Sunday, 13 May 2018

Everything back to...normal?

Francois and I in front of the
Hard Rock Café in Glasgow
It is a month since we returned from Scotland. While my travel journal is almost completed - one or two pages still to go - we have already planned and invited friends and family to come and view the photographs of our trip. The majority of those photographs will be Francois', but he kindly decided to include one or two of my mobile phone pictures to fill in the gaps of our story. He even added Scottish music to the slideshow, thanks to a CD I bought a few years ago.
The point to my story tonight was surprising to me: we are already looking at the destination for our next trip. I did not think that was going to happen so soon. I was reading an email newsletter from an art website I subscribed to when they mentioned an art retreat taking place later this year. I had a look - only out of curiosity since another trip would not be possible - when I browsed around the area where the retreat is planned. I sent a message to Francois, and he happened to mention that it was a destination on his bucket list. And here we are, shopping again. Since we have not decided to go yet, I will keep the destination a secret until we do. What I can say though: it will be a place with awesome photographic opportunities. Where else would a photographer and writer/closet artist/blogger go on holiday anyway?
Back home, I have to apologise for the Scotland competition that didn't happen. MailChimp deleted my account, because I do not spam people!, and I lost all my subscribers as a result. It is a pain, but future events will then only be on the open blog. Again my apologies if you tried to subscribe and the website would not let you.
On a side note: I will be taking part in a library event in Pretoria in July. More news on that later, so keep your eyes open to come and support other authors and libraries.
Until next time!

💜 Linzé

Thursday, 10 May 2018

Book Feature: THE WOMAN BEHIND THE WATERFALL by Leonora Meriel


About the Book:
Heartbreak and transformation in the beauty of a Ukrainian village.
For seven-year old Angela, happiness is exploring the lush countryside around her home in western Ukraine. Her wild imagination takes her into birds and flowers, and into the waters of the river.
All that changes when, one morning, she sees her mother crying. As she tries to find out why, she is drawn on an extraordinary journey into the secrets of her family, and her mother's fateful choices.
Can Angela lead her mother back to happiness before her innocence is destroyed by the shadows of a dark past?
Beautiful, poetic and richly sensory, this is a tale that will haunt and lift its readers.

Book Links:


Meet the Characters:

The Setting
Ukraine, a village deep in the countryside. A picturesque, verdant landscape. The houses are beautiful but have few amenities: water is gathered from the well, clothes are washed by hand, and the “outhouse” toilet is in the garden. Life is hard work here, and close to nature.

The Language
There are many Ukrainian words in the novel, especially emphasizing the names of endearment Ukrainian people give to each other. Lastivka is “little swallow”; zaika is ‘little rabbit”; harnenka is “my beautiful one.”

Meet Lyudmilla
Lyuda is a beautiful woman in her early twenties who has suffered some hard knocks early on. Pregnant at just sixteen, she left school and the child’s father moved into their house in the village. Her father died, and her mother soon after, and Lyuda found herself a teenager loaded down with the pressures of a baby, looking after a house, and a man who expected her to cook for him and be the light-hearted girl he fell in love with. Eventually, the situation grows intolerable for him and he abandons her. At seventeen, she is entirely alone with a small baby. She falls into a deep cycle of depression and self-blame, feeling that her life is over and that she is at fault. She doesn’t let anyone close to her.
It is only when her daughter Angela is a little older – aged seven – that she starts to notice how sad her mother is.  She decides to do something about it.

Meet Angela
Seven-year-old girl Angela has been left alone to do as she likes for most of her life. Her mother makes sure her dresses are clean and her hair is untangled, but she is free to play as she wishes. She has a wild imagination and she sees no boundaries between her thoughts and the world around her: she flies in the body of a bird, she becomes the wind, she enters a storm – she is pure spirit and possibility.
When she starts to notice her mother crying every time she is alone, Angela is determined to find out why, and to help her mother regain the happiness she herself feels. At the heart of her investigation are questions that now begin to haunt her: Where is her father? Why does no one come to the house? Why does her mother cry when she thinks no one can see her?
When Angela meets the spirit of her grandmother, they come up with a plan to help Lyuda.

Meet Zoryana
The name Zoryana, which comes from the Ukrainian root zorya, means star, dawn, youth, day or spring. Zoryana has returned to the Earth in spirit form after seeing the unhappiness of her daughter and her failure to move past her teenage mistakes.
Zoryana feels that she did not prepare her daughter enough for the real world before she died, and she sees her struggling and unhappy. She wants to show her that life has highs and lows and that she must choose a new path for herself. She connects with her granddaughter Angela, who is not daunted by meeting the spirit of a relative, and together they help Lyuda to understand and see the joy in her life.

Meet Kolya
Nicolai, or Kolya, lives next door to Lyuda and brews home-made vodka in his shed. He sells it to her and catches rabbits for her to eat. He was a childhood friend of her mother, Zoryana, and he hates to see her so unhappy. He’d love to help her, but she pushes him away. When he finally makes a terrible mistake, there is a high price to pay.

Reviews for The Woman Behind the Waterfall

“Readers looking for a classic tale of love and loss will be rewarded with an intoxicating world” ~~ Kirkus Reviews
“The language is lyrical and poetic and, in places, begs to be read repeatedly for the sheer joy of it… A literary work of art.” ~~ Fiona Adams, The Richmond Magazine
“Rich and poetic in detail, it is an often dreamy, oneiric narrative rooted in an exaltation of nature… A lovely novel.” ~~ IndieReader

About the Author:
Leonora Meriel grew up in London and studied literature at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and Queen’s University in Canada. She worked at the United Nations in New York, and then for a multinational law firm.
In 2003 she moved from New York to Kyiv, where she founded and managed Ukraine’s largest Internet company. She studied at Kyiv Mohyla Business School and earned an MBA, which included a study trip around China and Taiwan, and climbing to the top of Hoverla, Ukraine’s highest peak and part of the Carpathian Mountains. She also served as President of the International Women’s Club of Kyiv, a major local charity.
During her years in Ukraine, she learned to speak Ukrainian and Russian, witnessed two revolutions and got to know an extraordinary country at a key period of its development.
In 2008, she decided to return to her dream of being a writer, and to dedicate her career to literature. In 2011, she completed The Woman Behind the Waterfall, set in a village in western Ukraine. While her first novel was with a London agent, Leonora completed her second novel The Unity Game, set in New York City and on a distant planet.
Leonora currently lives in Barcelona and London and has two children. She is working on her third novel.

Contact the Author:







Friday, 4 May 2018

Book Feature: THE VENOM PROTOCOLS by John Murray McKay

book cover, The Venom Protocols, John Murray McKay, fiction
Synopsis
Charlotte Corday, a junkie, trying to survive on the streets of 1980s New York has a chance encounter with a group of five thugs beating a man to death behind a deli in Brooklyn. Through ways unknown to her yet, she manages to subdue the gang members using unheralded skills in combat and weaponry, killing three in the process. The man whose life she saved turns out to be a enforcer for the New York Mafia. Impressed with her skills, Vince takes care of the injured Charlotte and slowly starts dragging her into a life of crime. He recognizes her potential as an assassin for the mob, digging his claws ever deeper into her. To keep her safe, Vince sends her to live with her two uncles in The Village (who also happens to run a clandestine operation above their salon.) She tries to live a normal life but her demons would not let her go, the blood on her hands a constant reminder of what she really is: a weapon.
Charlotte eventually goes looking into her past and discovers that she was part of a secret enhanced soldier program called Venom. She is imbued with the powers of legendary female warriors of history, giving her enhanced strength, recovery time and the fighting prowess of generations of deadly women. Unfortunately, this warps her mind and sends her life out of control in her quest for vengeance.
Determined to find the creators of Venom, Charlotte goes on a journey to find her origins, tearing New York City apart in the process. With the FBI and NYPD closing in on her after fuelled massacre of thirty innocents, Vince offers Charlotte a proposition: A meeting between the creator of Venom and the head of the New York Mafia. With her finger on the sniper trigger, Charlotte has to make a decision: end the life of the man that ruined her entire existence or put a bullet through the most powerful Mafioso on the East Coast. She makes her choice but accidentally kills the mafia boss as he runs in front of her bullet.
With Vince swearing a blood oath of vengeance on her, Charlotte goes on the run. Book one ends where he smuggles Charlotte out of the country in a shipping container. Destination: Northern Ireland in the middle of the sectarian wars. With the knowledge that she can never go home, Charlotte Corday must forge a new path, one that runs straight through the streets of Belfast.
Excerpt:
They kept coming after us, whistling and shouting as they went. It was like time stopped and everything around me grew quiet. I could sense the brick as it left the man’s hand, feel the texture of the rough red grain as it flew through the air. In slow motion I pushed Peter to the side, feeling him fall away as I turned and felt the brick strike my chest. Chest thumping, blood dripping down my breasts, dress torn as I lay on the dirty pavement sucking in deep swathes of breath. I could not hear Richard’s terrified screams or the laughter of the men, just the torrent of blood in my veins racing faster and faster.
And then it stopped.

Author bio
I am a Pretoria, South Africa based writer of historical fiction and science fiction. I am currently a teacher a local primary school. My previous publishing credits include “The N Days” through Night Chaser Ink Publishing in Australia. My second series 'The Venom Protocols' is a Summer Indie awards winner in 2016.


Thursday, 26 April 2018

Book Feature: THE BROTHERHOOD OF MERLIN by Rory D Nelson

About the Book:

Merlin returns to Lycenea a hero, victorious over the Visi-Gauls in a gruesome and exhaustive campaign that claimed the life of one of his men and saw the annihilation of the Visi-Gauls’ Southern Army.

Merlin’s peaceful reprieve is cut short however, as he must now find and expose the corrupt Senator who initiated the war in the first place and plots to subvert the Empire for himself. He is aided by the powerful sorceress, Morgana and Felinius, a former disgraced and condemned knight who knows the inner workings of the Brotherhood.

Merlin must also protect two of the captives he rescued during the war with the Visi-Gauls, one of whom is a boy named Dante, whose power has been prophesized to defeat Herod Antipaz, the corrupt Senator, and his deadly allies who threaten to destroy Gilleon.

Herod makes plans of his own for eliminating Dante. The boy’s problems continue to mount precipitously- for not only is he being ruthlessly hunted down by Herod’s minions, but he must also face down a brutal training program in Round Table Academy, where he faces elimination on a daily basis. Should he be eliminated, he will no longer be under the protection of Merlin and his Brotherhood and his death almost a foregone conclusion.

His only hope, his only salvation is Merlin- as is the country of Gilleon.

Book Links:

Goodreads * Amazon

Check Out Book One: Gilleon

Five hundred years after the death of King Arthur, a sadistic tyrant of Visi-Galia, attacks unprotected and vulnerable townships in Gilleon, igniting a deadly chain of events. Because he was unfairly denied a proper chance to compete for valuable mine rights and outbid by a Councilman from Gilleon, he reasons that he can invade Gilleon's vulnerable townships and force the Council to negotiate with him.

Merlin, the lead knight in Lycenea, has foreseen just such a predicament. With the gifts of premonition, telepathy and intelligence, he and 9 of his most formidable knights go into battle against Jason and his force of nine thousand.

At stake is everything. The fate of the prisoners who are awaiting to be sold into slavery rests in the hands of the deadly knights. Specifically, two girls who were attacked in Missalia and are now orphaned, are at the mercy of the sadistic King. Will Merlin and his band of knights be able to rescue them in time?

Adele, the older sister, has plans of her own for escape. Will she prove successful or will her plans be foiled? If she is caught, what will become of her and her sister, Sylvia?

Dante, a boy from Coifen, is also now orphaned. He is the sole survivor of a brutal attack on his family. An unlikely heroine has come to his rescue- a mysterious white wolf. Unfortunately, the attack has left him blind. He and his guardian make their refuge in a remote cave. He clings desperately to the hope that God has spared him for a reason. Every night he goes to bed, he says a prayer to his talisman, the Merlin, a game piece that his father gave him before he was forced to abandon him. It was the last gift he received before all hell broke loose. Will he be rescued? Will he find a permanent haven? His fate also lies in the hands of the Merlin.

Merlin and his troupe lead the Visi-Gauls in a high stakes game of cat and mouse. Jason, though capricious, is not stupid. He uses every means at his disposal to eliminate Merlin. Who will prove the victor? Fighting a severe war of attrition, it seems at times that Jason will inevitably win; but don't count the Merlin out. He is beyond slippery. Every time it seems that Jason has the gifted knight, he is thwarted yet again.


Get Your Copy of Book One: Gilleon for FREE!

Book Links:

Goodreads * Amazon


Character Study - Renault

     Deadly. Volatile. Vengeful. Sadistic. Cruel. Compassionate. Courageous. Heroic. He is a dedicated and loyal brother to the Merlin and a champion to the innocent and defenseless, but he also enjoys killing and watching his targets suffer as he inflicts agony on them before he finishes them off.  He is a walking contradiction and the right hand of the Merlin. When faced with an impossible mission, Merlin knows that he count on Renault to achieve his goals.
  Like Merlin, he is cunning, calculating, manipulative, resourceful and a master at strategy and logistics. He is also a telepath and can glean information from his targets. He should be a Godsend to Merlin but nothing is so simple.
     Living in the relatively peaceful town of Helganon with his family, Renault clings to his peaceful reprieve in between his deadly missions for the Merlin. But with his volatile temper and his urge to protect the innocent at all costs, his demons push him closer to the brink, alienating himself in the process.
     When Renault’s temper pushes him past the threshold of composure, he lashes out and makes enemies not only among his own trusted brethren but also on both sides of a dangerous feud between the Ostra-Gauls and the Sene-Gauls. And so he finds himself in a desperate circumstance with the walls beginning to close around him.
     Will Renault’s demons push him too far, making him a liability among his brethren? Will his dire circumstances invade his own peaceful refuge at home with his beloved family? When Merlin’s own dire circumstances necessitate the need for Renault and his skill set, will he be ready?

About the Author:

Author Rory D Nelson is an accomplished actor and has been seen in several high school productions of “Oedipus Rex,” “My Fair Lady,” and “Little Shop of Horrors.” He owns a window cleaning business in the Sacramento area, enjoys wine tasting, snowboarding, traveling and working out. Rory D Nelson is an eclectic and prolific writer, having written numerous comedy skits, commercial parodies, and ghost-written many humorous t-shirts. He has the most unusual imagination of any fantasy author, since he also brings his deranged sense of humor into play in his books.


Contact the Author:

Website * The Brotherhood of Merlin * Facebook * Twitter 






Friday, 20 April 2018

Book Feature: FORSAKEN NORSE WIND by Ciara Lake


About the Book:

A troll, a mortal, and a love hot enough to melt ice.
Trapped in a vicious life, Breanna Devion survives only by the strength of her heart. Determined to have more than what her abusive stepfather has planned for her, she's willing to risk everything to be free.
Axel Venrick is a troll who has spent centuries alone, isolated in his castle in Iceland. At the insistence of others, Axel crafts the ultimate tool to find his soul mate. He creates a beautiful ring which is bespelled, blessed by a god, and sent forth to locate Axel's other half.
The ring finds Breanna just in time to prevent her stepfather's disastrous plan from taking place. But angry gods, vengeful parents, and an evil lurking in the immortal world all conspire to destroy the love of the jaded troll and his innocent mortal. Can their love free them or will the evil spreading from the bowels of the earth destroy them first?


Book Links:

Read an Excerpt:

“It’s going to be ugly if they get here. I may have to kill some of them. I’d prefer not to, at least this day. But they may leave me no choice.” He shrugged. “So, let’s go to avoid this problem. I didn’t come here to make war on these humans. I came to fetch my mate.” He stepped closer to the porch. “Trust me, Breanna. Let your heart guide you. If you listen to it, you will know what to do.”
“My mother’s in her room sleeping. I need help with her. She’s ill, and she can be difficult.”
“Let me inside, I’ll talk to her.”
“Okay.” She stood aside. “I’m your mate?”
“Yes, you’re my mate.” In a few quick steps, he stood inside the house. He had to duck as he entered, and once inside he hunched not to hit the ceiling. “Gather what you would like to take with us. Get the coat I gave you.”
Breanna picked up the coat to put it on. She took him to her mother.
“Mother, this is Axel. We need to leave with him. Hugh’s upset with us. He’s coming back to… hurt us. We have to go.” Breanna tapped her mother’s arm. “Mother, please wake up.”
Fiona rolled over to look at Breanna. Her eyes were crazed. “What is it, child?” Her voice sounded weak. “I was dreaming of Hema taking me to his realm.”
“We need to leave. This is Axel.” Breanna pointed at him. “Umm, he’s a friend of mine. We need to go with him, now.”
“No.” Her mother sat up in the bed, shaking her head. Her hair looked wild all over her head. “I must wait for Hema to return. If I’m gone he may not find me.”
“Mother, we have to go. Hugh’s not happy, and he’s bringing others to start trouble.” 
“You leave, I’m staying here. I’m not worried about Hugh.” She lay back down, rolling to the other side. “I cannot leave. Hema may come to get me.”
Axel patted Breanna on her shoulder. “They’re almost here. Stand back with me. Lay the coat down then give me your hand. We’ll watch to make sure your mother’s safe.”
He reached for her hand, and Breanna allowed him to hold it.
“No one can see us now. It takes less power if you hold my hand to make you invisible with me. We’ll wait and watch. They cannot hear us either.”
Breanna followed Axel out into the front room of the house. They stood to the right of the fireplace out of the way. The front door burst open, and Breanna jumped.
“It’s okay. They don’t see or hear us. You’ll be safe.” He gently squeezed her hand. “Relax.”
Hugh, along with two other men, entered the house. The door banged against the wall, and they pushed the chairs to the floor as they stomped inside. Others were outside the house calling loudly for her.
“Where’s the bastard? The damn girl’s in league with him."

About the Author:
Welcome to Ciara Lake's World. Meet Gorgeous Werewolves, Vampires, Dragons, Mermaids, Wizards, Witches, Mythological Gods and Goddesses, Mere Mortals And More! Fiction has always been a passion of mine. Creating worlds and developing characters is a great way for me to relieve the stress and strain of my everyday world. In fantasy (paranormal) and sci-fi stories, the author has the unique ability to invent wonderfully exotic places and people. I do that in my books. These fantastic genres provide a limitless ability to be creative and inventive. My stories provide an escape into a special world filled with unique and otherworldly things. And there is always a happy ending.


Contact the Author: