff and children, Nathan and Kyrsten.

Prior to giving birth to her two beautiful children Chris-Jean worked for twenty years with people with learning and physical disabilities.

She studied the art of writing children’s stories @The Writing School, Oxford Open Learning.

Chris-Jean also donates stories & poems twice yearly to the Peacock Writers to benefit various charities. (NB She does not publish her

contributions in any other form.)  9781497384699_p0_v2_s260x420The Peacock Writers are a group of independent writers from around the globe & each of our anthologies are written around a given theme.

I have contributed to nine books, so far, but the book I would strongly recommend is: Springtime Bullies: Special Illustrated Edition (The Peacock Writers Present) (Volume 6)

http://thepeacockwriters.weebly.com/

 

In November 2016, Chris-Jean was accepted as a paid reviewer for Readers’ Favorite. During this month she was also accepted as a Publishing Assistant for the Books4Kids program, South Dakota.

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Early 2018, Chris-Jean transitioned from Publishing Assistant to author with the release of her educational story: To Dye For. To Dye For was accepted for its entertaining look at esteem. Interested readers can purchase the eBook from BookRix.com or any of the major online stores, such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble and iTunes, whilst the paperback version of this book is currently gifted to children in schools across America, but can also be purchased from our website: PS Publishing & the Books 4 Kids Program
https://www.publishps.com/retail-store.html   

August 2018, Chris-Jean re-released her historical fiction story: Honesty in World War 2. This story is told from ten-year-old Cyril Blessum’s perspective and is currently available to purchase as an eBook, and is available to purchase from BookRix.com and all the major online stores, such as Amazon, GooglePlay and Barnes & Noble.

Caleb Pirtle

2016, Honesty in World War 2  received a 5 star editorial review by Sarah Stuart for Readers’ Favorite and was showcased by Linda and Caleb Pirtle on their website as a Saturday Sampler:

https://calebandlindapirtle.com/saturday-sampler-honesty-in-world-war-2-by-

Since its re-release in 2018, Honesty in World War 2 has also been showcased on Pulp Den by author, historian and war veteran, Tom Johnson:
https://pulplair.blogspot.com/2018/08/honesty-in-world-war-2.htmlchris-jean-clarke/ 

You can connect with Chris-Jean at any of the links below.

Author page: https://www.amazon.com/Chris-Jean-Clarke/e/B00JZX8GIQ/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_2?qid=1537080616&sr=8-2
BookRix: https://www.bookrix.com/_ebook-chris-jean-clarke-to-dye-for/
BookRix: https://www.bookrix.com/_ebook-chris-jean-clarke-honesty-in-world-war-2/
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/authorchrisjeanclarke

Thank you for being my guest this week .