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.


The CreativeLife in review - planning, time management, and the creative life

  Hey there, creative friend! It's been a week or more since my last post but mostly because I have been taking time to do other things....