Guest Post

#GuestPost & #Excerpt
Zenka by Alison Brodie
@alisonbrodie2

 

Synopsis:

Ruthless, stubborn and loyal.

Zenka is a Hungarian pole-dancer with a dark past.

When cranky London mob boss, Jack Murray, saves her life she vows to become his guardian angel – whether he likes it or not. Happily, she now has easy access to pistols, knuckle-dusters and shotguns.

Jack learns he has a son, Nicholas, a community nurse with a heart of gold. Problem is, Nicholas is a wimp.

Zenka takes charge. Using her feminine wiles and gangland contacts, she aims to turn Nicholas into a son any self-respecting crime boss would be proud of. And she succeeds!

Nicholas transforms from pussycat to mad dog, falls in love with Zenka, and finds out where the bodies are buried – because he buries them. He’s learning fast that sometimes you have to kill, or be killed.

As his life becomes more terrifying, questions have to be asked:

How do you tell a crime boss you don’t want to be his son?

And is Zenka really who she says she is?

 

Excerpt:

 

Prologue One 

7 July, 2011

My dearest Alina,

Olga Savchukis is a lying bitch. She say I vill be taken care of. I vill get good job in London. Good job?! She sells me to Romanians. I kick man in balls. I bite. But I cannot get out. Even vindows locked. I know if I am injected I can never escape, NEVER.

Suddenly doors crash open and there is much shooting of guns. After is silence. A man with a face like crumpled McDonald bag takes us outside. The other girls are like sleepvalkers. We have to step over dead Romanians.

The man who saves us is Jack Murray – I am not allowed to tell who he is, but I can tell YOU because you are in Hungary and cannot sneak. He is top gang boss in London.

He hates Romanians. He says it’s very bad thing they do to girls. The girls who escaped that night get jobs in bakery and supermarket. Me? I vill not leave Jack.

Remember the puppy, Yuki? I am like that. I follow Jack all around. He says I am nuisance. I offer myself to him. I am virgin but he deserves me. But he doesn’t vant me! He says he is too old. I say he is not too old. He tries to ignore me. But nobody can ignore Zenka Valentina Varga if she does not vant to be ignored. Ha!

You saved my life, I tell him, now I am your guardian angel. He rolls his eyes to heaven as if seeking patience from God, and says: How can you be guardian angel ven you are only five foot two? I say I am small but a grenade is also small.

I get job in Jack’s club, The Men’s Room. I tell manager I do pole dancing. (That is ven girl climbs up and down pole – I don’t make it sound sexy – but it is ven it is done right). Me? I try to turn upside down, and fall into a heap. Now I am STAR performer!

I ver vigs, blonde, black, orange, pink, depending on my mood. Job pays good vage and the customers throw money on the stage – not like other places ver the man puts money in girl’s panties with fingers – urgh! If man touches me, I slap his face. He is shocked but his friends laugh.

Jack tells me not to attack customers – it is not good for business, he say. Yesterday I scratch customer because he hurts new girl. Jack is angry with me, but then he goes outside and punches the customer. So JACK can punch but I cannot scratch? Ver is the justice in THAT?

Jack has bodyguards. Lockjaw looks like Frankenstein. Vince is tall but he never talk. Billy is short and square and he talk too much. He teaches me Cockney:

“Bollocks” is a man’s balls. But if you say “Don’t drop a bollock” it means don’t make a mistake. “I’m the dog’s bollocks” is ven man thinks he is the best. Jack says this all the time.

I have to tell you. Ven Jack is angry, it makes me laugh. He can be tough with men, but he cannot be tough with vomen. He is like the father I never had. He tells me to find good husband and I say, yes, yes, Jack, to shut his mouth.

My dearest friend. Do you know ver Olga Savchukis can be found? If you know this, tell me. Then I can kill her.

Your loving friend,

Zenka. x

How is the family? 

Fifty miles away, at exactly the same time…

 

Early Praise for Zenka:

“A riveting read. Powerful. Spicy” -Midwest Book Review

5* “To say I loved this story would be a massive understatement” –Bloggers from Down Under

5* “Will warm your heart and chill your bones” –Tome Tender Blogspot

5* “Top of my list for best fiction this year” – Lauren Sapala, WriteCity

5* “You won’t be able to put this book down” –Laura Reading

5*   “Brodie nails it again. Intelligent wit and outstanding writing” –Charlie Elliott, author of Life Unbothered.

 

About the Author:

Alison Brodie is a Scot, with French Huguenot ancestors on her mother’s side. She is a writer and animal rights activist. Her books have been published in hardback and paperback by Hodder & Stoughton (UK), Heyne (Germany) and Unieboek (Holland). Alison is now a self-publisher. Here are some editorial reviews for her recent books:

BRAKE FAILURE: “Masterpiece of humor” –Midwest Book Review

THE DOUBLE: “Proof of her genius in writing fiction” -San Francisco Book Review.

 

Thank you to Alison Brodie for providing me with an excerpt for my blog today! It was truly an honour!

Preorder a copy of this novel from your favourite retailer or from the following link!

For more information on Alison Brodie visit her website at: alisonbrodiebooks.com

or follow her on Twitter at@alisonbrodie2 or Facebook at: AlisonBrodieAuthor

#BlogTour & #GuestPost
Rock Hard by Jozie Di Maria
@JoZieRockFit @Authoright

Synopsis:

If there’s one woman who rocks harder than anyone it’s JoZie Di Maria. Gorgeous, outrageously fit and heavily tattooed, Di Maria has worked as a dancer with — and a trainer for — some of the biggest names in rock music. Having toured with legendary bands like Mötley Crüe, Papa Roach and Jane’s Addiction, she has lived a life that most people could only dream of. 

But Di Maria soon found that staying in top shape on the road was tough; performing long shows at packed stadiums late into the night, combined with endless hotel stays, poor nutrition and constant partying was gruelling. So Di Maria decided to take control and develop her own fierce fitness routine so that she could rock hard and train hard at the same time. 

Rock Hard: A Backstage Pass to Staying Fit on the Road the Rockstar Way is both an outstanding fitness guide and a nostalgic behind the scenes account of JoZie Di Maria’s incredible life on the road, training rockstars from Tommy Lee (Mötley Crüe) to Billy Morrison (Billy Idol) and Josh Todd (Buckcherry). Her easy to follow routines prove that you can work out anytime, any place — airports, offices, hotels, no excuses! — building a strong and healthy physique, inside and out, while developing a positive approach to body image. Beautiful paintings of her rockstar gym buddies accompany hand-drawn illustrations of work out moves, making it easy and lots of fun to train along with her, Di Maria’s Rock Hard is a fitness book worthy of any rock God.

And Now JoZie Di Maria on Mötley Crüe:

 

TOMMY LEE

MÖTLEY CRÜE – DRUMMER/DJ

WORKOUT: DRUMMING, DANCING, SEX

Tommy Lee is a man of many talents though known best as the drummer for Mötley Crüe. I’ve been blessed with the fortune to have been part of the Mötley Crüe legacy, as well as experiencing this super-hyper man’s energy and light. In an almost child-like way, Tommy finds excitement in just about everything. Everyday is truly a new day for him. His tall, fit frame is no doubt stamped Body by rock’n’roll, is covered in tattoos and piercings, and kept lean from intense drumming. I was always awe-struck when I’d watch him sweat buckets during shows. Tommy always plays his drums shirtless, driving the girls to want him and the guys to be like him. He is the epitome of cool.

Not one to work out at a gym, Tommy Lee is clearly keeping fit in a non-conventional fashion. Along with his drumming, he DJs around the world. Dancing and moving the entire set while he spins (which lasts anywhere from 90 minutes to three hours), he burns hundreds of calories without even trying. I would have to say, Tommy Lee has the “non-workout” workout. Would you believe he would most likely top a professional football player in fitness and condition? Well, believe it.

Research conducted in Britain by Chichester University used Blondie drummer Clem Burke to prove such a point. Clem, along with other drummers, were connected to equipment measuring their heart rates, oxygen up-take, and the levels of lactic acid in their blood as they played. The stress caused to their bodies while drumming was then compared to football players. Drummers’ heart rates were raised up to 190 beats per minute and burning anywhere from 400 to 600 calories in a 90-minute performance. Drummers need to have high stamina in order to play shows. The average working drummer plays a 90-minute set, five days a week for up to three months during an average touring schedule. The breaks in between legs of a tour range from two weeks to a month. That’s a whole lot of increased heart rates and calorie burning going on! The rock star lifestyle seems so unhealthy, but drummers counteract a lot of the toxicity without realizing it since they’re perpetually sweating toxins out. Tommy loves to beat on those skins unapologetically and is keeping fit at the same time.

 

VINCE NEIL

MÖTLEY CRÜE – LEAD VOCALS

LEATHER PANTS WORKOUT: ADJUSTABLE DUMBBELLS, ON-STAGE ACTIVITY

The first moment I met Vince back in 1998, we literally giggled and hugged as if two old friends were reuniting. He had the most infectious laugh that kept me giggling and we instantly hit it off. When we began touring together, we’d often go to hotel gyms by day or hang at a Hooter’s, then hit the local strip club at night. We were having fun! But those little hotel gyms were definitely NOT where Vince was burning calories.

SHOWTIME!

During an average Mötley Crüe show, Vince stays extremely active, running from one side of the stage to the other, using his upper body to swing his arm up and punch, psyching up the crowd for the majority of the 90-minute show. Mix that with adrenaline and it’s a perfect cocktail for calorie burning. The average concert stage is approximately 60’ in length. Between songs when Vince has a quick break, he runs into his private tent and pumps up with portable resistance bands before he runs back to continue rocking out! Amazing! It’s an impressive two-hour workout burning an estimated 1,100-1,500 calories per show! Multiply that by five shows a week and it comes to 5,500-7,500 calories burned every week on tour. At the end of each show, Vince’s stage clothes would be completely drenched in sweat as if dowsed with a bucket of water. Peeling off the sweat-soaked, heavy leather pants is a bit of workout in itself, probably adding extra muscle-toning resistance to his already active stage routine. Wet leather is no joke.

THE KISS

I was so often asked about my nightly kisses with Vince on stage. They were so passionate that many thought we were an item. Vince is an amazing kisser. He is a non-smoker with soft, supple lips and knows exactly how to use them. Often times I found myself flushed and a bit heated by a really good kiss. With blood rushing to certain areas and my heart pounding, I wondered about kissing and calorie burning. Apparently, you do burn calories during kissing. When I say kiss, I mean a deep-throat, make-out session. Unfortunately, mine and Vince’s make-out sessions did not last long enough to make any real dent, but we can add an extra 3-5 calories burned on Vince’s part and maybe two for me.

Remember being in high school and having the long, drawn out, sweaty, dry-humping make-out sessions that seemed to last hours? Too lazy to workout? Rediscover that delicious way to burn some bulge.

About the Author:

Originally from Roselle, New Jersey, JoZie “LoveStar” Di Maria is a certified personal trainer who has travelled the world as a make-up artist, stylist and back-up dancer to some of the biggest bands in rock. Just fifteen years after she first went to her first ever concert – Mötley Crüe at Madison Square Garden – she was invited by the band to perform with them on tour. She has worked as a make-up artist for MTV, VH1, TLC and Discovery.

Thank you JoZie Di Maria. It was an honour to have you guest post on my blog today!

Pick up a copy of this novel from your favourite retailer or from the following link!

For more information on JoZie Di Maria visit her website at: rockhard.fit

or follow her on Twitter at@JoZieRockFit or Facebook at: JoZieRockFit

#BlogTour & #GuestPost
The Girl On The Bus by N.M. Brown @normthewriter @Bloodhoundbook

Synopsis:

A retired detective and a young woman are about to face their worst fears. 

Vicki Reiner is emotionally isolated and craves the fleeting happiness she experienced in the years prior to her college graduation. In an attempt to recapture this, she invites her former friend and room-mate, Laurie,  for a break at her deserted beachside home. However, despite booking an online bus ticket, her friend never shows up and seems to have vanished. 

Unable to accept the bizarre circumstances of the disappearance, Vicki approaches the police who dismiss her concerns before enlisting the reluctant help of Leighton Jones – a newly retired detective who is haunted by the death of his teenage daughter. Despite trying to remain detached from the case, Leighton is drawn to Vicki and her search for justice. 

The unlikely pair face numerous obstacles but using a combination of methods he and Vicki track the killers who are working across the dusty freeways of North America. 

Soon Vicki and Leighton find themselves nervously waiting at a remote bus stop expecting the arrival of the bus. 

Will they ever discover what happened to Laurie? 

And can they both escape with their lives? 

And Now N.M. Brown:

Great Expectations.

I think that this is perhaps the greatest novel ever written. It contains so many elements that are vital to great story telling. The central character is essentially on orphan – therefore vulnerable and sympathetic- who must face his deepest fears in order to fulfil his destiny. 

This hero’s journey has of course been replicated in everything from Star Wars to Harry Potter.

But for me, the darker Gothic elements of Great Expectations were always far more interesting than Pip’s adventure. For example, the novel opens in one of the most dramatic ways possible, when Pip –whilst visiting his parents’ grave- is accosted by an escaped convict. 

Despite being a foreboding character, the convict is nowhere near as horrific as the enigmatic other man he alludes to:

That young man has a secret way pecooliar to himself, of getting at a boy, and at his heart, and at his liver. It is in wain for a boy to attempt to hide himself from that young man. A boy may lock his door, may be warm in bed, may tuck himself up, may draw the clothes over his head, may think himself comfortable and safe, but that young man will softly creep and creep his way to him and tear him open

This depiction of a creeping and unstoppable killer seems horrific and utterly modern – like the stuff of Thomas Harris- to me. I was thrilled by the near mythical aspect of this man- who seemed almost like a Victorian Slenderman The novel is also peppered with numerous other characters who are all harbouring dark secrets – such as the pompous lawyer’s maid – Molly who has mysterious scars on her wrists.

I was also intrigued by the dusty Miss Havisham, secreted away in her crumbling mansion. She like so many of the characters in that novel seemed clearly located in their own histories, some of which is only ever hinted at.

It terms of influencing my writing, Great Expectations made me appreciate the importance of taking the reader on a journey – something I also aim to do. This layered novel also helped develop my understanding of how stories within stories can help reinforce aspects of character and theme. But perhaps even more than that, it made me realise that any adventure that a protagonist embarks on is even more powerful if it offers a opportunity to atone for past mistakes.  

About the Author:

Norman M. Brown is an author living and working in Scotland. He attended secondary school in Stirling where he spent more time in the library or in the nearby park with a paperback, than he did in classes… Ironically, having graduated from Stirling University with a degree in English, he soon ended up back on the classroom again – where he has shared his love of fiction for two decades. 

Having experimented with poetry, scripts and short stories over the years, he finally decided to write sit down and write the type of fiction he would like to read. The result was his crime thriller -The Girl on the Bus. As result, Norman was delighted to be signed to Bloodhound Books at the start of this year. The Girl in the Bus, is his first published novel. He is currently writing a second novel based on its protagonist – detective Leighton Jones.

Thank you N.M. Brown. It was an honour to have you guest post on my blog today!

Pick up a copy of this novel from your favourite retailer!

For more information on N.M. Brown visit his website at: nmbrownfiction 

or follow him on Twitter at: @normthewriter

#BlogTour & #GuestPost
Bad To The Bone by Tony J Forder
@TonyJForder @Bloodhoundbook

Synopsis:

A skeletal body is unearthed in a wooded area of Peterborough, Cambridgeshire. DI James Bliss, together with DC Penny Chandler, investigate the case and discover that the young, female victim had been relocated from its original burial site.

A witness is convinced that a young female was struck by a vehicle back in the summer of 1990, and that police attended the scene. However, no record exists of either the accident or the reported victim. As the case develops, two retired police officers are murdered. The two are linked with others who were on duty at the time a road accident was reported. 

As Bliss and Chandler delve deeper into the investigation, they start to question whether senior officers may have been involved in the murder of the young women who was buried in the woods.

As each link in the chain is put under duress, so is Bliss who clashes with superiors and the media. 

When his team receives targeted warnings, Bliss will need to decide whether to drop the case or to pursue those responsible.

Will Bliss walk away in order to keep his career intact or will he fight no matter what the cost? 

And is it possible the killer is much closer than they imagined?

And now Tony J Forder:

The origins of Bad to the Bone come from its unpublished predecessor, Burnout. I had wanted to write something featuring locations and crimes based where I now live, in Peterborough, UK. For some reason I had one scene in my head that refused to budge, so I jumped into my car with a pad and pen and drove to the weir at Orton Mere, about five minutes from my home. There I breathed in the atmosphere and made pages of notes. Afterwards I drove to the city police HQ at Thorpe Wood, sat outside and again made copious notes (the architecture really is as uninspiring as I describe).

I had the germ of an idea which merged a missing boy case, local politics, and a race war in which victims were burned to death. What I needed was a central character, and so DI James Bliss was born. I read a lot of crime novels, and I see a lot of cop names that spark an image of toughness. I wanted something different, and somehow Bliss was the name I came up with. Then I teamed him up with a bright and enthusiastic foil in DC Penny Chandler.

Burnout was not an awful book. It was written reasonably well, and upon reflection I think the premise was and still is a good one. Ultimately, however, I failed to inject any pace or thrills into it; more a serious of incidents leading to a conclusion. However, out of the ashes rose Bliss and Chandler. They had both taken up residence inside my head, and I liked them enough to take them with me into my next story, which was Bad to the Bone.

I am fascinated by old cases that become new ones, and for me the obvious starting point was the unearthing of skeletal remains. I like to think I’m pretty good at sketching out back story, which was what I did in order to frame the victim in my head. Once I had decided who and what she was, other characters emerged naturally, and along with them came strands woven into the storyline. For me, that’s where the tale becomes real – it’s not the story that creates the characters, it’s the characters that create the story behind the story. And even though we never get to meet the victim, to me she is every bit as real as any of those who live and breathe in Bad to the Bone. I hope and trust my readers will feel the same as the story unfolds.

My characters are human, with human weaknesses, foibles and worries. They live life as we do, they experience it how we do. It takes chunks out of them as chunks are taken from us. I know that some writers believe that when writing the story must be so pre-structured that characters should never lead the author. If that’s right, then I’m wrong, because I hope I allow my characters room to grow, to breathe, and to take me places I had never envisaged. If they do that for me, then I am happy to be surprised by them.

Bad to the Bone is ultimately a story about redemption and justice. The past has a way of haunting us all.

About the Author:

On 1st February 2017, Tony signed to Bloodhound Books, who will publish his new edgy crime thriller Bad to the Bone this spring. It is the first in a series.

Later this year, Tony’s second novel for Bloodhound Books, Degrees of Darkness, featuring ex-detective Frank Rogers, will be published.

Tony has been writing stories since childhood, but it was only when he won a short story competition judged by an editor from Pan Books, that he realised he might actually be half decent at this writing business.

The story, Gino’s Bar and Grille, went on to be published in Dark Voices 2, part of the celebrated Pan Book of Horror series. Three further short story sales followed: Book End, published in Dark Voices 4, Character Role, in FEAR magazine, and finally A Grim Story, which featured in A Rattler’s Tale.

During a book singing for Dark Voices 2, Tony was seated next to author Brian Lumley. At one point, Tony revealed to Brian that he felt out of place alongside all the proper writers. Brian then told Tony something he has never forgotten: “The moment you sat down and pulled a story out of your imagination and put it to paper, you became a proper writer.”

Subsequently, Tony began to focus on novel writing. He admits that his initial attempts were exploratory and somewhat derivative, although there was some interest from an agent – who oddly enough turned out to be Brian Lumley’s wife, Dorothy.

Tony wrote Degrees of Darkness, which he was happy with. He wasn’t so happy with a follow-up, so that never saw the light of day. 

As a part-time writer with a full-time job, plus some ill-health, life got in the way and, although Tony continued writing, it took a back seat to making a living.

This year, however, Tony has been inspired by new ideas, and has been working hard on two new books, both of which should be completed in 2017. In the meantime, he hopes you enjoy Bad to the Bone, introducing DI James Bliss and DC Penny Chandler.

Thank you Tony J Forder. It was an honour to have you guest post today!

Pick up a copy of this novel from your favourite retailer or from the following link:

     

For more information on Tony J Forder, follow him on Facebook at: TonyJForder 

or Twitter at: @TonyJForder 

#BlogTour & #GuestPost
The Body In The Ice by A. J. MacKenzie @AJMacKnovels @BonnierZaffre

Synopsis:

A killer is at large and Reverend Hardcastle and Mrs Chaytor are on the case – but with a family feud raging and a vast inheritance at stake, it’s going to be a challenge. Will they be able to solve the crime and save the villagers of St Mary from the murderer in their midst?

Christmas Day, Kent, 1796

On the frozen fields of Romney Marsh stands New Hall; silent, lifeless, deserted. In its grounds lies an unexpected Christmas offering: a corpse, frozen into the ice of a horse pond.

It falls to the Reverend Hardcastle, justice of the peace at St Mary in the Marsh, to investigate. But with the victim’s identity unknown, no murder weapon and no known motive, it seems like an impossible task. Working along with his trusted friend, Amelia Chaytor, and new arrival Captain Edward Austen, Hardcastle soon discovers there is more to the mystery than there first appeared. 

With the arrival of an American family torn apart by war and desperate to reclaim their ancestral home, a French spy returning to the scene of his crimes, ancient loyalties and new vengeance combine to make Hardcastle and Mrs Chaytor’s attempts to discover the secret of New Hall all the more dangerous.

The Body in the Ice, with its unique cast of characters, captivating amateur sleuths and a bitter family feud at its heart, is a twisting tale that vividly brings to life eighteenth-century Kent and draws readers into its pages.

 

And now a little original content from A. J. Mackenzie:

 

Healing the wounds of war: bringing America and Britain together again after independence

The American War of Independence, which lasted from 1775-1782, was bitter as only a civil war can be. As in most civil conflicts, old friendships and even family relationships counted for nothing. Neighbour turned against neighbour, brothers against brothers, parents against children. People – on both sides – were prepared to commit brutal atrocities against others whom they had once known and loved.

In The Body in the Ice we present a family, the Rossiters, who have been torn apart by the war. Many real-life families suffered a similar fate. The most famous case is that of Benjamin Franklin, committed revolutionary and tireless servant of the republican cause. But his only son, William, was governor of the colony of New Jersey when war broke out, and remained faithful to King George.

Arrested by rebel militiamen, William Franklin refused to renounce his loyalty and was imprisoned. After his release he went to New York, then held by a British garrison, and at the end of the war, like thousands of other loyalists, he moved to Britain. (Tens of thousand of loyalists also emigrated to other British colonies, in Canada or the Caribbean.) William Franklin never returned to America, and he and his father only met once more before Ben died.

To compound the tragedy, William Franklin’s own son rejected his father and joined the rebels. He served as secretary to his grandfather, Ben Franklin, for many years.

The war thus left a huge legacy of bitterness that had somehow to be healed. But not everyone on either side wanted that to happen. In The Body in the Ice, we note that Lord Clavertye lost a brother, killed fighting on the British side, and as a result can barely bring himself to speak to Americans. His case was not unique.

On the American side, the Republican party, led by future president Thomas Jefferson, were resolutely anti-British and anti-monarchy. After the French Revolution of 1789, they strongly favoured the revolutionaries. Some were prepared to support the export of revolution to Britain, or lending military support to the French.

Opposed to them were the Federalists, led by John Adams, the second US president, and Alexander Hamilton. They saw Britain and America as natural allies, and wanted to heal the rift between America and Britain as soon as possible. Nor were they friendly to France. So tense was the situation between America and France that by 1797, the year when The Body in the Ice takes place, the two countries were close to war. The Republicans opposed any conflict with France, opening up a new fissure in American society.

In this uneasy time, with the bloody conflict still fresh in many memories, the Federalists and the more conciliatory British political leaders began groping towards a greater understanding. The first steps were difficult and painful, and as we show in The Body in the Ice, there were many setbacks, for the men of violence did not give up easily. Indeed, by 1812, Britain and America were once again at war and British forces burned the White House in Washington DC in 1814. It took a long time for those painful memories to fade, and for people of good will to prevail.

 

 About the Authors:

A.J. MacKenzie is the pseudonym of Marilyn Livingstone and Morgen Witzel, a collaborative Anglo-Canadian husband-and-wife duo. Between them they have written more than twenty non-fiction and academic titles, with specialisms including management, medieval economic history and medieval warfare.

The original idea for The Body…series came when the authors were living in Kent, when they often went down to Romney Marsh to enjoy the unique landscape and the beautiful old churches. The authors now live in Devon.

 

Thank you to A. J. Mackenzie and Bonnier Zaffre for allowing me to part of this blog tour!

It was truly an honour and pleasure to have you on my blog today.

 

This novel is available now!

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links:

                                          

For more information on Caro Fraser visit their website at: ajmackenzienovels.com 

or follow her on Twitter at: @AJMacKnovels

#BlogTour & #GuestPost
Two Voices, One Story
by Elaine Rizzo & Amy Masters

Synopsis:

This is the true story of a girl called Amy and the English “mother” who adopted her from an institute in China when she was just a baby.

It’s a story about love, family and identity; and the unbreakable bond between mother and daughter.

When Amy came to be adopted in 1999, China’s then notorious one-child policy had given rise to a generation of missing girls. Amy was one of them, destined to life in an orphanage if she was lucky enough to survive. That is, until she was adopted by a loving British couple who were desperate to give her the home she deserved; Elaine and Lee.

In this moving autobiography, Amy and Elaine chart their own personal experiences of their shared adoption story. Theirs is not a political account, but one which is open about the challenges of adopting a child from a foreign country and the long journey that follows; from China to the UK and from infancy through to adolescence, as Amy and her new family learn and grow together.

Now a bright and ambitious young woman on the eve of her eighteenth birthday, Amy is braced for an exciting journey into adulthood, one which her proud mother is delighted to be able to share.

Two Voices, One Story is a frank but uplifting account of the complex adoption process and the profound relationship between a mother and her adopted child.

And Now a Little Word from Elaine & Amy on Amy’s Adoption:

Elaine: Amy’s English Dad, Lee (my ex-husband) and I were always honest and open about the fact that she was adopted from almost the first moment we got her.

We always believed that we had no other option and that it would be best for her to grow up always having been aware of it, so to speak.

The most obvious reason for this was quite simply because she didn’t look like either of us, which we thought might cause her to wonder before she was very old at all and perhaps to get distressed.

There was also (inevitably) a certain amount of speculation over how we were came to be the parents of a Chinese child and we considered that being direct would minimise this.

When Amy was little, we used to play a game with her called “Amy is Adopted by her Loving Parents,” where she would lie on the couch pretending to be asleep in a cot at the Welfare Centre in China. Lee and I would pretend we were on the aeroplane on the way to get her and we would be chatting about how excited we were and how we couldn’t wait to meet her.

We would then pretend to be at the rendezvous in China and Lee would pick Amy up, carry her to me, saying “here’s your baby now,” (the exact words spoken when we first met her), and putting her in my arms. I would hug her, exclaiming how delighted I was to have such a beautiful daughter.

We played this game until Amy was too big for me to hold in my arms any longer.

We thought the enactment would give her sense of what happened and would also reassure her about how much we wanted to be her parents.

Despite this, Amy didn’t seem to realise what being adopted meant until she had been at school for about a year and some of the other girls had talked to her about it. I truly think that this was the first time she had realized that it meant that she had “other” parents somewhere out there and this made her “different” from her schoolmates.

She would come home in tears each afternoon for a few weeks, wanting us to find her Chinese parents so that they could come to the UK to live next door to us, so we could all be together. Amy never once said, interestingly, that she wanted to go back to China herself to live with her Chinese parents there, leaving her life in the UK behind.

She also went through a phase of telling me that I couldn’t tell her what to do as I wasn’t “even her real mother.”

We tried to explain how difficult things had been in the part of China she had been born in during the Spring of 1998 and that her parents had had no choice, that they had not been able to care for her, that they were needed to help regenerate the area and that China was their home.

We have always tried to bring Amy Tong Fang up to have respect for herself and others and particularly to have respect for her Chinese parents

Amy: I remember being sad and crying because my Chinese parents couldn’t come to live next door to us and because I never saw them.

I really missed them and although I didn’t remember either of them at all, I felt like there was a great big hole somewhere in my heart.

I told my English mum that it would make me feel better if she bought me expensive presents or let me ride my bike all around the house.

If I felt annoyed with her, I also used to tell her that I was going to go back to China to find them, but I never got further than the bottom of the garden, before I came back.

We used to talk about my Chinese parents sometimes and about what might have happened to them and why they hadn’t been able to care for me. 

Both: I think if we did it all over again, it would be better if Elaine could manage never to cry when Amy did and if she hadn’t told people quite so readily that Amy was adopted in order to stop speculation about her as sometimes it made her feel that her adoption was a more important thing about her than it really was.

About the Authors:

Elaine Rizzo (Elaine Masters) works in finance as a licensed insolvency practitioner for ClearDebt a company based in Manchester. Her daughter Amy Masters is now eighteen and at college. She enjoys art and design and her ambition is to become a photographer when she graduates. Both now live near Cardigan in West Wales.

It was an honour to have Elaine & Amy on my blog today.

This book will be published by Clink Street Publishing on March 21, 2017.

Pick up a copy of this novel from your favourite retailer or from the following link:

Amazon UK

#BlogTour #GuestPost
Secret Demon 2 by C.L. Ryan

Synopsis:

Once again the Murphy household is in chaos, and on top of that a rogue Demon is on the loose and has taken up residence on the estate, with dire consequences. Tom is still working away, leaving Patsy alone and struggling with day to day living and her own Demon. Megan has a very important cooking exam to pass, but money is short for the ingredients. Bonfire night, which is the biggest night of the year is approaching fast, and Patsy cooks for the whole street, and on top of that the family have the worry of being evicted from their house, as they are being relentlessly bullied by the local police Sargent who now knows the families secret. Will they survive?

And Now C.L. Ryan:

Well here I am at the age of fifty seven, Grandmother of two, totally dyslexic and being asked to do a guest post.  

Question? How did this writing malarkey all start? I was recently asked. Good question I replied, now let me think.

About three years ago, my partner suddenly became afflicted with a terrible eye disease, which needed a lot of very nasty and serious treatment to save his sight. This meant hours of travelling to Bristol Eye Hospital, up and down sometimes as much as twice a week. This actually wasted so much time it was unbelievable, I would be sat in the car outside sometimes for hours on end, waiting for him to stumble out into the brightness after his treatment, only to come back again a couple of days later, and do this all again.

After one particular day, where I was waiting nearly three hours in the car, my brain numb, listening to the radio, and reading at least two daily papers, and I magazine, thinking to myself, I decided to have a clear out of one of the cupboards at home, that I knew held about eight or nine of my old A4 writing notebooks, which I always took with me whenever I went anywhere, especially holidays, but never threw away when I got home.   I thought I might bring them with me, and make some notes on shopping for the week, and what little jobs needed to be done at home ect, just something to scribble on to keep me from going insane, while I was waiting in the car, and of course I could get rid of all those that were full and needed throwing away. Good job I didn’t. When I got home and went to the cupboard and started going through them all, I was flabbergasted reading through them, some dated as long as twenty years ago, when I was learning to dive in the red sea, and there it was again and again and again, the same thing. Although the name of the book has changed now, all these writing books that I have saved revealed to me all my scribblings, notes, thoughts ,traumas, events, oh my goodness, it had been staring at me, right in my face for so long, and here it was again shouting at me very loud!!

The next day we were going to the hospital, my partner spied this pile of notebooks in the back of the car “what in god’s name are you doing with that pile of rubbish?” he asked me, seeing the back seat piled up high. I smiled back at him and replied, “oh just something for me to do while I am waiting for you”. My brain was fizzing on the way to Bristol, some twenty seven miles from Weston Super Mare, which usually took from between one hour, to one hour and twenty minutes depending on the traffic, and I couldn’t wait to get him out of the car, once we had parked, “go on hurry up don’t be late for your appointment” I shouted at him, I was so excited just trembling at the thought of getting my hungry paws onto this pile of books, and start reading what I had already written some time ago. Three hours later, I had written my opening paragraph, not even realizing while I was sat there, a traffic warden had given me a parking ticket for running over the time I had purchased, I was so engrossed in what I was doing, suddenly jumping up as my partner banged on the window to let him in, I was in heaven, away with the fairies and angels in my own little inner space, and that was it, I was off, succumbed into the world of writing, literature and all the ups and downs this business brings, I was suddenly in love, in love with doing something, for the first time in my life for me!! Yes me!!

After three long years of emotional ups and downs, tears, frustrations, and long nights and early mornings at the computer, she was finally born, Secret Demon my little baby girl, my nurtured inner child came out into the big wide world, and I am so very proud that she has.

Would I do this again, yes of course, I wrote so much over the last three years, I now have 3 books and I am just finishing the fourth.

Book two is just about to be published. Excited, you bet!! Just can’t seem to put the pen down, and all this from just being bored and deciding to look back into a pile of old A4 writing books I kept from my travels.

All the time I was bored and needing to be fulfilled, and seemed to be wasting time, the one thing I yearned for all along was right under my nose, I just kept passing it by. So go on! Open up those cupboards, have a clear out, check your junk, you might just find something very precious, just like I did!

About the Author:

After over thirty years working in the hospitality sector Bristol-born C.L Ryan is now living in Somerset with her partner. Also a psychic medium C.L Ryan’s life experiences have influenced and inspired her paranormal series Secret Demons. Her other passions are cooking and diving —and she is a qualified BSAC Diving Instructor, BSAC Open Water Instructor and BSAC Advanced Diver— completing dives around the world from Tobago to Minorca and closer to home in Cornwall. Her first book Secret Demon 1 was published by Mirador December 2015.

It was an honour to have C.L. Ryan guest post today!

This book will be published by Mirador on March 14, 2017.

Pick up a copy of this novel from your favourite retailer.

For more information on C.L. Ryan, visit her website at: angelicalskies.co.uk

#BlogTour #GuestPost
Gustave Flaubert: The Ambiguity of Imagination by Giuseppe Cafiero

Synopsis:

What would happen if a character, even if only roughly sketched in the mind of a writer, decided to take on a life independent of his creator in order to take revenge against all the other characters that this author had created in his other books?

This is what happens to the legendary writer Gustave Flaubert, when his character Harel-Bey comes to life with a grudge to bear. Even the imaginary characters of books that Monsieur Flaubert has never actually written, but had long pondered and discussed with his most intimate friends, begin to stir with their own motivations.

Quite unexpectedly, Harel-Bey begins a long and difficult journey through the writings of Monsieur Flaubert to try to understand the reasons that induced the writer to write so many books and stories, but never the one that would have had him as leading protagonist. As a vengeful killer, Harel-Bey is determined to murder all of the protagonists of the books and stories Flaubert has written.

In the company of a certain Monsieur Bouvard, himself the star of another book which Flaubert had started but never finished, Harel-Bey seeks his revenge. There’s will be a mission rich in disturbing discoveries, revealing the reasons and the irrationalities of fictionalised reality and unreal fiction.

About The Work of Gustave Flaubert:

It was almost a duty to write about Gustave Flaubert.

Flaubert is a unique writer, sublime in his stylistic perfection. A very good reason to be intrigued, so that it’s all the more interesting to explore him, his work as a writer, his life.

An arduous journey but a rewarding one, because Flaubert remains inimitable and he reciprocates every effort to know him with fascinating and unexpected discoveries that prompt investigations and explorations. Flaubert created a myriad of unforgettable characters whom he then released so that they could live their own lives in the minds of his readers.

Therefore, I thought that it would be very stimulating to write a story which would also involve the characters in Flaubert’s books, to allow them to experience a fascinating and different adventure.

Almost an irregular book that would, in some way, go beyond the classic and stereotyped schemes of narrative tradition to explore distinctive notes from a different, perhaps even dark and suggestive, perspective, and above all with the urgent and emotional participation of one sitting down to write, nurturing a particular admiration for Flaubert.

A true interest and a particular interest are the primary reasons for my journey into Flaubert’s world. Almost an intimate and specular journey characterized by two primary elements: his life and the characters in his books. These two ingredients, never so specifically explored in other writings on Flaubert, were, in my opinion, fundamental in Flaubert’s literary life and thus they became the pillars on which to construct a sequence of events, a narrative, a literary game.

Then there are the obsessions. Obsessions that were almost a paradigm necessary to better understand Flaubert the man and the writer. Obsessions that were subtle and tragic spells that consumed him slowly and inexorably. Especially the obsessions with writing, the obsessions with creativity, the obsession with an imposed solitude when he took to living in his Croisset retreat along the banks of the Seine among roses and honeysuckles, the obsession with satisfying and unsatisfying loves: for his mother and for his mistress Louise Colet.

A life that appeared to be a frantic and relentless race toward already reached and unreachable goals previously proposed as destinations to be conquered, hence a painful race without him ever having set aside that manifest rationality of principle that always governed his life.

Flaubert also represented, and represents, a particular moment in regard to any type of traditions, customs and consolidated habits in nineteenth-century writing. Flaubert’s was an artistic break implemented and practised by means of an operational complexity that involved him as a man able to put himself on the line against an excessively conformist society.

When we consider his choice as a writer able to overcome past customs of writing and of psychological investigations of the characters he created, what immediately stands out is his specificity in the care taken in the writing he proposed as an absolute communicative sign, as a unique occasion to present images that seem alive and an integral part of the narrative discourse.

Thus Flaubert recounts the plots and the characters through the use of expressive notes which provide, with a magical commitment and iron will, a persuasive and enchanted tale, an incomparable sign of writing.

For Flaubert, writing becomes a mission, almost a rite. A votive ritual for which there is significant value in narrating stories that must respect a rite which is no longer the bourgeois rite but an investigation capable of demonstrating new sensations whilst experimenting with new languages.

In the definition of his narrative style, reality assumes a value that is almost a moving immortality rich in compelling drama, because quite often life is not always full of mellow merriments, of affable sweetness, of pleasant realities.

Indeed the writing is used to express feelings and to evoke and arouse strong emotions, exactly in the contrasts when characters are placed side by side. The style is characterized principally by assiduously sought words, able to create three-dimensional effects in a choral ensemble that is a unique representation of writing hitherto never employed or conceived.

Therefore, Flaubert’s writings are imbued with vitality in a form that seems to caress expressionist tones. A continuous theme that leads to precise, intimate, persuasive writing. On closer look, it is nothing but writing with dimensions limited to places and people: people become necessary to survive, thus to participate in the story, in life, in becoming.

It was necessary then to define the places, the circumstances, the people. Places as identities of a life, circumstances as a mirror of psychological conditions, people as occasions to decipher sentiments.

Flaubert was, therefore, a unique, decidedly innovative writer, a precise calibrator of feelings and events.

About the Author:

Giuseppe Cafiero is a prolific writer of plays and fiction who has produced numerous programs for the Italian-Swiss Radio, Radio Della Svizzera Italiana, and Slovenia’s Radio Capodistria. The author of ten published works focusing on cultural giants from Vincent Van Gogh to Edgar Allan Poe, Cafiero lives in Italy, in the Tuscan countryside.

It was an honour to have Giuseppe Cafiero guest post today!

Pick up a copy of this novel from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

Amazon UKBarnes & Noble

For more information on Giuseppe Cafiero, visit his website at: giuseppecafiero.com

or follow him on Facebook at: giuseppe.scrittore

%d bloggers like this: