#BlogTour #RachelsRandomResources @rararesources / #QandAs : Fresh Eggs and Dog Beds – Nick Albert @Nickalbertautho

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

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Today I’m on the ‘Fresh Eggs and Dog Beds’ blogtour, organised by Rachel’s Random Resources.
To promote this book I have a Q&As post, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

wYZbIRKANick 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 services 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:
Amazon
Facebook
Facebook Page
Website
Instagram
Twitter
Website 2
GoodReads
Blogspot
YouTube

Synopsis :

CNa8HzwgNick 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
Paperback
Audible
USA
Kindle
Paperback
Audible

Q&A :

Hi

First of all thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions, I really appreciate it. Here we go! 🙂
You’re most welcome.

Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell us something about yourself and how you became an author?
The story of how I became an author, is very much linked to how we came to be living in a run-down farmhouse in rural Ireland.
Back in 2004, my wife and I lived near Colchester in England. We were ‘empty-nesters’, our grown-up daughter had her own home and a great job, so Lesley and I only had to care for our two dogs and each other. Although our life was outwardly wonderful – I had a successful career, a lovely home, a desirable car and so on – my wife and I couldn’t get away from the feeling it was all just window dressing, a meaningless sham. Then, within a few short months, I experienced several upsetting events. My father passed away, a close friend was killed in a car crash, another friend was diagnosed with brain cancer and several thousand of my workmates were made redundant. When I had my own health scare, I found my perspective had altered irrevocably. That change in perspective jump-started a sequence of decisions culminating in my wife and I beginning a new life here in rural Ireland.
In search of a simpler way of living, we cashed in our investments, sold our home and bought a rundown farmhouse in the rural west of Ireland – a country we had never before even visited. With little money or experience and armed only with a do-it-yourself manual, we set about renovating our new home, where we now live happily alongside a flock of chickens, two ducks and several unruly but delightful rescue dogs.
Did I decide to put pen to paper just because of what happened? No. I’ve always been a writer. My first book, “The Adventures of Sticky, The Stick Insect,” was completed when I was eight. At just five pages long and sprinkled with spelling errors, it was not a big hit with the critics! Undaunted, over the next 53 years I have continued to write, gradually developing my skills, but not my spelling! What moving to Ireland gave me was the time I needed to write. Since then I’ve written hundreds of articles for the newspaper, a book on sports instruction and a twisty thriller called ‘Wrecking Crew’. In 2017 I signed to Ant Press to write a series of humorous memoirs about my life here 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.

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
I have always been a veracious reader, it’s an absolute must for any aspiring author. As a child, I was introduced to the wonderful world of books by my sister, when she gave me her well-thumbed copy of Winnie-the-Pooh. A short while later, I discovered The Story of Doctor Doolittle, by Hugh Lofting. I believe I read all 13 books in the series in a month. Introducing a child to the joys of reading is the greatest gift anyone can ever give.
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 a forces family, I 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.
My collection is obviously somewhat eclectic, I’m not sure what that says about me. As well as piles of golf books, I have a library and dozens of stacked boxes bulging with 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.

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
I’d pick Beth Haslam. She’s the author of the excellent Fat Dogs and French Estates series. Beth is a fellow Ant Press memoirist and very much an inspiration to me as an author. She was brought up on a country estate in Wales. Her childhood was spent either on horseback, helping the gamekeepers raise pheasants, or out sailing. After a serious car crash, she set up her own consultancy business. As semi-retirement beckoned, Beth and her husband decided to buy a second home in France. This became a life-changing event where computers and mobile phones swapped places with understanding the foibles of the French, and tackling the language. Somehow, she found the time to write a bestselling series of memoirs. In many ways our journeys are similar. We’ve only chatted online, but I think she’d be great company over a glass of wine. I’m sure she could help me with my time management – in particular, how she balances her social media responsibilities with the demands of being a published author.

If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
I’d love to meet Arthur Dent from the fantastic Douglas Adams series ‘Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy’. I’m a huge fan of this sort of British tea-and-cricket escapist humour. Poor Arthur Dent is just a harmless nice-guy, who unwittingly gets sucked into this wonderful story. I’m sure he’d have some interesting stories to tell.

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
I like my routines and need to have a clear desk and a focused mind before I begin writing. Every morning after breakfast, I 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.

Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
Obviously the books in my Fresh Eggs series are all based on real events, albeit viewed through the prism of my quirky mind. The characters are all real too, but I will admit to a little genetic manipulation, to save any blushes – and keep me out of court! When I’m writing thrillers, the places and characters usually have at least one foot in reality, but with a little spice added to keep things interesting. Do the people in my life need to be worried? Not really. I’ve never threatened to make someone a character in one of my books, just so I can kill them off. On the other hand, I haven’t finished writing yet…

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
I’m definitely a plotter. Before I start writing any book, I create voluminous lists and flowcharts. It’s a long and arduous process but essential to create the framework for my story. Once the fingers are flying and the words flowing, I can permit my butterfly mind to occasionally flit off-track, secure in the knowledge I will never lose my way. Having a plan isn’t restrictive, quite the opposite, it encourages creativity. When I was writing Wrecking Crew, there were a couple of times when I was astonished by an event that just popped into my head, particularly as it slotted perfectly into the storyline. About halfway through the book, the protagonist Eric Stone opens the trunk of a car and there was… well, I won’t spoil the surprise. I recall sitting back in astonishment as I really had no idea what was about to happen. Of course, it was just my imagination running along ahead for my fingers, something that could only happen because it had a clear path to follow.

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
Before you write, read – a lot. Read what you enjoy. Read the kind of books you would like to write but be sure to observe the authors craft as you read. Take note of how they mix dialog with narration, how they paint their pictures and how they guide your mind. Try to look beyond the words to understand how the story was constructed. Do all this and more, before you put pen to paper.
When you begin writing, remember it is a craft, one that needs developing. No matter how talented you are at the beginning, your writing should always improve over time. You should expect your last book to be much better than your first. Never let anyone tell you that you are unworthy.
Understanding the difference between dreams and goals can make your task considerably less stressful. Dreams are the things we would like to achieve, but have very little control over – like winning the lottery. Goals are the steps we take towards achieving our dream – like buying that lottery ticket. Goals you control, dreams you don’t. That distinction is important. As a writer, you must focus your efforts and evaluate your success based only on the things you can control. Trying to do otherwise is a recipe for disaster.
Many excellent writers have given up because they made getting published their goal and failed. Trying to get published won’t make you a better writer, but being a better writer, and building a large social media following of people who like your work, will definitely help you to get published. Focus on what you can control.

What are your future plans as an author?
My ‘ideas folder’ is bulging with interesting storylines, but it would be a mistake to take on too much. Just now I’m writing the fourth book in the five-part Fresh Eggs and Dog Beds series. It is progressing well and due out in mid-2020. In the background I’m researching a book about my father’s fascinating life in the RAF. I’m also working on Stone Façade, the second in my Eric Stone thriller series. I am very excited about the twisty plot, which will bring Stone to Ireland in search of a missing journalist, but not all is as it seems…
I hope I’ll still be writing 30 years from now. If I am, perhaps my spelling will improve. If I can average a book a year until I’m 90, that would be something special to look back on.

Last, but not least: Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
Of course. This is how Fresh Eggs and Dog Beds begins…

With a deep sigh, Doctor David Harrison dropped my medical chart back onto his desk, where it threatened to overbalance several piles of papers. My GP looked around his cluttered consulting room and casually ran his fingers through his thick blond hair, momentarily pulling the wavy locks away from his forehead. This simple action suggested he was relaxed and confident in the diagnosis he was about to deliver. It also drew my attention to his clear blue eyes. Their normally humorous twinkle had been replaced by the steady gaze of someone who had something serious to say. Yesterday had been a bad day, my chest still hurt and the bitter taste of bile was burning my throat. Dave had my attention. Nevertheless, I noticed he changed his posture, leaning forward to emphasise his point. He gave me a thin smile, but his voice was serious.
“Nick, if you carry on like this, you will be dead in six months – or at best, in a padded cell with nothing but a packet of crayons to keep you entertained.”
He made a fist and brought it to his mouth, for a moment I thought he was going to burp, but he leaned forwards and firmly patted my knee with the heel of his fist to emphasise his point. One fist thump for each word.
“Sort – your – life – out, – or – else.”
I opened my mouth to respond, but for once words failed me. Dave gave a nod, acknowledging his message had been delivered, then he abruptly stood and strode to the door.
“Now, come outside and see my new car!”
This is where it all started.
For more than ten years, I had been a manager at a multinational pensions and investment firm. When they hired me, it was one of the proudest days of my life. They were a famous and respected brand, with a proud tradition of being one of the best employers in Britain. Now, it seemed like the lunatic accountants had taken over the asylum, constantly changing departments, reassigning responsibilities and outsourcing customer support, IT functions, and the office of spectacular cock-ups to some distant city in India. There the telesales staff have more qualifications than an astronaut, but cost less to keep than an anorexic hamster.
To add to the fun, I was frequently dragged halfway across the country for meetings that did little but add to my workload and frustration. Commuting in England had become a reoccurring nightmare of stress and delay. The traffic is appalling, the trains are expensive and unreliable, and the London underground can be horribly hot and overcrowded. There are few less pleasant ways of not getting around London than standing for two hours on a stationary underground train, with your face jammed into some fat guy’s sweaty armpit, whilst wondering how long it’s medically safe to hold on to a fart.
In a fast-changing world, staffing levels across our industry were being slashed repeatedly. I had been made redundant eight times in six years, but on each occasion I had successfully fought for one of the few remaining positions. Sadly, more than 6,000 of my friends and colleagues had been less fortunate, and many of them had been unable to find suitable employment. Now I was one of only six survivors from a staff off several hundred in my division. At times, it seemed like I was the last man standing on the battlefield, just waiting for the sniper’s bullet. I could feel that red laser dot itching at the back of my neck, as the accountants identified the next cost saving required to create the illusion of more profits.
The constant fear of forced redundancy, unemployment, and the catastrophe it could bring to our finely-balanced finances, was gnawing away at my sense of humour and undermining my previously robust health. In an effort to replenish our savings, I had begun teaching golf again. That skill was a remnant of a dream that fizzled out in favour of a proper job, not long after I married Lesley and she gave birth to our beautiful daughter, Joanne. Although it was nice to earn a little extra money, suddenly I had no spare time. Life didn’t feel like fun anymore; weekends and evenings spent giving lessons at the driving range left me little time for family, no time to play golf, and no place to blow off a little steam. And now the company was entering yet another round of cuts. It was evident that my job would soon cease to exist, probably within months, and I could either fight again for another position, or simply accept redundancy and try to get on with a new life.

Isn’t that a great reason to pick up this book and to find out more?!
Thanks once again for this lovely interview, Nick Albert.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

 

 

 

P.S. Are you an author (or publisher) who also wants a FREE interview like this? You can always contact me via e-mail!

 

#BookBirthdayBlitz #RachelsRandomResources @rararesources / #GuestPost : From Here to Nashville – Julie Stock @wood_beez48

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

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Today I’m on the ‘From Here to Nashville’ blogtour, organised by Rachel’s Random Resources.
To promote this book I have a guest post written by its author, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

mhfwCvAAJulie Stock writes contemporary feel-good romance from around the world: novels, novellas and short stories. She published her debut novel, From Here to Nashville, in February 2015 and her second novel, The Vineyard in Alsace in March 2017. Over You (Sam’s Story) and Finding You (Jenna’s Story), her follow-up novellas to From Here to Nashville were published in 2018, making the From Here to You series complete. She has also published a boxed set of the From Here to You trilogy of books.
The Bistro by Watersmeet Bridge was published in August 2019, followed by Bittersweet, a collection of 12 Short Stories for Modern Life in September 2019.
Julie is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and The Society of Authors.
Julie is married and lives with her family in Bedfordshire in the UK.

Social Media Links:
Website
Twitter
Facebook Author Page
Instagram

Synopsis :

skKshiVQTwo worlds, 4,000 miles apart. Is their love strong enough to keep them together?
Rachel Hardy dreams of being a successful country music singer in Nashville’s Music City, four thousand miles away from her lonely life in Dorset. When Jackson Phillips, an independent record label owner, encourages her band to audition for a nationwide ‘Open Mic’ competition, she decides they have nothing to lose.
But when she starts to fall in love with Jackson, the stakes suddenly get higher and she finds herself with a great big dilemma on her hands. Should she abandon her dream and take the easy way out or should she leave the life she has always known behind and take a gamble on a man who has personal demons of his own?
Follow Rachel and Jackson as they learn to trust in love again to see whether their music really can unite them.

Purchase Link

Guest Post :

Before I wrote From Here to Nashville, I’d never written anything longer than poems, music lyrics and the occasional short story. I never imagined that I would ever be able to come up with an idea that I could sustain over 80 – 90,000 words. I often had ideas for novels but they ran out of steam very quickly, and always before I could put pen to paper.
Then in 2013, that all changed when I started watching the then new TV series, Nashville. I fell in love with the show straight away, loving the music, the setting and the characters, and wondering why I had never been to Nashville!
About halfway through the first series, I had an idea for a novel, and it came fully formed into my mind: ‘What if you had a singer/songwriter in the UK who dreamed of becoming a country music star in Nashville and she met a record producer from Nashville who could help her to follow her dream?’
What usually happens after I come up with a story question like that is that I can’t come up with anything else and, frustrated by my lack of ideas, I lose interest in the whole thing very quickly. But this time, the ideas just kept coming. I came up with the names of the two main characters, Rachel and Jackson, almost immediately. I also decided that Rachel would have a best friend called Jenna, and that she would play in a band with Jenna’s two brothers, Sam and Matt. I had ideas for Rachel’s back story and also for Jackson’s, and I worked out how they would first meet. I had so many ideas coming at me that I bought myself a notebook so that I could write them all down and not forget anything.
Before I got going with the writing, I also needed to do a fair bit of research about the two settings I’d chosen for my story. Rachel lives in Poole, in Dorset, at the start of the story and although this is a place I know very well, I still spent a lot of time on the Internet researching the kinds of place she might live and how long it would take her to walk into town for example. I also spent a lot of time thinking about Jenna’s florist shop and where that might be located and what it would look like inside.
Then there was Nashville. As I mentioned, I’d never been so I spent a lot of time getting to know Nashville before I began writing. As Jackson is a wealthy record label owner in the story, I found myself researching luxury homes and products that I would never normally look at as well. I finally visited Nashville the month after the book was published and my family indulged me by letting me take them round all the places mentioned in the story, so that I could make sure that I’d got everything right.
To give myself the inspiration to keep me going, the next thing I did was to create a playlist of some of my favourite songs, including ones that I thought Rachel and her band, Three’s Company, might cover in their set. If you’d like to listen to the songs, you can find the link here. This also led to me writing some song lyrics for Rachel’s own songs which you can find in the story. I had so much fun doing that!
After writing my first book five years ago, I’ve found that every book since has been inspired by a particular setting or location, whether that’s a vineyard in Alsace or a bistro in Devon, and there’s no sign of the ideas running out any time soon.

Giveaway :

Win a signed paperback copy of From Here to Nashville, a bookmark and a guitar magnet (Open to UK Only)

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*Terms and Conditions – UK 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.

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The Magic of Wor(l)ds

 

#BlogTour #DamppebblesBlogTours @damppebbles / #Excerpt : Raging (The Chemical Estate Series #2) #Raging #TheChemicalEstateSeries – Stephen Scarcliffe @StephenScarc

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

Raging banner

Today I’m on the ‘Raging (The Chemical Estate Series #2)’ blogtour, organised by Damppebbles Blog Tour.
To promote this book I have an excerpt, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

_TDS0986Growing up around the north of Edinburgh where the Chemical Estate book series is set lends first-hand experience and authenticity to both the story and its characters.
Around 14 years ago, and 4 pints (or more) down, I bumped into a certain Irvine Welsh in a pub in Edinburgh city centre. After giving him a copy of a short story I had written, I received a really encouraging email that spurred me on to write a novel. The process was extended somewhat by spending 10 years as the singer-songwriter for Edinburgh Alt-rock band The Number 9s, before opting to turn my main focus to writing. Two books in now with number 3 in development I hope to continue for many years to come.
You can keep up to date with details of new releases and plenty more by signing up for my mailing list at my website. You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Synopsis :

Scarcliffe_RAGING_ebook_FINAL_2A bloody turf war is erupting between the shellsuit gangsters and the Donaldsons, while the family outcasts look to take advantage of the disorder on the streets…
Who torched Dougie Donaldson’s taxi?
Why are the bodies piling up in the high rises?
Why is a scorned figure from the past poking his nose into everyone’s business?
As things escalate, Billy Wright is forced to question who is plotting against him as he is dragged even deeper into the world he is trying to escape. George Donaldson is sucked into a bitter feud with childhood pals that forces him to answer serious doubts around his loyalties and Sean Donaldson schemes to shift the balance of power in Muirhouse, hellbent on revenge against the uncle who has frozen him out of the family drug business.
Will Billy fulfil the promise he made to girlfriend Lyndsay and leave the life of crime behind as fatherhood approaches? Can George successfully defend his old man’s territory in the face of mounting adversity? Is there any line Sean won’t cross in his quest for supremacy?

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK
Digital
Paperback
Amazon US
Digital
Paperback

Publishing Information:
Published in paperback and digital formats on 4th February 2020.

Excerpt :

That night, George crossed his arms and stood there, tapping his foot behind the podium that overlooked the dance floor, as dozens of wasted strangers bounced about frenetically in front of him. He shuddered as he felt a drop of condensation hit the back of his neck from the sweaty stone ceiling above. The Vaults was a cave, literally. Carved into one of the many underground caverns in Edinburgh’s Old Town, the way the stomping tracks reverberated around the place made it seem purpose built for techno. As much as George had to restrain himself from getting lost in the chaos, this was his place of business. He was the top boy and he had to maintain an air of respectability. Ecstasy was purely for selling now, not recreation. At least when he was manning the Vaults, which was pretty much every weekend these days. He often kept a lump of bass or a gram of Charlie in his back-tail, to keep him on point and in control, give him the energy to run the place like a tight ship. Make sure the sweeties were circulating, the money was flowing thick and fast back to him, and make sure any arseholes were dealt with swiftly and with force. He felt his neck and shoulders tense up as someone bumped into him from behind. He turned and with one look had the saucer eyed youngster backing away.
“I’m sorry bigman!”
George offered a shrug of his heavy shoulders and a nudge of his head, giving the signal that the laddie could breathe easy, then like that he was off, disappearing into the sea of sweaty bodies writhing to the music. It was common for George to conduct his night with a series of grunts, nods of the head, winks and other such minimal gestures. He was a man of few words at the best of times, but the other bouncers knew 100% he was in charge, meaning he didn’t need to say or do that much. The other doormen handled the dealing, so besides running the doors and dispersing troublemakers, it was their job to make sure every last eccie sold in the place came from George. After glancing about and checking out the passing fanny, he turned his attention back to the dance floor, planting his big hands onto the stone ledge in front of him. The crowd was now roaring and panting with excitement as DJ Lenny Dee brought them to the point of climax. It was like the swell of a wave growing bigger and bigger with crazed anticipation, right to bursting point. Then, like that, the beat dropped, the wave broke, and the evil bass line kicked in, sending them into raptures of high pitched screams and shouting. George was wakened from his trance by a pat on the shoulder. He turned to see big Terry Brady standing there, looking decidedly pissed off, as he clutched a hold of a spindly limbed laddie by the scruff of his neck, struggling to break free.
“Guess what this wee nobber’s been up tae?”
Brady opened his hand to reveal a polythene bag full of yellow tablets, forcing a raise of the eyebrows from George.
“Gies them!” yelled the laddie as he tried to snatch them from Brady’s grasp just to take a heavy clout round the head, before finding his legs swept from under him.
“They’re our property now.”
George grabbed him by the shirt collar and dragged him with ease through the parting crowd, his legs trailing on the deck behind him. Once they got to the derelict street at the back of the club, George hoisted him up off the floor and propped him against a metal dumpster as Terry Brady hovered behind.
“Some fuckin balls on you son. Comin intae ma club an tryin tae take ma custom. Who did ye get thum fae?” he said as he casually slipped a pair of knuckle dusters onto his right fist and clenched it hard.
“A mate.”
George let rip and pummelled his puny body into the side of the dumpster with several ferocious blows, feeling at least one rib snap under the weight of them. The boy slumped to the deck in a crumpled heap, reeling from the brutal assault, trying desperately to gasp for air, yet clearly none was coming.
“Once ye’ve got yer breath back ye can tell me who.”

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

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#BlogTour #RachelsRandomResources @rararesources / #PromoPost : Empire’s Hostage – Marian L Thorpe @marianlthorpe

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

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Today I’m on the ‘Empire’s Hostage’ blogtour, organised by Rachel’s Random Resources.
To promote this book I have a some ‘basic’ information for you.

About the Author :

Empires author photo

Not content with two careers as a research scientist and an educator, Marian L Thorpe decided to go back to what she’d always wanted to do and be a writer. Author of the alternative world medieval trilogy Empire’s Legacy, Marian also has published short stories and poetry. Her life-long interest in Roman and post-Roman European history informs her novels, while her avocations of landscape archaeology and birding provide background to her settings.

Social Media Links:
Website
Twitter
Facebook author page

Synopsis :

T9gIHoBwFor fifteen months, the Empire and the northern people have been at war, but a truce is finally at hand. As part of this treaty, Lena, now a Guardswoman on the Wall, is asked to stand as a hostage, to go north to live and learn among the people of Linrathe. But not everyone there will welcome her. As Lena learns more of the history of both her land and the north, a new threat emerges, one that will test her loyalty to its limits, and in the end, demand a price she could not have envisioned.

Purchase Link

Giveaway :

Win a Paperback copy of Empire’s Legacy, the complete trilogy (Open Internationally)

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*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.

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The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #RachelsRandomResources @rararesources / #QandAs : Hattie Goes To Hollywood #HattieGoesToHollywood – Caroline James @CarolineJames12

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

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Today I’m on the ‘Hattie Goes To Hollywood’ blogtour, organised by Rachel’s Random Resources.
To promote this book I have a Q&As post, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

XiJYh5DQBest-selling author of women’s fiction, Caroline James has owned and run businesses encompassing all aspects of the hospitality industry, a subject that often features in her novels. She is based in the UK but has a great fondness for travel and escapes whenever she can. A public speaker, which includes talks and lectures on cruise ships world-wide, Caroline is also a consultant and food writer. She is a member of the Romantic Novelist’s Association, the Society of Women’s Writer’s & Journalists and the Society of Authors and writes articles and short stories, contributing to many publications. In her spare time, Caroline can be found trekking up a mountain or relaxing with her head in a book and hand in a box of chocolates.

Social Media Links:
Website
Twitter
Facebook
Amazon Author Page

Synopsis :

HZQdd6VgA Cumbrian Village…
Three suicides…
A red-hot summer…
Join super-sleuth Hattie as tempers and temperatures rise in the Cumbrian village of Hollywood. With mischief and shenanigans aplenty, will Hattie discover the truth?
A funny and intriguing mystery – the first in a new series by Caroline James
When recently bereaved Hattie Mulberry inherits her aunt’s dilapidated cottage in the village of Hollywood in Cumbria, she envisages a quiet life. But retired hotelier Hattie is bored and when her neighbour asks her to investigate a suspicious suicide, Hattie’s career takes a new direction and H&H Investigations is born. During the hottest summer for years, Hattie discovers there have been three recent suicides in Hollywood and she determines to find out why. Temperatures rise as she throws herself into village life and, with mischief and shenanigans aplenty, Hattie has her work cut out. But will she establish the truth?

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Q&A :

Hi

First of all thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions, I really appreciate it. Here we go! 🙂
Stefanie, thank you so much for inviting me to your lovely blog.

Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
My background is in the hospitality industry, but I always wanted to write. I went to an all-girl’s grammar school and hated it and never thought I was good enough to write for a living. Many years later, I decided that I didn’t want to die wondering and wrote my first novel, Coffee Tea the Gypsy & Me which went to #3 in women’s fiction on Amazon and my writing die was cast.

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
I read Catcher in the Rye by J D Salinger when I was young, and it left a massive impression on me. The narrator, Holden Caufield, takes us through two dramatic days in his life and I found his unfolding psychological crisis deeply moving, I still do, whenever I re-read the book today.

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
I love to sit and have a chat with the late, great Mauve Binchy. Mauve had a real knack for creating characters that her readers couldn’t help but care about and love. Caring about characters is what turns the page and I’d love to ask her for some of her pearls of writing wisdom.

If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
Good question. I’d like to take tea with Long Tom Hendry who is a character in a couple of my books. Coffee Tea the Chef & Me and Coffee Tea the Caribbean & Me. He is an ageing Rockstar who has seen and had it all, yet remains charismatic with many a tale to tell. I’m secretly in love with him, if truth be told.

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
Sadly, yes. I have to have a tidy desk, complete quiet and constant coffee, liquorice tea or raspberry gin in large quantities.

Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
People in my life are constantly worried! Having owned and run a pub and an hotel, I constantly watch people. A hotel is a revolving door with new characters stepping over the threshold each day – perfect fodder for an author.

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
I try to plot. It makes the process easier. But characters, like people, have a mind of their own at times and I just go with the flow when that happens.

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
Don’t prevaricate. Sit down and write. Read Stephen King’s ‘On Writing’ as your bible.

What are your future plans as an author?
To write further stories in the Hattie Goes To Hollywood mystery series and also finish the follow up to my novel, The Best Boomerville Hotel.

Last, but not least : Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
There are three suicides in the village of Hollywood but are they all what they seem?

Isn’t that a great reason to pick up this book and to find out more?!
Thanks once again for this lovely interview, Caroline James.
Huge thanks again for hosting me Stefanie, happy reading to you and your followers,
Caroline xx

Giveaway :

Win a cuddly Drake toy! (Open INT)
Be in with a chance to win Drake, Hattie’s faithful pet duck! Tall Drake & Handsome – A gorgeous soft toy who will be your friend for life.

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*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.

a Rafflecopter Giveaway

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

 

 

P.S. Are you an author (or publisher) who also wants a FREE interview like this? You can always contact me via e-mail!

 

 

#BlogTour #RachelsRandomResources @rararesources / #QandAs : Killing Them With Kindness – Andy Paulcroft @AndyPaulcroft

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

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Today I’m on the ‘Killing Them With Kindness’ blogtour, organised by Rachel’s Random Resources.
To promote this book I have a Q&As post, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Xy7nIlBgAndy Paulcroft grew up in Weston-super-Mare, and his love of books started when he borrowed his sister’s copy of Five Run Away Together and exaggerated a minor illness in order to finish reading it. He has since worked as a chef in France, Switzerland, Corsica and the North Highlands of Scotland before settling as a catering manager at a boarding school in Dorset. After many years of writing two to three chapters of a book before discarding it, he finally published his first novel Postcards From Another Life – in December 2017. The wonderful feeling of completing a novel was only surpassed by receiving a positive reaction from people who had read it. He retired from catering and recently published his second novel Killing Them With Kindness. He is now working on his third book.

Facebook Page
Twitter

Synopsis :

T0IUi87gDeirdre Cossette is the self appointed carer for the elderly on The Avenue and all of her friends have stories to tell. Margery, whose comfortable life was destroyed by a knock on the door. Stan, who made a mistake as a young footballer which cost him his friends and his self-respect. Marina, whose slim and stylish figure hides a terrible secret from the summer of Live Aid. And, Oliver and Archie, who have survived everything from post war homophobia to a family tragedy – and they have done it together. Deirdre believes that everyone should have a choice. If they want to live on a diet of cakes, drink the alcoholic equivalent of a small hydrotherapy pool, or take on a toy boy lover in spite of a dodgy heart, Deirdre believes it is their right to do so. If they remember her in their wills afterwards, that’s not her fault, is it? However, not everyone agrees with her. When disgruntled relatives from the present meet up with disgruntled ghosts from her past, Deirdre discovers the cost of being kind.

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Q&A :

Hi

First of all thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions, I really appreciate it. Here we go! 🙂
Thank you so much for inviting me!

Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
I have always wanted to write. I always thought that I might be able to do it to a fairly good standard. But, as yet another potentially brilliant idea faltered at page thirty, I was beginning to think that I would never finish anything. I worked for forty years in the catering industry, which because of long hours that needed to be flexible, made it difficult to get into a routine to write. When I decided to retire early, an idea that I had for a novel became ‘Postcards From Another Life.’ This time, I didn’t give up on it after page thirty, I continued writing it until I suddenly realised that , this time, I was going to finish it. Once I’d done that, I turned an idea that I’d had churning in my mind for about twenty years into ‘Killing Them With Kindness.’

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
Like many children of my generation I started with Enid Blyton. Although ‘Five run away together’ featuring the Famous Five was the first book I remember reading, it was the ‘Adventure’ series featuring four children who argued a lot, along with their rude parrot, that first captured my imagination. In early teens I loved the Pamela Brown ‘Swish of the Curtain’ series, before reading most of the Agatha Christie novels by the time I had left school. As a young adult ‘The Custard Boys’ by John Rae was the first book that gave me an emotional attachment to the characters and later on, ‘Now and Then’ by William Corlett is the book that has resonated most strongly with me. I still have a great affection for detective novels and the Peter Robinson DCI Banks series is brilliant. Donna Tartt’s ‘The Secret History’ is a long standing favourite of mine, along with anything written by Patrick Gale, but especially ‘A Place Called Winter’ and ‘Sweet Obscurity.’

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
I have discovered in my short writing career what a kind and generous bunch us authors are! Through the wonders of social media and from attending literary festivals and seminars, I have met authors from a varied range of genres. They have all been wonderfully kind and only too happy to help. However, if there was one author that I would loved to have had a chat with, I would pick Agatha Christie. I love mysteries that leave you open-mouthed at the denouement, even though you know that the clues were there all along. Her books still have the power to entertain, surprise and delight me, even when I can remember ‘whodunnit’.

If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
From my own books, I would love to chat to Deirdre Cossette (Killing Them With Kindness,’) because she is sparky, full of fun and as mad as a balloon in a nest of hedgehogs … However, tea parties with Deirdre don’t always end well.
Changing the parameters slightly, as far as other authors’ novels are concerned, I have always wanted to live in Anna Madrigal’s house in Barbary Lane from Tales in the City, after I fell a little bit in love with ‘Michael ‘Mouse’ Tolliver.

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
I don’t really have any rituals. As well as writing I am also a full-time carer for my 93-year-old Mother. This can be very grounding as I can be creating (what I hope is) a dramatic scene one minute and emptying a commode the next.

Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
The tag line for ‘Postcards’ was: ‘Do you ever have a dream where it seems like you are watching a movie?’ This was inspired by the fact that I do have those types of dreams. Most of the stuff I dream is complete rubbish and loads of it I don’t remember, but, occasionally there will be something, maybe just an image, that gives me the idea for a story. As for the second part of the question, I’d say the answer was – yes! Sometimes unintentionally. I was talking to a friend about favourite characters in ‘Killing Them With Kindness’ and I said that mine was Piers Harper-Vallèe. My friend grinned and said: ‘Of course he is. He’s Ian isn’t he?’ Ian is my partner, but I hadn’t realised up to that point, that I had given Piers the characteristics I love about him.

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
‘Postcards’ would fall into the ‘pantser’ category. There was even one twist in it that I didn’t see coming until I had written it! ‘Killing Them With Kindness’ was plotted, but there were still times when I went a little off-piste! The book I am writing at the moment, I have plotted more intricately – basically because it’s set in alternative realities that are very similar to each other – and I felt that if I didn’t plot it properly, I would end up with the wrong people in the wrong realities!

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
I think ‘Just do it’ would be my best advice. Write a few chapters and then find some friends who you trust, and are on your wavelength, to read it. Tell them that you need them to be brutally honest (most of my friends didn’t have to be told!) and then listen to them. I have found that I can over fiddle – with ‘Killing Them With Kindness’ I must have read it through about twenty times, changing something each time I read it. An editor is a really good idea, I have a lovely one, Emma Mitchell, who has given me encouragement when I need it and advice (which I need all the time!).

What are your futureplans as an author?
I am currently writing a book with the working title ‘Another Man’s shoes’ which I am hoping will be finished by the summer. By the end of the year, I am hoping I can stop myself reading it through …

Last, but not least : Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
Of course. This passage is from the first chapter of the book. Deirdre Cossette is visiting her friend Margery, a large woman who could be described as ‘cake obsessed’. She has recently been victimised by a couple of local yobs who Deirdre has dealt with in her own inimitable way …

Deirdre tutted at the retreating figure, the ruined lawn, and the fact that she’d missed the first fifteen minutes of Countdown. As she re-entered the house she shouted to her friend, ‘That lawn is in an even worse state now that Tom Daley has swallow dived across it. I don’t think the English cricket boys will be practising their cover drives on it anytime soon.’
‘Deirdre … is there cake?’ Margery stoically ignored the fact that her garden had for the last quarter of an hour resembled the staging of a French farce, and repeated her question from earlier. It might have been a small amount of time, but she felt that it had been long enough for her to raise a small family since she’d last made the enquiry. The tone of her voice was heading north of concerned, very much in the direction of petulant.
If Deirdre thought her friend was being a tad ungrateful, when in all probability she’d solved the invasion problem once and for all, she didn’t mention it. She made the tea in a floral tea pot, covered it with a floral tea cosy, and placed it on the floral tea trolley. After this she loaded it with enough cake to concern a diabetic, and wheeled it into the lounge.
Margery ate the cake alphabetically, and had made it to ‘C’ the second time around before she stopped and drew breath.
‘Doctor Ransom would be having a fit if he could see me now!’ She laughed, good humour restored by carbs. ‘He told me that I needed to be sensible when it came to my calorie intake.’
‘Well …’ Deirdre reasoned. ‘As I said to dear Oliver when I played the under gardener in Women in Love. Sensible is all very well, but would Columbus have discovered America? Would Emeline have procured votes for women? And would Amy Johnson have flown like a bird; if they’d been sensible?’
It wasn’t a question that interested Margery in the slightest. The only question that did interest her was whether she should have carrot cake or croquembouche next. She returned to her own musings. ‘He says I’m heading for an ’eart attack.’
‘Oh! He’s just box ticking – he’s just making sure the NHS can’t be sued if the unthinkable happens. You are not going anywhere for a very long time, my darling!’
Maybe it was the effect of the cake, maybe it was the relief and euphoria brought on by the demise of the bullies, or maybe it was the sudden realisation that her one true friend in the world was standing in this room. Whatever it was, Margery felt a sudden wave of affection for the large, bright, and completely barking woman in front of her.
‘You are the only person who bothers about me,’ Margery said. ‘My children don’t even send me a birthday card, and I haven’t seen my sister’s kids since the day she died.’
Deirdre nodded, she knew exactly how alone this poor woman had been before she’d arrived on the scene.
‘I’ve left everything to you, you know,’ Margery continued solemnly. ‘The cottage, my investments, everything.’
‘Tch tch, sweetheart!’ Deirdre chided gently. ‘We are not inviting Mrs Morbid to our tea party.’
She patted Margery on the hand briefly, then armed herself with the cake knife, and approached the tower of eclairs stuck together with a sticky caramel. Although she outwardly seemed oblivious of the information that had just been proffered, inwardly it was at the forefront of her mind. She pressed on the knife handle, cutting the pastry while squashing and squeezing the cream in the process.
‘How about a large slice of the croquembouche?’

Isn’t that a great reason to pick up this book and to find out more?!
Thanks once again for this lovely interview, Andy Paulcroft.

Giveaway :

Win a signed copy of Killing Them With Kindness (Open INT)
*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.

a Rafflecopter Giveaway

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

 

 

 

P.S. Are you an author (or publisher) who also wants a FREE interview like this? You can always contact me via e-mail!

 

Genesis: Vision of the New World – D. Ellis Overttun @neoverttun, author from The Terra Nova Series, A #GuestPost

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

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Today I’m not on a blogtour, but I’m sharing a guest post written by D. Ellis Overttun, author of The Terra Nova Series to promote the second book ‘Genesis: Vision of the New World’.
Before I let you read it, I’ll first post some ‘basic’ information.

Synopsis :

Title: Genesis: Vision of the New World (Terra Nova book 2)
Date published: 13th August 2018
Genre: Sci-fi

A light streaking across the predawn sky, an explosion and an impending menace from above, seemingly unrelated events but connected to space time distortions predicted by an obscure scientific paper over 250 years ago. That same paper has predicted an end to the universe.
Has the unthinkable become a reality?
The ruling class Celesti see the danger as real and imminent since planet Arkos could become compromised in as little as 1,000 years. To them, that is one lifetime. That same timeframe is ten lifetimes to the servile class Gendu. To them, the threat does not even exist.
There are those within the Celesti who see the Gendu as a more immediate threat. Their solution is to genetically engineer a more pliant servant class and leave Arkos for an unknown planet. Is that even possible?
But will it even matter? The leaders of the Celesti, the Transcended, know a terrible secret: The Celesti are dying.
Against this backdrop of extinction lies the politics of power. A new leader has just assumed her role as the head of the Gendu Houses. However, she is an outsider. Will she be accepted or will she be cast out as an interloper?
Also, the leader of the most powerful religious organization on the planet is missing and presumed dead. It is the opportunity of a lifetime for anyone bold enough to seize the moment. Who will fill this void? Someone with a hunger for influence and privilege? Or someone with a calling for higher purpose?
Finally, there is a prophecy from the Codices of Taru which foretells of a time of darkness when the “head will be cleaved from the body” that will announce the coming of the “Deceiver”. Ancient superstition or a vision of the future?
Genesis: Vision of the New World tells this story in vivid detail, an evolution of the narrative begun in Universe: Awakening. As part of this journey, it takes a fascinating look into the world of the Gendu and introduces readers to a host of new characters and relationships. It is a potpourri of science, political intrigue and discovery driven by characters with selfish and selfless motives.

Amazon

20190330 Genesis - Cover (400 DPI).jpg

Guest Post :

Our story takes place on a planet called “Arkos”. It is inhabited by two peoples. The Celesti are the ruling class minority, and the Gendu are the servile class that comprise the vast majority of the population. The Gendu are governed by 12 houses, each said to be descended from the 12 children of the Great Father.

As the chapter opens, there has been a recent passing of Sodai Charif Darius, the Leader of the Houses. There is uncertainty surrounding the normal transition of power because Darius has chosen Kallista the Seer, someone not of House Artaxiad or any house, to succeed him rather than his grandson, Ra’id. Kallista reluctantly agreed to assume this role in order to groom Ra’id for the blood sport that is Gendu politics. But it is not so simple because one not yet ready to be a sodai charif would also not be ready to be a charif of his own house.

As an outsider, she understands that it will take all of her efforts to hold on to what has been bequeathed to her. At the same time, she cannot leave Darius’ grandson to the internecine intrigues of House Artaxiad. In either case, it is a matter of life and death. Save herself or save Ra’id? To attempt both would be to fail at both. She would appear to be faced with mutually exclusive alternatives. Or is she? To find out, please read Genesis: Vision of the New World, Chapter 10 – “Journey to the Sugar House”.

* * * * *

It was early afternoon, and Kallista sat at her desk in deep contemplation. Ra’id had left the Ministry for the Temple, and her quarters were being readied for occupancy. With the signet of her office now in her possession and pledges from her staff, she had successfully taken the first steps in securing her position as Minister. However, her situation was far from secure. Many of her aides had only given her perfunctory acceptance. She had their words but not their hearts. The rest of her staff, including Rith and Tamar, were another matter. From the morning’s inspections, she knew they were loyal. However, it might prove troublesome. They were all from House Artaxiad. How would that look to the Hagdola?

Then, there was Ra’id. He needed guidance. Clearly her choice of Rith as a temporary advisor was a mistake. His talents and predispositions were making things work that were already in place. He was an operator, not a builder. No, this would not do. However, none of her aides were appropriate either. All of them had stronger personalities than the reluctant Charif. In addition, while Ra’id would have been content to remain an aide, they were another matter. Most had good intentions, but she had learned that good intent is often compromised by ambition. She would have to deal with this next. She felt an obligation to Darius to watch over his grandson. On a more practical note, she would have a more difficult time in the Hagdola if House Artaxiad fell into turmoil. Ra’id needed a senior aide who was capable but untainted by ambition. That could potentially eliminate siblings, relatives or those with close family ties.

Did such a person even exist?

“Computer, access all background information pertaining to Charif Ra’id.”

“Acces granted.”

Ra’id would have undergone the standard, formal education common to all houses. The first seven years, known as the “common period”, would have included the children of nonfamily members whose parents were in service of the House. It was a policy designed to establish loyalty among the servant class.

“Display visual records for Charif Ra’id during the common period.”

A large holographic screen appeared before her filled with dots arranged neatly in rows and columns. Each one represented one still picture or video recording.

“There must be thousands,” she observed. “Filter records to include only those where a nonfamily member is the focal point along with Charif Ra’id.”

The screen shrunk in size.

“Still too big,” she thought.

“Filter these records to include only those where the nonfamily member is of similar age to Charif Ra’id.”

“Clarify age range.”

“Within the common period.”

The screen maintained its size, but the number of records were significantly reduced and had increased in dimension to fit the screen. The resolution was clear enough to just be able to make out the outlines of people.

“How many different nonfamily members are there?”

“Seven.”

“Enlarge and display these nonfamily members in decreasing order of frequency, indicating frequency of occurrence.”

The screen cleared. Then, the pictures of seven children were displayed.

“There you are.”

* * * * *

“I would advise against this,” said Rith.

“As would I,” added Tamar.

“Then, it is fortunate for me that I have not asked for counsel from either of you,” Kallista replied.

“Venturing out in this manner is far too dangerous,” Rith noted.

“Rith, who knows that I am Minister?”

“Well at present, only your staff and a small group within each of the houses, the ministers on the Governing Council and their staffs.”

“Precisely. There will be no official announcement until after the funeral.”

“While that may be,” Tamar argued, “the information is not secret and is bound to leak out.”

“Then, I should move quickly,” she replied, as she walked purposefully to the office foyer.

Rith and Tamar quickly followed.

Then, Tamar moved in front of her and blocked the doors that led to the corridor. “Minister, I cannot allow you to leave.”

“Tamar, it would displease me to see you in a cell,” she said to him, with a twinkle in her eye. “Remember Kenric?”

“Very well,” Tamar grumbled, “but at least, let me get some more men.”

“That will draw unnecessary attention to us. It’s bad enough that you look like a bodyguard, even in civilian clothing,” she said, as the doors opened.

Kallista and Tamar disappeared down the corridor leaving Rith behind shaking his head in disbelief. They made their way to the main doors of the ziggurat.

Just before they exited, Kallista, wearing a dark‑tan traveling cloak, put her hood up.  “Remember, Tamar. I am Kallista the Seer.”

“Yes, M…Kallista.”

“And there will be no name‑calling, regardless of what happens. I do not wish to have a repeat of what happened earlier today.”

“Yes, Kallista.”

Once on the walkway in front of the Ministry, Tamar flagged down one of the many electric vehicles that could be commandeered for site‑to‑site transport.

“Destination?” the driver asked.

“Port of Eden Detention Center West,” Tamar replied.

“The Sugar House? What are fine people like you doing going to a place like that?”

The Sugar House derived its name from an area where sugar, molasses and a popular alcoholic beverage distilled from sugar known as “melikaf” were once stored. Much later, when the detention center was constructed, the old name was retained by the locals. The West Docks was not only the part of the Port of Eden that serviced the Gendu population. It was also the center for illicit waterborne trade along the River Danu and the focal point for the cast of characters who participated in such activities. The Sugar House was populated with some of the most dangerous criminals on the planet.

“I’m going to visit my brother,” Tamar said gruffly.

“Oh…what’s he in for?” the driver asked a little nervously.

“He is being held for murdering a driver who asked too many questions.”

Kallista gave Tamar a look.

“There was no name‑calling,” he said matter-of-factly.

The journey proceeded in silence.

* * * * *

“We are here to see Colwyn, son of Mazur,” Tamar said to a clerk, at the front desk of the jail.

“Visiting hours are over for the day.”

“I would ask you to make an exception,” Kallista said. She reached into her cloak and pulled out a 50‑akuro note.

The clerk’s eyes widened as it slid discreetly across the counter. His hand slowly moved to retrieve his prize.

“We will also require one of the interrogation rooms,” she said assertively, as her fingers pressed down on the note, halting its progress.

“I’ll see what I can do,” the clerk replied, with a nervous smile. He left his post but returned a short time later. “I’m good with it, but my supervisor has some concerns.”

“I would speak with him. I am sure we can work something out.”

“Down there,” the clerk said, pointing to a solid metal door.

The area around the information desk had seen better days, but that did not compare to the setting beyond the door. Their eyes had to adjust as the lighting grew dimmer. Their footsteps crunched as though they were walking on small pebbles. The walls were covered in black mold, and insects and rodents scurried about. The moist air reeked of body odor and was filled with the muffled sounds of angry screaming. Just beyond the door, they were met by an unkempt‑looking, older man who looked as though he could have been one of the prisoners under his charge.

“Are you the supervisor with concerns?” Kallista asked.

“Yeah,” he replied gruffly.

“Will this assuage them?” she asked, holding out a 100-akuro note.

“Yes,” he said, with a smile.

He led them to a dimly lit room and told them to wait. The only furniture that occupied this drab space was a table and four chairs. A short time later, the door opened, and a young man was thrown in. His hands were bound behind his back, but he nevertheless rose to his feet just as the door slammed shut.

“COWARDS! FILTHY PIGS!” he screamed, as he hurled himself against the door. He very quickly sensed two silent figures standing in the shadows in the far corner of the room. He turned to face them, ready for a confrontation.

“Colwyn, son of Mazur?” Kallista asked.

“Who wants to know?” he snapped back.

Colwyn reminded Kallista of a young Darius. He had the same chiseled features as many Gendu males, but it was his eyes that drew her comparison, eyes that never wavered from hers.

“I am Kallista the Seer,” she said, removing her hood.

“Kallista the Seer? Of course, Kallista the Seer,” he replied sarcastically. “Pleased to meet you. I am Taru. You know Taru…the Creator.”

“You cannot be.”

“Yeah?! Why not?!”

“Because in all the images I have seen of Taru, his hands are not bound behind his back.”

“Well, you got me there,” he smiled. “Now, who are you really?”

Normally in these situations, Praana would have descended on him, and he would have been able to see the truth of Kallista’s assertion. However, this time was to be different. Kallista wanted him to arrive at any conclusions unassisted.

“As I said, I am Kallista the Seer.”

Ok, Kallista the Seer,” he again replied sarcastically. “What do you want?”

“I have an order from the Minister authorizing your release. Someone in House Artaxiad requires your service once again.”

Hah! Darius would not need to send a woman, especially Kallista the Seer, to this shithole to have me released. All he would need is a runner.”

“Listen, stupid,” Tamar said, “hear what she has to say. It’s not like you have anything better to do.”

Kallista gave Tamar a look.

“There was no name‑calling,” he said matter-of-factly. “I only pointed out his lack of common sense in this situation.”

“Well, Darius wouldn’t need someone like me,” Colwyn concluded, “Who then?”

“Ra’id.”

“Iddy? Of course, why didn’t I think of that? How is Iddy?”

“He is in trouble and needs your help.”

Colwyn was taken aback. His sarcasm, an indication of his disbelief, left him. “He has grown to manhood. Next in line for charif and minister. He would not need me. He has not needed me…”

“Since the common period.”

“Yes,” he replied, a genuine smile coming across his face.

“He was of normal size but lacked the aggressiveness of the other boys.”

“Yes.”

“So, you protected him.”

“Yes.”

“Why?”

“Because…he did not look down on me.”

“You were gifted. One of only a handful of the servant class to ever be educated beyond the common period. With some urgings in the right places from your friend and your father, you were even accepted to be trained as alessos. But you are not alessos.”

“No,” he said sadly.

“Why?”

“In my youth, I was arrogant. Strong in mind and body but lacking experience. I was alone, easily baited.”

“You have been purged of this flaw I take it.”

“Yes,” he replied, with certainty.

“The records show you were expelled for fighting. So, what better place to come than the Docks? I understand that underground fights are alive and well.”

“Yes.”

“But illegal and so we find you here.”

“You spoke of trouble.”

“Yes, those boys have grown.”

* * * * *

Normally, I would go into the background and commentary of a post. I will only mention that the Sugar House is a place I nicked from the sugar house prisons in New York during the American Revolutionary War. What I really want to do is turn the commentary over to my wife, Natasha. For those of you who have been following my guest posts, her visuals always feature somewhere. That “where” is here. So, without further ado…

Thank you, David, and hello all. The inspiration for this visual came to me as I scanned the table of contents of Genesis. In this case, “Journey to the Sugar House” caught my eye. As I reread the chapter, I was struck by the difference between the office and the prison environment. On one side was civilization, on the other barbarism. The imagery of a blackhole came to mind with the event horizon being a metaphor for that metal door. The woman represents Kallista looking sadly on as a faceless Colwyn desperately struggles to maintain his humanity. I want the viewer to ask: Does Colwyn cross the event horizon and fall into the blackness or can there be hope in this despair?

20190330 Universe (2nd ed) - Cover (300 x 480 72 DPI)
Despair? | Natasha Evelyn Overttun

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

Genesis: Vision of the New World – Excerpts and Commentary:
Themes in Genesis: Vision of the New World posted on The Book Hole
Chapter 2 – “Person of Interest” posted on My Bookish Bliss
Chapter 45 – “Tok and Maag” posted on Hair Past A Freckle
Chapter 55 – “Memories of Origin” posted on B for Bookreview
Chapter 65 – “Proof of Concept” posted on Don Jimmy Reviews

Series Overview:
Author Q&A posted on The Magic of Wor(l)ds
Author Q&A posted on On The Shelf Reviews
Author Q&A posted on The Book Hole
Author Q&A posted on From Belgium With Book Love
Cover Makeover Genesis: Vision of the New World posted on On The Shelf Reviews
Indie Spotlight – Terra Nova Series posted on beforewegoblog
Indies of Christmas posted on The Reading Closet

Universe: Awakening – Excerpts and Commentary:
Background to Universe: Awakening posted on Zooloo’s Book Diary
“Prologue” posted on Simply Phil’s Blog
Chapter 1 – “In the Darkness” posted on beforewegoblog
Chapter 2 – “Beyond a Program” posted on The Magic of Wor(l)ds
Chapter 6 – “Confessions” posted on Read Yourself Happy
Chapter 8 – “In the Darkness” posted on Zooloo’s Book Diary
Chapter 46 – “Tsai and Citrus” posted on Herding Cats
Chapter 60 – “The Awakening” posted on The Reading Chemist
Chapter 66 – “The Second Way” posted on The Tattooed Book Geek
Chapter 83 – “The Dream” posted on Reads & Reels
Chapter 85 – “Heron of Edenoud” posted on On The Shelf Reviews

For a deeper dive:
Universe:  Awakening 
Genesis:  Vision of the New World

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