#BlogTour #Extract The Coronation by #JustinNewland @LoveBooksGroup @matadorbooks #HistoricalFiction

Hello lovelies! Today I have an exclusive extract from The Coronation by Justin Newland as part of the blog tour organised by Kelly at Love Books Group Tours but first a little about the book:

The Coronation Book Cover

Title: The Coronation by Justin Newland

Date Published: 5th November 2019

Publisher: Matador

Genre: Historical Fiction

Description:

It is 1761. Prussia is at war with Russia and Austria. As the Russian army occupies East Prussia, King Frederick the Great and his men fight hard to win back their homeland.

In Ludwigshain, a Junker estate in East Prussia, Countess Marion von Adler celebrates an exceptional harvest. But this is soon requisitioned by Russian troops. When Marion tries to stop them, a Russian Captain strikes her. His Lieutenant, Ian Fermor, defends Marion’s honour, but is stabbed for his insubordination. Abandoned by the Russians, Fermor becomes a divisive figure on the estate.

Close to death, Fermor dreams of the Adler, a numinous eagle entity, whose territory extends across the lands of Northern Europe and which is mysteriously connected to the Enlightenment. What happens next will change the course of human history…

You can buy your copy here: https://amzn.to/30gasrX

Add The Coronation to your Goodreads shelf: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/49615465-the-coronation  

Coronation

Extract:

This extract is from Chapter 7. It’s from the point of view of Marion, Countess von Adler, and takes place in a church. Konstantin is a church warder, when sober, that is. The passage makes more sense if you understand that Adler in German means eagle.

Marion bowed to the altar and edged towards the curtain where Konstantin stood waiting for her. Standing next to him was like balancing on a dinghy in a rough sea, because he was swaying this way and that, guided at each turn by the vapours of intoxication. He eventually managed to hand her the pull-cord for the curtain, which she grasped in hands moist with nervous energy.

She recalled the first time she had performed this ceremony. It was soon after her marriage, some seventeen years ago. Then, when unveiling the statue, she nearly fainted with the shock of seeing it. Over the years since, the aura of mystery surrounding the statue had never diminished. An enthralled silence descended on the church.

Pulling the cord revealed the strange and incongruous statue of Our Lady von Adler.

The congregation let out a collective gasp. They always did. Every year. There was the statue in all its glory – a traditional interpretation of Our Lady dressed in a pale blue upper garment and white surplice, palms flat on her thighs, staring through the walls and out into the depths of the universe. With her other-worldly gaze, she was stealing a furtive glance into the sacred, tremulous core of life itself.

While from the neck down the rendering of the statue was entirely conventional, what was perched on her head was anything but.

There, with its talons buried in Our Lady’s head, was an adler – an eagle, a double-headed golden eagle. The sculptor had captured the moment when the King of the birds was about to take off, its huge wings spread wide, its beak open. Its claws were buried deep in her scalp.

With a life-size eagle perched unceremoniously on her head, the marriage of bird and human was both an incongruous enigma and an abiding mystery. Her own head was aching again. She couldn’t move.

She closed her eyes, opened and then quickly closed them. In that moment, she got a vivid impression. The Virgin Mary’s head was an egg. An egg! And the eagle was going to rip it off Our Lady’s neck and fly off with it.

Then she realised. The eagle was taking it off to its nest.

It was going to keep it by its brood patch to incubate.

The head of the Virgin Mary was an egg, a womb!

When she opened her eyes, the impression had vanished – and was replaced by a tidal wave of pain gushing through her own head. 

About The Author:

Justin Newland writes history with a supernatural bent. His novels are The Genes of Isis,

Justin Newland with copies of his books, at Waterstones book store.

an epic fantasy set under Ancient Egyptian skies, and The Old Dragon’s Head, a historical fantasy played out in the shadows of the Great Wall of China. He lives with his partner in Somerset, England.

#AuthorInterview Fresh Eggs And Dog Beds by Nick Albert @Nickalbertautho @rararesources #BlogTour #Memoir

Hello lovelies! As part of the blog tour for Fresh Eggs and Dog Beds, I have a fab Q&A with the author Nick Albert but first a little about the book:

Fresh Eggs Kindle

Title: Fresh Eggs and Dog Beds by Nick Albert 

Date Published: 25th September 2017

Genre: Memoir

Description:

Nick and Lesley Albert yearn to leave the noise, stress and pollution of modern Britain and move to the countryside, where the living is good, the air sweet, with space for their dogs to run free. Suddenly out of work and soon to be homeless, they set off in search of a new life in Ireland, a country they had never visited. As their adventure began to unfold, not everything went according to plan. If finding their dream house was difficult, buying it seemed almost impossible. How would they cope with banks that didn’t want customers, builders who didn’t need work, or the complex issue of where to buy some chickens?

Purchase Links –

UK 

Kindle: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B075NY9BNN/

Paperback: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1977611605

Audible: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1977611605

USA

Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B075NY9BNN/

Paperback: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1977611605

Audible: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1977611605

Fresh Eggs and Dog Beds Full Tour Banner

Q&A with Nick Albert:

Can you tell me a little bit about your book?

‘Fresh Eggs and Dog Beds’ is the first in a five-book series of humorous memoirs chronicling our quirky lives since we gave up the stress and pollution of modern Britain and bought a derelict farmhouse in beautiful rural Ireland – a country we had never before visited. Hindered by a lack of experience and money, we combined our optimism and enthusiasm with a second-hand DIY manual and set about renovating our new home. Since then, we’ve rescued seven dogs and two cats, become reluctant chicken farmers and learned to live life at a slower pace. Along the way there were many thrills and spills, some sadness and tragedy, but overall our new life has brought us lots of laughs. We really are living the dream! 


Where did the inspiration for your book come from?

As an Englishman living in Ireland, I’m frequently asked, “Why did you move here?” This happy event usually occurs at dinner parties, soon after I’ve cornered some unsuspecting stranger in the kitchen. Lacking what most people would consider appropriate social filters, I tended to treat that polite ice-breaking enquiry as a genuine expression of interest, requiring a comprehensive answer and perhaps a slideshow of photographs. After a few minutes, these poor unfortunates would either pretend to have a heart attack, or politely slip under my arm mumbling, “You should write a book.”

Okay, that’s not entirely correct! In truth, I was extremely lucky to find a publisher with vision and patience who loved my story. Even though they disliked the rambling manuscript I’d already written, they could see the potential for five or more memoirs and were prepared to work with me for a year while I wrote the first Fresh Eggs and Dog Beds book.   


If you could describe your book in one sentence what would it be?

The comical tale of an English couple and their unruly dogs searching for a better life in rural Ireland. 


What is a typical writing day like for you?

I like my routines and need to have a clear desk and a focused mind before I begin writing. Every morning after breakfast, I’ll take my dogs for a long walk through the forest or across the moorland surrounding our house. After some exercise and a shower, I’m usually ready to write by around 11am. Ideally, I’ll start my workday by catching up with emails, fan mail, social media and other marketing tasks. It’s amazing how much stuff authors have to do these days, outside of research and writing. On a good day, my desk is clear and I’m ready to write by around 2pm. I have a strict rule not to work beyond 6pm, except for when my wife is away in England visiting family. If I’m close to a print deadline and feeling the need for a little more writing time, I’ll announce a period of ‘Digital Detox’. It’s rather a false economy as there’s usually a bunch of catching up to do when I go back online, but sometimes the writing has to take priority.

If you could recommend just one book to read what would it be and why?

If I could only have one book, it would be the life story of British Air Force pilot Robert Stanford Tuck, ‘Fly for your life’ written by Larry Forrester. Not only is it a cracking tale of bravery during the Battle of Britain and whilst he was a prisoner of war, it’s a really well written memoir.

Who are your favourite authors?

Hmm. That’s a tough question to answer honestly.  My book collection is somewhat eclectic; I’m not sure what that says about me. As well as a library, I have dozens of stacked boxes bulging with hundreds of golf books, biographies featuring authors from all walks of life, loads of thrillers, some sci-fi and the complete works of Sue Grafton, Lee Child, Tom Holt, Terry Pratchett and William Shakespeare. I’m never without a book. One secret I can reveal, if I’m writing comedy, I’ll only read thrillers – and vice versa. When I was a student living in Norwich, England, my first flat was next door to the best second-hand bookshop in the city. What heaven! Back then I read a lot of sci-fi books and thrillers, purely for the escapism. Because I was from an Air Force family, I also collected hundreds of military biographies. Other favourites in my collection were Clive James, David Niven and Spike Milligan. These books were treasured possessions, I still have most of them now. 


Tell me something interesting about yourself (that’s not in your author bio!)

At the age of 14, when I still had hair and before I acquired wrinkles, I worked as a professional actor on stage and TV. Before my dad convinced me I’d be better off with a proper job, I even did a little modelling! 

What are you currently working on?

I’m well into writing book four of the Fresh Eggs and Dog Beds series. At the same time, I’m working with Andy Stevenson, who is doing an awesome job narrating the Audible audio version of book three. 

About The Author: 

Nick Albert was born in England and raised in a Royal Air Force family. After leaving College he worked in retail management for several years before moving into financial Fresh Eggs Author ireland 3 004services where he quickly progressed through the ranks to become a training consultant. As a very passionate and reasonably talented sportsman, Nick had always wanted to use his training skills towards creating a parallel career, so in the mid 1980’s he qualified and began coaching sport professionally. After a health scare in 2003 and in search of a simpler life, he and his wife Lesley, cashed in their investments, sold their home and bought a rundown farmhouse in the rural west of Ireland – a country they had never before even visited. With little money or experience and armed only with a do-it-yourself manual, they set about renovating their new home, where they now live happily alongside a flock of chickens, two ducks and several unruly, but delightful dogs.
In 2017 Nick was signed to Ant Press to write a series of humorous memoirs about his life in rural Ireland. Fresh Eggs and Dog Beds (book one) was published in September 2017 and soon became an Amazon bestseller. Book two in the series was published on 1st June 2018 and book 3 in August 2019. Book four is due out in early 2020.

Nick is also the author of the twisty thriller, Wrecking Crew, the first in a series of books featuring reluctant hero Eric Stone.

Social Media Links:

https://www.amazon.com/Nick-Albert/e/B00B0126PU/

https://www.facebook.com/author.nick.albert

https://www.facebook.com/NickAlbertAuthor/

https://www.nickalbert.co.uk/

https://www.instagram.com/nickalbertauthor/

https://twitter.com/Nickalbertautho

http://nickalbert.allauthor.com/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6886008.Nick_Albert

https://nickalbertauthor.blogspot.com/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCkJbnDhXu73jaDz4vqIpK0w/

#BlogTour #GuestPost A Cornish Inheritance by Terri Nixon @TerriNixon @PiatkusBooks @annecater #ACornishInheritance

Hello lovelies! Today I have a fantastic guest post from Terri Nixon about the inspiration behind her novel A Cornish Inheritance but first a little about the book:

Title: A Cornish Inheritance by Terri Nixon 

Publisher:  Piatkus 

Date Published: 5th December 2019

Genre: Historical Fiction

Description:

Welcome to Fox Bay Hotel, where family fortunes rise and fall.

1920, Bristol. Helen Fox is happily married to the love of her life: charming, former playboy Harry. With their three children, glamorous lifestyle and extravagant parties, they have the perfect life. But after a tragic motorcycle accident, nothing will ever be the same…

Helen is forced to leave their home and move to the Fox family’s hotel on the Cornish coast – where she discovers her perfect life has been based on a lie.

Now Helen must find a way to build a new life for herself and her children with the help of a vivacious new friend, Leah Marshall.

But when the future of the hotel is threatened, Helen discovers that she hasn’t left her past behind after all, and unless she takes drastic action, she’s going to lose everything all over again…

You can buy your copy here:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Cornish-Inheritance-Fox-Bay-Saga/dp/0349423989

Cornish Inheritance BT Poster

Guest Post: Meet the Foxes of Fox Bay

1920s Fox Bay Hotel is a bit of a glamour trap. A former monastery, now a holiday destination for the most discerning of guests, and situated on the coast within a stone’s throw of a picturesque village. An art deco dream of a place… Too too perfect, darling, you simply must go! But sign up a lawyer first…

I was all fired up ready to write a fourth volume in the Penhaligon Saga; I’d written a detailed outline, which I loved (I still do) and was hoping my publisher would pick it up. But they decided the saga had run its course, had tied everything up nicely in book 3, and answered all the questions I’d asked in book 2. ‘We’d like you to write something new.’ 

So I plucked something out of mid-air and threw it at my agent. ‘Uh, how about a… a hotel? Set on the South Devon coast?’ It would be so wonderful to write something set in the area in which I was born, and a hotel would give me the opportunity to have any number of different types of guests, with their own interesting secrets and stories. I was buzzing already.

The publisher was equally enthusiastic. ‘Sounds great, send in a submission package. We particularly love that it’s set in Devon!’ 

Hooray! 

I wrote an outline and the first three chapters, and sent it all off. 

‘Yes please, we’ll take 3. Only please could you set it in Cornwall instead?’

So I happily re-set my fictional village on the west coast of Cornwall and began the exciting job of getting to know my characters.

A few years ago a good friend of mine moved into a gorgeous flat that had once been part of a military hospital here in Plymouth. He’d gone exploring up in a communal attic space and found this painted on one of the beams: 

a cornish inheritance pic

H & H, The Heavenly Twins… what’s not to love about that? He knew I’d be all over it, and he was right; when I realised I’d called my main character Helen, and her husband Harry, I knew I had to incorporate that mysterious, hastily-painted little slice of history somehow. 

And so the Heavenly Twins were born. 

Harry the bon viveur and former playboy, living – in modern parlance – his “best life,” in the years immediately following the Great War, and throwing the biggest and glitziest parties, with the brightest and smartest friends.

Helen, not quite timid, but certainly no social butterfly, could hardly believe he’d chosen her at first, and she wasn’t the only one, but in the years since they married they have defied expectation and silenced the critics. Their marriage has been passionate and rock-solid, and their three children are adorable but headstrong individuals, who have grown up rich in matters both material and emotional. Everyone loves the Foxes.

But of course this can’t last; it’s a family drama! If this family existed in a soap you’d just know there was something nasty in the woodshed; some shade from the past, or a terrible decision, is going to shove a spanner in the spokes, and the fates just sit back and watch with a sly grin, while everything collapses.

So it is with the Foxes. When Helen has to take the children away from the home they’ve known all their lives, and even the memories of those halcyon days are tainted, she has to re-evaluate her situation, and, at the same time as she’s coming to terms with her own “new normal,” she has to protect her children’s futures. 

She makes a new friend, Leah Marshall, a widow with a shady past, but such a talent for mimicry and play-acting that the Foxes warm to her immediately. She brightens everything, becomes an honorary aunt to the children, and later, when Helen has cause to question her honesty and her intentions, I hope the readers will feel the conflict as deeply as if Leah is a real member of the family. She’s a question mark, hidden by the brightness of her own smile. 

Helen herself is unused to standing her ground and having to fight for what’s hers, and all we can do is watch, and will her on. The family motto is Vulpes latebram suam defendit – The fox defends his lair. Helen has a lot of work to do…

The second half of the first book, A Cornish Inheritance, prominently features one of the now grown “children,” and each of the next two books will do the same for the others. It’s been interesting to see how the sudden change in lifestyle has affected the “cubs” during their formative years, and each of them has their own individual set of interests and ambitions, which can lead them into dangerous, potentially deadly, situations. But will they listen to me, the mere author? As if! They’re just going to go right on with what they’re doing, and if they won’t listen to me, what do you suppose chances are that they’ll listen to Helen?

So hold on to your hats; those Fox cubs are going to shake things up at the bay, and the shockwaves might well stretch across the whole of Cornwall!

About The Author: 

Terri was born in Plymouth. At the age of 9, she moved with her family to Cornwall, to Terri Nixon Author Picthe village featured in Jamaica Inn — North Hill — where she discovered a love of writing that has stayed with her ever since. She also discovered apple-scrumping, and how to jump out of a hayloft without breaking any bones, but no-one’s ever offered to pay her for doing those.

Since publishing in paperback for the first time in 2002, Terri has appeared in both print and online fiction collections, and is proud to have contributed to the Shirley Jackson award-nominated hardback collection: Bound for Evil, by Dead Letter Press.

As a Hybrid author, her first commercially published novel was Maid of Oaklands Manor, published by Piatkus Entice.

Terri’s self-published Mythic Fiction series set in Cornwall, The Lynher Mill Chronicles, is now complete and available in paperback and e-book.

Terri also writes under the name T Nixon, and has contributed to anthologies under the names Terri Pine and Teresa Nixon. She is represented by the Kate Nash Literary Agency. She now lives in Plymouth with her youngest son, and works in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at Plymouth University, where she is constantly baffled by the number of students who don’t possess pens.

Twitter @TerriNixon

Website : http://www.terrinixon.com/

#BlogTour #AuthorInterview Jupiter’s Fire by William Osborne @rararesources @ConradPress

Hello lovelies, today I have a fantastic Q&A with author William Osborne but first a little about his new book:

Jupiters Fire cover v1

Title: Jupiter’s Fire by William Osborne

Date Published: 1st December 2019

Publisher: Conrad Press

Genre: YA Historical Adventure

Description:

When Franco, a teenager living in the monastery at Monte Cassino in 1944 uncovers a long-lost Roman Eagle, the fabled Aquila for the Jupiter Legion, he sets in motion a desperate struggle to prevent the Nazis from using it to win the war. In a do-or-die mission, Franco and Dulcie, a teenage mountain girl, must steal the Eagle back and escape before its deadly power is unleashed. Pursued by the implacable forces of the SS they will discover not just the secrets of the Eagle but also themselves.

Q&A with William Osborne:

Can you tell me a little bit about your book? 

It’s the third book in a trilogy, all featuring a teenage boy and girl who get caught up in an exciting adventure set in World War Two. In Jupiter’s Fire the two protagonists must steal a mystical and dangerous Roman artefact before the Nazis use its power to win the war. So, not much at stake then!!


Where did the inspiration for your book come from? 

A trip to Naples, learning about the city, Vesuvius and remembering a quote from my time as a screenwriter.  “Start with a volcano and work up to a climax!” Unfortunately the volcano is at the end in my story. 


If you could describe your book in one sentence what would it be? 

Amazeballs.


What is a typical writing day like for you? 

I don’t really have one. Some days I start early, some days late. But always put in two to three hours minimum.

 

If you could recommend just one book to read what would it be and why? 

HMS Ulysses by Alaistair Maclean. I’m not sure why because it is dated and old and nobody has heard of it any more, but it’s depiction of the North Atlantic Convoys going round the Arctic Circle to Russia in the Second World War while being hunted by U Boats is shattering in its verisimilitude. 


Who are your favourite authors?

Scott Fitzgerald

Boris Pasternak

William Boyd when he’s on form.

George McDonald Fraser

Mal Peet

I have so many… 


Is writing your only job? If not, what is your other job?

I started life as a barrister, then became a screenwriter which I still do though I am concentrating now on my fiction writing. 


Tell me something interesting about yourself (that’s not in your author bio!)

I collect old Military helmets from the German and British Empire time, ie, pre 1914.


What are you currently working on? 

I have two screenplays on the go, a romantic comedy set in 1980s England and a dark thriller set in up state New York in 1960.  I am also planning my next novel where the hero is a young woman secret agent in yes, World War Two!!

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About The Author: 

William Osborne – Born 1960 – educated at Greshams School, Holt, Norfolk and Robert Louis Stevenson, Pebble Beach, California,  studied law at Cambridge,(MA),  barrister at law, Member of the Middle Temple. Screenwriter and member of Writers Guild of America (West) – Author (published works, 1994, 1998, Hitler’s Angel, Winter’s Bullet, Jupiter’s Fire).  Lives in Norfolk, enjoys life, film, dog walking, cold water swimming, lego, collecting odd stuff, driving his beach buggy.

#BlogTour #GuestPost Appetite For Risk by Jack Leavers @jackleavers @BookGuild @damppebbles #damppebblesblogtours #AppetiteforRisk

Hello lovelies and welcome to my stop on the Appetite for Risk blog tour, where I’ll be bring you a fab guest post from the author Jack Leavers. A little heads up for bargain hunters out there, Appetite for Risk (ebook) will be part of a BookBub deal on Saturday 14th September. The ebook will also be discounted to 99p/99¢ for a limited time before and after 14th September.

Title: Appetite for Risk by Jack Leavers

Publisher: Book Guild

Date Published: 28th July 2019

Genre: Thriller

Description:

A fast-paced action thriller inspired by real events in the aftermath of the Iraq War. 

With Saddam Hussein deposed and an entire country in need of rebuilding, former Royal Marine John Pierce hears the siren call of adventure and opportunity. His fledgling UK business is struggling to support his young family and he has connections in the Iraqi capital – fate seems to point one way. 

In early 2004, Pierce rolls the dice when he jumps into a taxi in Jordan and heads for the turmoil of postwar Baghdad to grab a share of the reconstruction gold rush. But when Iraq spirals into the hell of a full-blown insurgency, he must rely on his wits and his local friends if he’s to evade the rampant bloodshed. 

As the action rolls across the blood-stained Iraqi landscape and embraces London’s seedy underbelly, Pierce tangles with the authorities at home and finds himself thrust into the heart of British and American covert operations against Al-Qaeda in Iraq. 

Having set out with little more than ambitious goals and an appetite for risk, can a determined ex-bootneck survive the mounting chaos unscathed and succeed in hitting the jackpot?

You Can Buy Your Copy Here:

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1912881500?pf_rd_p=330fbd82-d4fe-42e5-9c16-d4b886747c64&pf_rd_r=495P23HZTS03A7F828CV

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Appetite-Risk-Jack-Leavers/dp/1912881500/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=appetite+for+risk+jack+leavers&qid=1567159896&s=gateway&sr=8-1

Waterstones: https://www.waterstones.com/book/appetite-for-risk/jack-leavers/9781912881505

Foyles: https://www.foyles.co.uk/witem/fiction-poetry/appetite-for-risk,jack-leavers-9781912881505

Nook: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/appetite-for-risk-jack-leavers/1132664453

Google Books: https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=AfmkDwAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=appetite+for+risk&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwidq9GZrqrkAhVhQRUIHVlRBAIQ6AEIMjAB#v=onepage&q=appetite%20for%20risk&f=false

APPETITE FOR RISK BLOG TOUR

Fact or Fiction?

Appetite for Risk is a novel set in the aftermath of the Iraq War. It features a fictional main character, former Royal Marine (ex-bootneck) John Pierce, attempting to grab a share of the perceived reconstruction gold rush in Baghdad. That said, it’s fiction that is inspired by my own experiences as an ex-bootneck trying to achieve exactly the same fifteen years ago.

Many authors and their novels are inspired by a sprinkling of real life experience without making a big deal of it, so what makes Appetite for Risk different? To my mind, it’s the nature of the experiences I’ve used and how much they drive the story.

This novel was my first effort at creative writing since school. I’ll caveat that – it was my first attempt at writing purely for entertainment since my schooldays. In my role as an investigator and then a security & risk management consultant, I’ve often needed to get creative over the years with reports, assessments, scenarios, contingency planning, and producing cunning operational plans for a variety of tasks all over the world. 

Step back to late 2017 and you’d have found me frustrated with delayed projects and late payments from overseas projects. On a whim, I decided to have a go at writing the book I’d always been encouraged to produce. I’ve never kept a diary or journal and there were too many legal skeletons lurking, so a memoir or non-fiction was out of the question. Instead, I wanted to write a novel that utilised a couple of memorable events from my times in Iraq. A particular road trip to Basra in late 2004, and my taxi rides from Amman to Baghdad in early 2004 that seemed madness on reflection (and not much better at the time).

My intention was to weave a fictional plot around these two elements and produce a full length novel of 90,000 – 100,000 words. Well, that’s not strictly true. My initial intention was to see if I could write a single reasonable chapter. I had tried writing a couple of pages ten years earlier out of boredom when stuck in Northern Iraq without electricity one day. The less said about those pages the better. On my return to the UK I’d even bought a ‘How to Write a Novel’ book, which had sat largely unread for the next decade.

The problem I quickly encountered was explaining how John Pierce came to be in Iraq, including why he made the decision to embark on such a perilous business plan. Slowly I found myself adding more and more layers of my own experiences and rationale (?) because any other explanation seemed unbelievable.

Because every decision made and every action taken has a myriad of justifications, consequences, and interwoven links with so many other factors, it became natural to set the actual flow of events down on paper as they had happened, including aspects of family, business, and related shenanigans in the UK. Using my professional background, I could then introduce ‘what-ifs’ that developed into fictional plot lines and allowed me the flexibility to add new scenes & characters, and ‘sex-up’ some memories to suit.

So, is Appetite for Risk fact or fiction?

It’s fiction, as I said. But to those who know me now and knew me back in 2004, it also contains a snapshot of my life as captured through the eyes of ex-bootneck John Pierce.

And how much of the book is ‘creative non-fiction’?

I’d estimate 60% is based on memory. And in some instances, even those featured in the book can’t remember where reality stops and the fiction starts.

Yours aye, Jack.

About The Author:

Jack Leavers is a former Royal Marine with over thirty-years’ experience spread across the military, private security, corporate investigations, maritime counter-piracy, and risk JL Tmanagement. His varied career has included numerous deployments to conflict zones around the world such as Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Iraq, Afghanistan, trouble spots in Africa, and the Somali pirate-infested waters of the Indian Ocean.

Jack continues to work in challenging environments and has now begun to pen novels inspired by some of the more enterprising projects that got the green light, and other audacious plans that didn’t.

The current WIP is a follow up to Appetite for Risk that sees ex-bootneck John Pierce return to face a ruthless enemy in Africa.

Jack is normally based in London, UK, but finds he’s at his most productive writing-wise when deployed overseas. Trips to Iraq and Africa beckon, so the follow up should be finished soon.

Social Media:

Twitter: https://jackleavers.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Jack-Leavers-Author-2132537826799473/

Website: https://twitter.com/jackleavers

damppebbles blog tours

#BlogTour #GuestPost Q&A Noah’s Lament by Jim Ody @Jim_Ody_Author

Hello lovelies! My first post of the day is a fantastic Q&A with Jim Ody as part of the blog tour for his latest book Noah’s Lament but first a little about the book:

Title: Noah’s Lament by Jim Ody

Date Published: 15th August 2019

Genre: Young Adult

Description:

Noah Thomas is seventeen and his world is flawless. He’s handsome, his grades are great

and he’s in love with his best friend Rosie. All is perfect until his dad is caught having an affair with Rosie’s mum.

Unable to cope, his mum runs back to America to a place called Escape; taking him with her. Now, broken hearted in a foreign country, he’s no longer the popular ace student and is struggling to fit in.

Tahli is a troubled soul. Dark and mysterious, she attaches herself to Noah. Instead of finding his feet, he thinks he’s losing his mind. Slowly, he begins to spiral out of control.

In the place that everybody escapes to, could Noah be the first to have a reason to get away?

image1 (2)

Q&A with Jim Ody:

1. Where did the inspiration for Noah’s Lament come from?

The interesting thing about Noah’s Lament is that I had defined parameters. This is #28 of a long running series set in the Colorado town of Escape. This meant that there was a lot of information that I had to be mindful of in regards to lay out, and business owners and locals. I had free rein for the genre, and story content, but everything else had to fit nicely into the series.

At first, I found this a daunting task, but as the story evolved, I became less worried about the details, and more about intertwining the backstory. This was the first time I had a go at writing a YA novel. I was careful to keep to my usual dark style, whilst watering down the content so as it could be in secondary school libraries.

2. If you could describe your book in one sentence what would it be?

A dark take on the a-fish-out-of-water scenario, with a bit of a twist.

3. Out of all the characters in Noah’s Lament, did you have a favourite to write?

Stevie is a great character. He is the new next-door neighbor to Noah in Escape. He is a nerd who instantly sees Noah as a hero. When he gets angry he shouts, “Flat White!” instead of a profanity.

4. What is your favourite genre to write and why?

I touch on many genres, but most are shoot-offs of dark psychological/thrillers. I love to lead the reader, and then whip them around when an unexpected ending. I deal in the relationships of people, as they are so fascinating. Humans do such strange things depending on what their goal is. I observe and use the characters I see in real life to help tell my stories.

5. What is a typical writing day like for you?

I work full time as a Business Analyst, and have three children, therefore my writing starts usually at about 8:30pm. I write for about two hours. It might be new chapters of going back over the writing from the night before. I’ve got into the habit of doing this every day of the week (apart from Saturdays as I tend to watch boxing!).

6. If you could recommend just one book to read what would it be and why?

This is a very hard question. I’m sure my answer would change every six months. Currently, I love You by Caroline Kepnes. I think the raw observational narrative is a good example of exceptional writing. I would also add The Bottoms by Joe R Lansdale as it’s thought-provoking, touching, and funny telling the tales of turn or the century America where money allowed the rich to bully the poor, racism and sexism was accepted, and yet a poor family, does it’s best to get through it. Wonderful emotive writing.

7. Who are your favourite authors?

Again, I have many. The two I’ve mentioned (Caroline Kepnes & Joe R Lansdale), also Dean Koontz, and CJ Skuse. I have to stop there because once I get started, I cannot stop. I enjoy authors who are not scared to push boundaries and who have a unique voice.

8. Tell me something interesting about yourself (that’s not in your author bio!)

I play the drums. I’m self-taught and have played them since I was seventeen (a long time ago!), I even played a couple of gigs! I am a huge fan of music, but it’s the beats and rhythm that I really feel. I listen to music to calm me down when I am feeling anxious. At work, if I cannot put music on then you will see me spinning my pen like a drum stick. I’ve perfected three different ways to spin them.

9. What are you currently working on?

I’ll keep this brief. I have a book called Mr Watcher coming out in November (this is a cross between You and Eyes Wide Shut), then another book coming out in January called The Revenge of Lisa Lipstick (This is a dark revenge vigilante/thriller). However, I’m currently writing a book called The Loss. This is about an accident that affects the lives of three people forever. The story deals with the effects of each character, and eventually comes back in full circle, as we find out the whole truth. Then, I have a more adventure/thriller called Mystery Island, which is about the relationship of a couple who go looking for buried treasure only to end up on an island that holds a huge secret. I expect to release at least five books in the next twelve months.

10. Is there a question you’d wished I’d asked and what is the answer?

Perhaps, What do you like most about writing? My answer is: I write books to produce stories that I want to read. I love to think that these stories are now available for others to enjoy too. I really love seeing people add my books to Goodreads. It makes it all worth it every time I read reviews, either good or bad. The fact that somebody has invested their time in to reading my books is great.

About The Author:

Jim was first published in an English School Textbook in 1987. He won a competition to draw a dog-walking machine. Having won an art competition the year before, he felt that at the age of

For 10 years Jim wrote for a number of websites reviewing and interviewing bands in his own unique way, as well as contributing dark poems and comedic features.

He writes dark psychological/thrillers that have endings that you won’t see coming, and favours stories packed with wit. He has written three novels and a novella all released by Crazy Ink. He has also contributed to around a dozen anthologies. He has a new book called ‘Mr Watcher’ coming very soon!

Jim has a very strange sense of humour and is often considered a little odd. When not writing he will be found playing the drums, watching football and eating chocolate. He lives with his long-suffering wife and three beautiful children in Swindon, Wiltshire UK.

Happy #PublicationDay A Spirited Girl on Cornish Shores by Laura Biggs @rararesources @PaperDollWrites #Giveaway

Hello lovelies! Wishing a happy publication day to Laura Biggs for her new book A Spirited Girl on Cornish Shores. I have an exclusive Q&A with the author herself plus an amazing giveaway (see bottom of post) but first a little about the book:

A Spirited Girl on Cornish Shores Amazon Cover

Title: A Spirited Girl on Cornish Shores (A Little Hotel in Cornwall Book 2) by Laura Biggs

Date Published: 23rd July 2019

Genre: Chicklit

Description:

It looks like a perfect Cornish autumn, with aspiring novelist Maisie Clark still finding inspiration as a maid at the historic Penmarrow Hotel. Between the staff of quirky co-workers, glamorous and unusual guests, and her growing friendship with the charming but mysterious Sidney Daniels, Maisie is living out adventures instead of just penning them in the pages of her would-be novel’s growing number of chapters.

And then there’s the slight problem of keeping the balance between friendship and ‘something more’ with Sidney, who’s helping introduce her to the village’s version of a Cornish Halloween, and has recently taken an interest in Maisie’s secret that may change things between them. But even Maisie’s imagination can’t conjure the unusual event this Halloween brings to the Penmarrow. An eccentric earl has chosen this site to host his lavish birthday celebration that includes a pretty (and perceptive) young psychic whose predictions seem to have everyone on edge — and, to Maisie’s delight, the elusive novelist Alistair Davies is rumored to be part of the guest list! But with the earl’s bickering relatives and illustrious friends on hand— and more than one ghost of the past waiting to be revealed — it’s anyone’s guess what the festivities will bring before the party is over.

Will the psychic foretell doom for the earl’s gathering—and is her ‘gift’ as genuine as it seems? Will Maisie finally meet her favorite author face to face? And, more importantly, what about the romantic sparks that fly between Maisie and Sidney?

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Spirited-Cornish-Shores-Little-Cornwall-ebook/dp/B07R59BM53

UShttps://www.amazon.com/Spirited-Cornish-Shores-Little-Cornwall-ebook/dp/B07R59BM53

Q&A with Laura Biggs

Can you tell me a little bit about your book?

It’s the second book in a series about an American waitress and aspiring novelist who ends up working across the Pond in a beautiful Cornish hotel. It has a little bit of a Halloween theme, with some spooky events taking place when an eccentric and wealthy guest at the hotel hires a famous psychic as part of their elaborate birthday celebration.


Where did the inspiration for your book come from?

I think it came partly from my long-time fondness for light-hearted, mildly scary stories. Growing up, I adored classic films like The Ghost and Mr. Chicken, Arsenic and Old Lace, and Blackbeard’s Ghost. And the idea of a wealthy earl’s bickering relatives gathering at a historic hotel for a haunted birthday party seemed very Agatha Christie somehow, even if there was no real mystery involved.


If you could describe your book in one sentence what would it be?

A feel-good romance with a dash of Halloween fun!


What is a typical writing day like for you?

Well, it usually consists of about six to eight hours of writing on a laptop. I sometimes have a music playlist to work to or maybe some television to run in the background. And, of course, other obligations surface throughout the day, so it’s not complete solitude and screen time, thankfully!

If you could recommend just one book to read what would it be and why?

As far as fiction books go, I wouldn’t know where to start. There are so many I love and feel are prime examples of certain genres, such as Jane Austen for romance and Agatha Christie for mystery. It would be too hard to choose just one, I’m afraid!


Who are your favouriteauthors?

I’d have to say Jane Austen is among my all-time favourites authors. Her novel Sense and Sensibility is one I will never get tired of reading.


Tell me something interesting about yourself (that’s not in your author bio!)

Hmmm, let’s see. This isn’t so much interesting as a bit unconventional, BUT…I didn’t own a cell phone until 2018. So, yeah, I’ve been behind the times for awhile now, LOL!


What are you currently working on?

Right now, more books for my series ‘A Little Hotel in Cornwall’ are in the works (including a Christmas one for the end of the year!).

About The Author:

Laura Briggs is the author of several feel-good romance reads, including the Top 100 Amazon UK seller ‘A Wedding in Cornwall’. She has a fondness for vintage style dresses (especiallyA Little Hotel in Cornwall Author Pic ones with polka dots), and reads everything from Jane Austen to modern day mysteries. When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, caring for her pets, gardening, and seeing the occasional movie or play.

Social Media Links –

Twitter: https://twitter.com/PaperDollWrites

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/authorlaurabriggs/

Giveaway to Win one of 3 Cornish themed prizes (Open Internationally)

1st Prize: A Ross Poldark collectible Knitdark character doll (Open Internationally) –1 winner

Perfect for fans of all-things Cornwall, this Ross Poldark doll with tricorn hat is made by AngelaA Spirited - Ross Poldark Knitdark Giveaway Blay, whose popular Knitdark creations have been featured on The Graham Norton Show. Since each doll is hand made, the Ross the winner receives may vary slightly in appearance from the one in the picture. Readers can learn more about the Knitdarks at Angela’s Twitter page @kwerkyknits as well as her Etsy shop at https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/kwerkyknits

 

2nd Prize: A decorative tin T.A.R.D.I.S (Open Internationally) –1 winnerA Spiritted - T.A.R.D.I.S. tin Giveaway

A tin T.A.R.D.I.S similar to the keepsake Maisie is gifted by Sidney in Book 1, A Little Hotel in Cornwall. Designed by Etsy artist KittyConduitt81 and perfect for fans of Doctor Who! Being a unique, hand made item, the final design may vary slightly in appearance from the one pictured. Learn about KittyConduittDesigns on Etsy at https://www.etsy.com/shop/KittyConduittDesigns

3rd Prize: A Kindle/Tablet case featuring cover art from A Little Hotel in Cornwall (Open Internationally) –1 winner

A Spirited - Cover art for Kindle or Tablet GiveawayA specially designed case for a Kindle or Tablet featuring the cover art for Book 1 in the series A Little Hotel in Cornwall. The final product’s size, texture, and color will depend on the winner’s device.

*All 3 winners will also receive a digital copy of Book 1 in the series, A Little Hotel in Cornwall.

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494258/?

#BlogTour #GuestPost In Alexa’s Shoes by Rochelle Alexandra @roshellie28 #damppebblesblogtours

Today I have a Q&A with Rochelle Alexandra as part of the blog tour for her new novel In Alexa’s Shoes but first a little about the book:

Title: In Alexa’s Shoes by Rochelle Alexandra

Publisher: Author Academy Elite

Date Published: 25th June 2019

Genre: Historical Fiction

Description:

In Alexa’s Shoes – a dramatic, uplifting true story of a teenage girl overcoming great odds to survive. A historical novel that beckons the reader to follow in the footsteps of a real-life individual one step at a time. Based on the true story of the author’s grandmother.

In the autumn of 1940, thirteen-year-old Alexa’s happy life is ripped from her as she, her mother, and many of the locals are rounded up by the Nazis in Poland. Loaded into trucks, they are transported to an unknown destination. Terror and uncertainty become the new normal. Life is a continuous nightmare as she is selected by the Gestapo officer’s wife, destined to become little more than their slave.

Separated from everyone she loves Alexa relies on her Christian faith, inner strength and courage, to endure through her long nightmare. Her story takes her on a treacherous journey across war-ravaged Europe in search of her family and the life she once knew. Despite living through unimaginable hardships and life-threatening danger, Alexa feels that someone or something seems to be looking out for her. Years later, she finds out that not all was as it seemed, as hidden secrets from this dark period in history are revealed to her.

Purchase Links:

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Alexas-Shoes-Rochelle-Alexandra-ebook/dp/B07SVR7H36/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=B07SVR7H36&qid=1560244696&s=gateway&sr=8-1

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Alexas-Shoes-Rochelle-Alexandra-ebook/dp/B07SVR7H36/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=In+Alexa%27s+Shoes&qid=1560244667&s=gateway&sr=8-1

In Alexa's Shoes Blog Tour

Q&A with Rochelle Alexandra:

Where do you find inspiration for your novels?

I find writing about what I know is the best way for me to write. The inspiration for ‘In Alexa’s Shoes’ came after hearing first hand from my Polish grandmother, about her true-life experiences during WWII. We were very close and each time I’d go over to visit her in Poland, she’d share a little more of her story with me. Each time she’d tell me more about the things she had gone through. I could visualise it in my mind’s eye, as if watching a movie of her life. I always said to her that it would make a great novel, to which she agreed but said that she was too old now to write it but that I should write her story for her. I promised her that I would one day and finally began writing it in January of 2018. Knowing the story so well, it was relatively easy for me to write, even though I had to translate it into English in my head first. I had a real passion for telling it and felt that I had a duty to do it in a way that highlighted the best qualities of Alexa and delivered it in a way that she would both approve and be proud of. Alexa’s story is one that I’ve told to many friends over the years at dinner parties or on my travels to strangers and it has always gotten an amazing response. This also gave me the encouragement to write my grandmother’s story down.

Who is your writing hero?

That’s a hard choice to make, but if I could only pick one author I’d have to go with Agatha Christie. I love her detective mysteries and the way her plots unravel, I always have. The murder, the suspects, the hidden secrets, the suspicions, the explanations and unexpected twist in her storylines. I like the way she always keeps you guessing who done it until the end. I like her use of locations, especially the foreign ones. It appeals to my love of travel.

Which book do you wish you had written?

Another hard to choose question, but I’d pick ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ if it’s an Agatha Christie work. I love a good murder mystery and I love the way her work has stood the test of time. However, equally I’d love to have written any of Ian Fleming’s Bond thrillers.

What advice would you give to someone considering taking the plunge and attempting to write their first novel?

First of all, I’d say don’t be put off by the enormity of the task before you. Just start writing and keep writing. It’s a marathon, not a sprint, but keep the finish line in your sights. The only thing that can stop you – is you, so don’t let the negativity, fear and doubts set in. Do your research, know your characters and plot out the map of your book. Then start getting down your first draught. Don’t allow yourself to get held up by blocks, skip that part and move on to another chapter. You can always go back to it later when clarity has come, and chances are it will as you write more of your content. Keep moving forward, write, write, write you can edit it later.

It’s helpful to have a proposal written out, even if only for yourself. Include such things as a synopsis, comparison titles, unique selling point, your target audience. This will help as you write your novel, remember it’s a marathon but you want to complete it and cross the finish line.

If you could have a dinner party and invite three other writers (living or dead), who would you invite?

Heather Morris who wrote ‘The Tattooist of Auschwitz’. I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting her in person yet, but we have become friends on social media, and I enjoy our conversations. She’s written a fabulous piece of work and her next promises to be just as powerful.

Agatha Christie of course.

Ian Fleming would be my third guest of choice. What a fabulous interchange of conversation that would be around my dinner table with those three highly esteemed authors. Whatever would I serve on the menu?

What’s the one question you wish I had asked and what’s the answer?

Is there a message that you tried to convey in your novel?

The answer is Yes. Alexa had a real love for people, all people. She was very compassionate and emanated love in every part of her life. Despite the hardships and trials which she went through at such a young age, being taken by the Nazis and separated from her mother, she didn’t become bitter, resentful or allow breeding ground for hatred. She believed that hate was a poison which had detrimental effects, not only on the hater themselves but also on the receivers. She chose love over hate, which is something that is needed very much in our world today especially in light of all the hate crimes recently around the world. We need to remember the lessons of the past, or again we are destined to repeat them. Through the Nazis hatred for the Jews there were many other groups who were segregated against, imprisoned, tortured and killed. Alexa and her Christian mother were in the wrong place at the wrong time, and they were wrenched away from life as they knew it, forever changed by that day. I hope my novel reaches the hearts of many, including our youths and millennials who doubt that the holocaust even occurred.

About Rochelle Alexandra:

Rochelle Alexandra was born in Glasgow, Scotland where she grew up, then moved to NewIMG_0967 York to live when she was eighteen. She had an early love for writing poetry, winning a National Scottish competition and later had a few poems published in the USA. She’s a talented artist and photographer with a real love for children, horse riding and travel. Her favourite jobs were in advertising, working for a newspaper, a photographer’s assistant and private chef. She ran her own freelance art business painting portraits, murals, abstracts and commissions.

She never set out to be a writer, but after hearing her Polish grandmother’s gripping true life history during WWII first hand, she made a promise to her gran that she would write her story in book form. Sadly her grandmother Alexa passed away aged 92, just two months before the novel ‘In Alexa’s Shoes’ about her life was due to be published. Little did Rochelle know that she’d love the writing process so much and now has several future novels planned.

Social Media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/roshellie28

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Rochelle-Alexandra-Author-402257290515469/

Website: https://www.rochellealexandra.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ro_alexandra_author/

#BlogTour #GuestPost Three by K.J. McGillick @KJMcGillickAuth @rararesources

Today I have a fab Q&A with K. J. McGillick as part of the blog tour for her book THREE: Deception Love Murder but first a little about the book:

Three Front Cover

Title: THREE: Deception Love Murder by K. J. McGillick

Date Published: 5th January 2018

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Description:

Inviting a stranger into your home can be dangerous. Inviting a stranger into your life can turn deadly.

How would you feel if you discovered your death was meticulously planned by someone you loved? You didn’t know how or when or even why. All you could do was wait.

Emma has it all-a job she loves and a man who professed to love her.

Or did she? How could she be so blind?

When her lover’s car is found burned and abandoned in another state, the police come asking some hard questions. What she discovers upends her world completely. Jude had been living a double life right under her nose. A deceitful life, a treacherous life. Who was this man that had already groomed another woman to take over Emma’s life? A woman who was Emma’s body double and now dead.

Why had she so easily trusted this psychopath with her heart? Betrayed on every level, consequences not of Emma’s making were nipping at her heels. Tick. Tock.

THREE is a gripping crime thriller that will have you hooked. A fast-paced psychological thriller that has been compared to the works of Dan Brown. It can be read as a standalone and serves as the first book in the Path of Deception and Betrayal series.

Purchase Links:

US – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B078VFT9PJ/

UKhttps://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B078VFT9PJ/

Three will be 99 p/c for the duration of the tour.

Book Trailer: https://youtu.be/nxVD9MOsLss

Three Full Tour Banner

Q&A with K. J. McGillick

Can you tell me a little bit about your book?

My book is about an ordinary woman who gets caught up with a man who has targeted her for her expertise in art. The man is part of a criminal organization who launders money for terrorist activities by selling forged art.


Where did the inspiration for your book come from?

My curiosity about how easy it is to launder money and wanting to know more about it. And the criminal elements of the art world. It amazes me the amount of money people will pay for some swirls of paint.


If you could describe your book in one sentence what would it be?

Inviting a stranger into your life can turn deadly, be judicious in your trust.


What is a typical writing day like for you?

I normally am up by 4 a.m. and start writing. In the evening I review the material and make some preliminary alteration.

If you could recommend just one book to read what would it be and why?

The DaVinci Code because it is a thriller and yet really makes you question the foundation of religion.

Who are your favouriteauthors?

Dan Brown, John Grisham, Scott Pratt, Lee Child, David Baldacci.


Is writing your only job? If not, what is your other job?

I still practice law on a part-time basis but have placed more emphasis on writing since last year.


Tell me something interesting about yourself (that’s not in your author bio!)

I spend most of my disposable income on travel and over the last twenty years have been to Europe over thirty times and Russia once. I am an art and history buff.


What are you currently working on?

A thriller about a stolen Boticcelli by a person with a rare genetic disorder that evades being captured for two murders because of that disorder.

About The Author:

K. J. McGillick was born in New York and once she started to walk she never stopped running. But that’s what New Yorker’s do. Right? A Registered Nurse, a lawyer now author.Three head shot

As she evolved so did her career choices. After completing her graduate degree in nursing, she spent many years in the university setting sharing the dreams of the enthusiastic nursing students she taught. After twenty rewarding years in the medical field she attended law school and has spent the last twenty-four years as an attorney helping people navigate the turbulent waters of the legal system. Not an easy feat. And now? Now she is sharing the characters she loves with readers hoping they are intrigued by her twisting and turning plots and entertained by her writing

Social Media Links:

https://www.facebook.com/KJMcGillickauthor/

Kathleen McGillick

@KJMcGillickAuth

http://www.kjmcgillick.com/

https://twitter.com/KJMcGillickAuth

https://www.goodreads.com/Kmcgillick 

#GuestPost #Excerpt Universe: Awakening by D. Ellis Overttun @neoverttun

Hello lovelies! Today I want to welcome back D. Ellis Overttun who I featured recently with a cover make over (you can see it here). Today I’m bring you an excerpt and guest post with some more fabulous artwork from his wife Natasha but first a little about the book:

Title: Universe: Awakening by D. Ellis Overttun

Date Published: 7th October 2018

Genre: Science Fiction

Description:

The year — 526,780. A probe is deployed from ISV Intrepid at the outer edge of the universe. It is the last of a complement of twelve that is part of the Deep Exploration of Uncharted Space or DEUS. Its mission: collect data on the redshift of light and spatial distortions. Time horizon: 1,000 years.

Before ISV Intrepid can return to base, something goes wrong. There is an accident. The ship is later salvaged but its pilot is missing, its copilot in a coma.

The probes collect their data with uneventful regularity.

Fast forward to 526,880. A sole surviving probe still sits in the darkness at the outer edge of the universe. Now, unseen to the naked eye, the space around the probe begins to stretch and distend. Then, the probe disappears, engulfed by an energy of unknown origin and unknown composition. However, it manages to transmit one final message.

CD3C has monitored the disappearance of each probe over the last three years. While the interpretation of the data remains a mystery, speculation is that something has invaded the universe and is moving a superluminal velocity. Its effects could be manifested in as little as the next thousand years. To the Celesti, this is one lifetime.

What can be done?

The one person who might be able to solve this problem is the copilot of ISV Intrepid. He has been lying in stasis suffering from mental trauma. He has been this way for the past century, the longest recorded case in medical history. His unchanging condition has been a convenient solution to stall any inquiry into the accident that put him there.

This threat changes everything. Now, he is needed.

Is it possible to unlock his mind?

The task falls to Auberon, a career nobody inhabiting the lower level of the hierarchy of the Ministry of Science. Can something be awakened in him to allow someone ordinary do something extraordinary?

Universe: Awakening answers this question. In the process, it explores the world of the Celesti, a highly evolved humanoid species with advanced technology, physiology and a unique way of procreation. It blends science and political intrigue to reveal the interplay of storyline and character development that forms the staging ground for the Terra Nova Series.

Guest Post: Background and commentary of Chapter 85:

Auberon and Natasha, two ministerial aides to the First Minister, have been tasked with purchasing a gift for, Minister Abhean, one of the ministers on the Governing Council, just prior to an upcoming meeting to elicit his “consideration and favor”. The phrase is a polite euphemism for sanctioned bribery. Natasha knows the minister has an appreciation for a certain kind of art. So, the two aides make their way to an exclusive gallery in Old Eden to meet with its proprietor, Heron of Edenoud.

Auberon is new to this position, having been recently seconded from his role as an advisor to patients suffering from mental trauma. He has heretofore been disappointed with this promotion from the lack of privacy in his living accommodations to the bland and austere cuisine to the constant environment of quiet and contemplation. As we shall see shortly, he will find an oasis in this excursion.

Culturally, Old Eden is a place where the two peoples of the planet set aside their differences and co-exist in harmony. The descriptions were inspired by a day trip my wife, Natasha, and I took to Vieille Ville (Nice) on a 2009 vacation to Provence. I have taken some artistic license with the imagery but that is to be expected.

I have used language from across time and around the globe to give Universe an other-world feel. To make the grade, a word or phrase has to roll off the tongue and have a coolness factor to it. The name “Heron of Eden” or “Heron of Old Eden” sounded too blah so I added the Dutch word “oud” (meaning “old”) and voila – Edenoud. “Danu” is a Proto-Indo-European word for “water” whose cognates can be found in the names of many European rivers. “Sro kanti” means “bread” in Tocharian B and is the bouquet of good champagne. “Drekka” is an Old Norse word for “drink”.

How do I make a visit to an art gallery interesting? Why with holography and music, of course.

I wanted the scene to start from nothing as Auberon and Natasha enter a dark empty space and then transform into something full of life. Enter a memory from my childhood watching reruns of old cartoons. There’s one I remember of a fox hunt that starts off with a tranquil scene of a meadow at dawn. The music opens with the Ranz des Vaches part of the William Tell Overture. (However, as I seem to recall they skipped the flute intro and went straight to the English Horn.) Try to hear this as you read the part in question. (You’ll know it when you read it.) Then, at the appropriate time, imagine the Finale to the Overture. (You’ll also know it when you read it.)

Holograms are used to populate the walls of the space the same way we look at catalogues or see the results of internet searches. It is an interesting way to show you how an art gallery in a very technologically advanced society might look.

My wife, Natasha, has created a visual representation of the chapter to stir your imagination to help create what Rod Serling has described as “a dimension of sound, a dimension of sight, a dimension of mind”.

Universe - Chapter 85 - Gallery (Apr 20, 2019 1362 x 977 400 DPI)

Without further ado, please partake of Universe: Awakening, Chapter 85 – “Heron of Edenoud”.

* * * * *

Old Eden, as its name might suggest, was the oldest part of the city. It was situated on the west bank of the River Danu. It was a true melting pot, where the two cultures intermingled without regard for race or status. It was a labyrinth of narrow cobble-stone streets with low-rise stone and plaster-finished earth-tone and pastel-colored buildings. The widths of the streets gave the structures a towering appearance, as though one were walking through a valley gorge. Shops sold a variety of foodstuffs, clothing and curiosities. Bakeries, eateries, outdoor patios and cafes carried the delicious aromas of arusha, warm buns and fried meats. Auberon had been here many times before but it was always something he relished with anticipation. Vehicles were not permitted inside this part of the city and they would have to travel on foot from the parking area to their destination. They stepped out of their transport in a parking lot filled with electric vehicles. As they exited the lot, the holograms on the transport faded and the slab placed itself in the storage rack.

Where are we going?” Auberon asked.

Minister Abhean appreciates a certain type of art. We are going to see one of the exclusive art dealers in the city.”

They made their way through the busy streets until they came to an odd-looking store front. No signage identified the name of the establishment. In place of the display window, there was simply a large wooden sign of the profile of a painter holding a parallel palette. He was dressed in a dark-green tunic and trousers. He seemed to be contemplating something just out of an onlooker’s visual range, his unkempt hair and scruffy appearance reinforcing the image of an artist. There was a narrow pair of French doors inset into the wall just to the right.

Here,” Natasha said.

The interior space was square. It seemed too small and confined for an art dealer. The walls were eggshell white not unlike the walls in postop but were devoid of any art. The dark wood floors ported no displays of any kind. They merely squeaked with each footfall, echoing the loneliness of a barren cavern. The entire space was poorly lit and completely empty. The only point of focus in this unremarkable environment was a small door at the far side.

Are you sure this is the right place?” Auberon whispered.

Natasha put her index finger to her lips and said nothing. They waited. At length, the dim light began to change and soon it looked as though they were in natural daylight. Something caught Auberon’s nose. His head snapped to attention and he began to sniff the air almost like a wild animal trying to catch the scent of its prey. He turned to Natasha. She simply smiled and again put her index finger to her lips. The smell became more and more savory with a multitude of different layers. Then, the sound of a horned instrument began to play the introduction to a very well-known classical piece. The legato had always reminded him of looking out at a meadow at dawn, so peaceful. The music slowed to a stop. Then, one, two and then many different brass instruments joined in as the tempo quickened. As drums began to beat, the door burst open and four beautiful Gendu women, wearing long-sleeve ankle-length forest-green linen tunics emerged. Two took up position on either side of Auberon and two took up position on either side of Natasha. Another Gendu male entered the room pushing a table on wheels with trays of food that connected the aromas Auberon had detected earlier. Another Gendu female entered the room pushing a smaller table on wheels porting different chilled beverages.

Finally, a large Gendu male was the last to emerge from the door. He was dressed in a long-sleeve ankle-length tunic made of white silk. The color accentuated his olive complexion and long straight jet-black hair. It was apparent from the way the tunic hung from his body that he was a fine physical specimen with a chiseled physique. He had smoldering eyes that seemed to look right through Auberon.

Wow,” Auberon said, acknowledging this man was striking.

Ministerial Aide Natasha,” the man said bowing his head.

Heron of Edenoud,” she replied also bowing her head. “I am pleased to present Ministerial Aide Auberon.”

I am honored,” Heron said bowing his head.

As am I,” Auberon replied bowing his head.

Please partake,” Heron said pointing to the two tables.

Auberon was at a loss and was carefully watching Natasha’s lead.

Is it permitted?” the woman on Auberon’s right asked Natasha.

Yes,” Natasha replied bowing her head.

Asking the question was a Gendu custom that simultaneously addressed two possibilities. The first gave permission to the woman to cater to Auberon if he was Natasha’s husband. The second was an acknowledgement that Auberon might be a single male and could be catered to by the woman without offending Natasha.

Thank you,” the woman replied also bowing her head.

Please this way,” they said to him in unison, pointing to the tables.

The two women then locked arms with him. A contented smile spread across his face as he felt the breast of each woman snuggly against his arms. Auberon did not know what to expect but he knew it would be pleasant and he found it very easy to follow these two women. They took him to the food table and began to explain each dish. Finally! This is what it was like to be a ministerial aide!

And you Ministerial Aide Natasha,” Heron said, “will you not partake?”

Perhaps in a moment.”

What assistance may I offer you today?”

Ministerial Aide Auberon has a meeting later this morning with Minister Abhean and we need a gift.”

Really?” Heron replied looking at Auberon.

Yes, you are aware of Minister Abhean’s preferences in art. We would like you to recommend something appropriate.”

Computer. Present recent woodblock print acquisitions,” Heron said.

The walls were immediately filled with dozens of holographic representations requested by Heron. Natasha did a cursory walk around the room. In the meantime, Auberon had returned from the food table and stood in the background. Each woman was carrying a small plate with a small selection of finger foods and a linen napkin.

After a time, Natasha narrowed her selections down to two pieces. One was a picture called Waves Against Shore by Daruma and a second was called Fish at Sea also by Daruma. Each piece was about a shoulder’s width in length and about half of that in width.

I will choose between these two,” she said.

As always, your taste is impeccable,” replied Heron.

A short time later, two Gendu males brought the two pieces from storage and hung them on the wall.

Could I please see each throughout the day?” Natasha asked.

The lighting began to change to reflect the cycle of natural light throughout the day and different kinds of artificial light.

We will take Waves Against Shore.”

Excellent choice! Shall I have it delivered to the Ministry of Arts?”

No, we will take it with us.”

As you wish,” Heron replied with a bow. “Now, we must celebrate!”

He went to the beverage table and picked one of the fluted glasses. Each woman to the right of Auberon and Natasha did the same and presented them with a glass filled with a golden chilled bubbling liquid.

What is this?” Auberon asked.

We call it ‘sro kanti’. I think you will find it to your liking.”

Auberon looked toward Natasha who closed her eyes and nodded her head slightly.

May your gift bring enjoyment to the recipient,” Heron said as he raised his glass. “Drekka!”

Drekka,” Natasha and Auberon repeated also raising their glasses.

When they left Heron’s, Auberon carried a nondescript bag with a beautifully wrapped package inside. As they walked back to the parking lot, the warm summer sun and the effects of the toast made his face flush and he began to feel dizzy.

That sro…sro stuff is strong.”

Sro kanti and yes, it is very strong. Here, you better let me carry that.”

I thought the Code did not permit us to drink alcohol.”

You are correct.”

Then, why did you drink it?”

I did not. It was only sufficient that I bring the glass to my lips.”

Oh no. Am I in trouble again? But you said it was ok.”

It was. Since this matter is classified,” she replied smiling, “you are safe.”


About The Author:

I grew up in a town in the Midwest, my mother was a bookkeeper for a small HVAC company and my father was a draftsman. At university, I studied chemistry. However, when I graduated, I did not (or could not) pursue that vocation because I was terrible in the lab.

I have been a storyteller ever since I can remember. It started as a way to get out of trouble and evolved as a way to entertain those around me. My first recollection of writing prose was in elementary school when I had to write a short essay about a picture from a magazine. (Mine was a freshly baked loaf of bread.) In grade 7, I penned two short stories for a school writing competition. One was entitled “My Funny Cousin”, a descriptive piece about a relative (a little older than me) who stayed with us one summer. My mother very quickly killed that story. At the time, it didn’t make sense to me because she told me she thought it was very funny. It was only later that I figured out that I could have replaced “Funny” with “Flamboyant” in the title. So, it was back to the drawing board. My second attempt was a collection of anecdotes about the life of my maternal grandfather titled “The Hilarious Things My Grandfather Did”. That one went on to win.

My first complete novel was a story about a soldier of fortune in the age of horse and bow. At the time, I had contact with people in the entertainment business in California. The feedback I got was that I should take one of the chapters and expand it into a novel. That made no sense to me. What the heck did that mean? How could you expand something so small into something big? So, I never pursued it. However, the comment stuck with me. It was only much later that I figured out that it meant that I should never rush the telling of a story.

This brings us to the present and the Terra Nova Series. (Book 2 has just been published and Book 3 is in progress.) I write for an audience of one: my wife. She loves the stories. Now, all I have to do is get 99,999 more like her and I’ll have a hit!