Books
1 Comment

The spy that was

Madame Fiocca Book Cover Madame Fiocca
Suzy Henderson
adult, history, YA,
Avis Press
December 2019

A must-read gripping adventure based on the true story of Nancy Wake, Gestapo’s most wanted. Soon to be a major feature film.

February 1933: Nancy Wake is a gregarious twenty-year-old looking for adventure. Having fled her unhappy family home in Sydney, she becomes a journalist and is thrilled when she is posted to Paris. The city is glamorous, brimming with journalists, artists, and a growing number of refugees.

Later, in the French Riviera, she uncovers more than news following a chance encounter with wealthy industrialist, Henri Fiocca. Their relationship blossoms as Hitler makes waves across Europe. While on an assignment in Vienna in 1938, she witnesses Nazis whipping Jews on the street and she vows to fight for justice if ever the opportunity arises.

When Henri is called to the Front to fight, Nancy, determined to help the war effort, joins the Red Cross as an ambulance driver. Every day she witnesses atrocities. When Paris falls, Nancy flees the German oppressors and returns to Marseille.

A chance encounter with a British officer draws Nancy into the heart of the Garrow escape network, despite Henri’s reservations. Soon she finds herself caught in a deadly game of espionage.

As the iron fist of the enemy tightens, neighbours denounce neighbours. When the enemy closes in, Nancy and Henri face an impossible choice. Has she done more harm than good?

Based on a true story, Madame Fiocca weaves an extraordinary tale of survival and redemption in wartime.

Interview The story of the Book

Suzy Henderson – and Madame Fiocca

Q: Can you tell your readers something about why you chose this particular topic to write about? What appealed to you about it? Why do you think it is different and your approach is unique?

Nancy was, like so many of her generation, amazing, determined, and an exceptionally strong spirit. When I first read about her, some years ago, I was quite amazed, just as I was when reading about all of the women who joined the Special Operation’s Executive to carry out clandestine work in enemy territory during WW2. All of the biographies and news articles portrayed her as this fierce Guerrilla fighter and I marvelled at how brave she was, and how dangerous the work was. How cruel war is. But then I went digging and uncovered more of the real Nancy. What I discovered both saddened and amazed me and I was entranced. The main points most people know about her are that she joined SOE, dropped into France, fought and led thousands of Maquisards into battle against the Germans. Half true. I wanted to show her other side, her feminine side and her life before the war. No other novel to date has done that.

Q: How long do you think about a topic before deciding to write about it? Do you have a set of notes or a notebook where you write down topics that appeal before making a decision as to which topic this time?

Deciding what to write about is a good question! I read widely, and my main interest lies in the WW2 period. I’m still not sure why that is, but that’s how it is. So, I retain all relevant newspaper articles for my own interest, as one never knows whether they’ll provide a glimmer of inspiration one day. If a story or a person piques my interest, I will note that down. For me, the process involves making notes, physical or mental, as I go along. Sometimes an idea pops up and it’s something I can make a story from. Sometimes, as in the case of my last two books, the inspiration came from real people and real events.

Q: How long does it take to research a topic before you write? And for this book?

Research can be so lengthy, but I feel it’s a much longer process with the first book. My first novel, The Beauty Shop, took around a year or so to do the basic research, and then another two years of writing, edits and further research.

Writing about real people is definitely a complex process. I have to know enough about the person’s character, their personality, how they spoke, dressed, the list is endless. That takes time. In another period of history, I might have been forgiven for using more creative licence there, but for my time period, the real people in my books have descendants alive today, along with friends and others who knew them.

Q: What resources do you use? In general and for the last book that you wrote?

When writing and researching, I utilise numerous military history books, personal biographies and newspaper articles. I also use Google a lot to conduct research. I also make use of the BBC Archives from WW2 which is a fascinating resource brimming with first-hand witness accounts from the war – locals and veterans. There are also sites such as Bomber Command, the Imperial War Museum and the National Archives where I was able to purchase copies of Nancy Wake’s war records.

Q: How helpful do you find authority figures such as the police, medics etc when you say you want to write about them? Is there a good way to approach them in your experience?

So far in my writing, the only people I have approached for information or interviews have been either related to veterans, or veterans themselves. For my debut novel, I contacted a very helpful person from a museum which is dedicated to the men of the RAF Guinea Pig Club. Everyone has been most generous with their time and help. In seeking help, I have found the best way is to contact via email or letter in the first instance. Occasionally I have made enquiries via a third party who has managed to pass me a telephone number, having gained the person’s consent first. With regards to police or medics, I have never had any need to contact them for research. With medicine, I have quite an extensive knowledge myself as I previously worked in healthcare.

Q: If you need specialist knowledge to write a book, how do you obtain it? For instance, do you interview people? Go to the location? Use Google Earth? Apps?

I’m in the process of completing a contemporary romance, a brief escape from my beloved hist fic genre, but even that has required research. It seems there’s no escaping it. The general advice is write what you know, but if you do that there will still be things you need to research. One can never know everything. However, in search of the story, I’m a big fan of writing what you don’t know. So, a number of writers will blog about their recent adventures in Spain, or Canada, or somewhere exotic, all in the name of writing research. The reality is that unless it’s your family holiday, many people will not be able to make those trips and thanks to the internet, it really isn’t essential. I’ve been fortunate to have travelled to various places around the world, and also within my own home country. So, I’ve found that I can make use of my travels, and my memories of places quite well. As for the locations I use and have never visited, Google Earth is fabulous. I love how you can zoom right in and even drop the wee yellow man onto a street.

Q: Would you recommend self-publishing and building an audience before approaching a publisher? If so, what benefits do you see that it might have for the aspiring novelist?

I would definitely advise any new writers to establish a platform for themselves prior to approaching agents and publishers. I think that if you’re writing stories, then keeping a blog is a great idea. It’s a great base to grow from, and you will gradually discover an audience there. At the same time, set up your social media accounts. For me, I believe Twitter is vital. It delivers and I reach a wide audience. Facebook is useful as even if you don’t find much of an audience there, it’s full of useful groups for writers so it’s a valuable resource of information. Instagram is growing and reported to be a great platform for writers. So yes, do all that before pitching to agents. There is no need to self-publish first if having an agent or a publisher is important for you. Yes, it will bring you more experience, but it also means you have all the financial outlay. No agent or publisher worth their salt will expect this of any writer. They will take you on based on the quality and marketability of your writing. It’s that simple. And even the greatest writers get rejections. In building your platform, you will have a leg-up when you finally have your first book published, and that is so beneficial.

From my own experience, keeping a history blog for a few years prior to my debut release brought me a fair bit of exposure. Interestingly, while I am based in the UK, around 75% of my audience was and still is in the USA. And now the majority of my book sales are in the USA.

Q: Does writing provide sufficient income to live on? And how long did it take before this happened?

Writing and income is such a sticky topic. For me right now, it’s not a sustainable income, but I’m relieved to say that it has at least paid for itself with more left over. My editing bill for each book has been around £900, and then there’s book covers, book tours, set-up costs for paperbacks (if not using Amazon), proofing, advertising. However, I’m thinking positively of the future and I hope to increase the number of books over the coming years and see my income grow.

I know of a handful of successful self-published authors who are not so prolific on social media, but by the power of advertising have a very nice income, in excess of $70,000 per year. And then I know of others with more books than them who make nothing like that. So, it’s quite a fickle topic to speak of as there are so many factors involved. The best advice is not to give up the day job, if you have one.

Q: What is your favourite genre?

Well, that has to be historical fiction. I can’t help it, and believe me, I’ve tried. I read widely but try as I might I have yet to discover a crime novel I can truly enjoy. With historical fiction, I don’t just read WW2 stories either. I read stories about the Tudors, Vikings, and the odd regency.

Q: Which of your books are you most proud of?

I’m most proud of my debut novel, The Beauty Shop, for a number of reasons. Firstly, I was astonished by the real character, Archibald McIndoe, a pioneering plastic surgeon that not only fixed up RAF pilots and crew, when they were badly injured, but he helped them psychologically too. And I was amazed at the camaraderie and support of the club those men belonged to – the Guinea Pig Club. Not many people knew about it, and that was one of the reasons I wrote the book.

The fact that I completed the book, and self-published it, also makes me proud. There were some moments along the way that really did test me, mentally, and it took a lot of courage and foresight to persist, make the book the best I could, and publish it. Had it not have been for my amazing editor at the time, I may not have made it. She believed in me and the book, and she helped me enormously. I learned more from her during the editing process than from any writing event I have ever attended. KT Editing – she is a remarkable person.

Goodreads Amazon

Author:

Suzy Henderson lives with her husband and two sons in Cumbria, England, on the edge of the Lake District. In a previous life she was a Midwife but now works from home as a freelance writer and novelist.

 While researching her family history, Suzy became fascinated with both World War periods and developed an obsession with military and aviation history. Following the completion of an Open University Degree in English Literature and Creative Writing, she began to write and write until one day she had a novel.

 She writes contemporary and historical fiction and is a member of the Alliance of Independent Authors. Suzy’s debut novel, “The Beauty Shop”, has been awarded the B.R.A.G. Medallion.

Her next novel, “Madame Fiocca” will be published in December 2019.

https://suzyhendersonauthor.com

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15954239.Suzy_Henderson

https://www.facebook.com/SuzyHendersonAuthor

Share This:

Books
2 Comments

Tricky Tricky

Trickster Book Cover Trickster
(Angelbound Lincoln, #3)
Christina Bauer
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Young Adult
Published by: Monster House Books
Publication date: February 25th 2020

***A hilarious adventure after the events of Angelbound SCALA … and it’s all from Prince Lincoln’s point of view!!!***

With the drama of the Soul Towers and Lucifer’s Orb behind them, Myla and Lincoln look forward to sharing some quality time. Perhaps they’ll even do a ‘regular couple thingie’ like a dinner date. Or they could kill more demons together. Myla isn’t picky.

Then a trickster gets released inside Antrum’s secure borders. And by trickster, we’re talking a giant orange monkey with magical powers and a love of causing drama with uptight thrax.

Looks like date night is on hold.

So a Loki by any other name is a Trickster, but here, not necessarily by nature.

This story continues with Lincoln’s world view and adventures and says more about his soldier mentality and the way the medieval knight thought about the world and their role in it.

We replay his meetings with the Myla after she becomes the Scala and move on into their joint adventures before their marriage – which leads to a certain amount of sexual frustration – which may also lead to a certain amount of demonstration of virility in the fighting arena!

I like nearly all of the books in this series, but find these books about the early years less interesting, although I did like the Lion and his ‘pretend’ fight with Lincoln.

Nonetheless, even if Bauer does write the books out of chronological order, as they cover elements of the story we have not heard about before, they do link in. The writing style remains good and again a fun YA read.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Christina Bauer thinks that fantasy books are like bacon: they just make life better. All of which is why she writes romance novels that feature demons, dragons, wizards, witches, elves, elementals, and a bunch of random stuff that she brainstorms while riding the Boston T. Oh, and she includes lots of humor and kick-ass chicks, too. 

Christina graduated from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School with BA’s in English along with Television, Radio, and Film Production. She lives in Newton, MA with her husband, son, and semi-insane golden retriever, Ruby.

Be the first to know about new releases from Christina by signing up for her newsletter: http://tinyurl.com/CBupdates

Stalk Christina On Social Media – She Loves It!WEBSITEGOODREADSFACEBOOKTWITTER

Share This:

Books
0 Comments

Hanna explains her beat

My Pulse Book Cover My Pulse
Town of Broward Book 1
Hanna Dale
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
November 26, 2019
kindle

For single mom Tristan Maddox, moving to the small town of Broward, Georgia is the opportunity she needs to provide her daughter with a better life. A bigger house where they can each have their own bedroom, a backyard to play in, a place where they can put down roots and be part of a community, are all part of the reason she chose Broward as their new home. Nowhere on that list was her sexy next door neighbor, Owen, his adorably affable dog, Huck, or his crazy family. 

Owen Gallahanger is perfectly content with his life the way it is. He has a job he loves, a family that he can count on, even if they drive him crazy most of the time, and his loyal sidekick, Huck. He isn’t looking for anything more, but after meeting Tristan and her daughter, he quickly realizes exactly what he is missing.

But not everyone is happy that Tristan is in Broward. As an unknown threat continues to escalate, Owen has to fight to protect the woman he loves, and their future together, or risk losing everything.

  1. Can you tell your readers something about why you chose this particular topic to write about? What appealed to you about it? Why do you think it is different and your approach is unique? I’m a sucker for a good romance, at least reading one or watching one on the TV or in a movie. In real life, coming home to find my husband has started dinner is romantic! A lot of books I’ve read have dealt with the insta-love angle, and in nearly all of them, the characters all just fall in line. I believe in love at first sight, but I also believe in taking a beat and making sure it’s real and true.
  2. How long do you think about a topic before deciding to write about it? Do you have a set of notes or a note book where you write down topics that appeal before making a decision as to which topic this time? I’m like the worst plotter known to man. I fly by the seat of my pants, change directions halfway through, and then again three-quarters of the way through. It’s all about the way the story unfolds as I’m writing it. Since I was serious about publishing this book, I did take the time to put together a very basic outline. I didn’t follow it, but I did put one together!
  3. How long does it take to research a topic before you write? And for this book? There wasn’t a ton of research involved in this book, but it did take me several years to write it. That was more for personal reasons than anything else. I have several more books in this series that I want to write, and they will definitely involve a lot more research.
  4. How many times have you been rejected before your first novel was accepted or before this book was accepted? I self-published my book. I think the self-publishing and indie author boom in the last few years has given us a lot of amazing authors that we might not have ever been introduced to.
  5. If you could recommend a living author – who would it be? A dead author? I am madly in love with everything Lucy Score has written. I just discovered her, and I burned through all of her published works in no time at all. If you haven’t read anything by her – do it now!
  6. Do you have any pets? I briefly lost my mind and adopted three puppies….basically at the same time. I’m still not sure how it happened. So currently I have two pups that are two-years-old and one that is one-year-old and literally no sanity left.
    1. If so, what are they? We have one beagle, and two lab/hound mixes.
    1. And what are they called? Scout is our beagle, then we have Piper and Hobo.
    1. Do they help you write? They have a habit of trying to chew on my laptop, or the cord, or my feet, or anything they can get in their mouth.
    1. What is the funniest thing they have done while you are writing? Scout has a habit of closing my laptop, with my hands still on the keyboard.
  7. What, in your life, are you most proud of doing? Can I play the sappy mom card and say my kids? They astound me every day with how smart they are, but also how caring and loveable they are.

Share This:

Books
0 Comments

Your other half

Dead Ringer Book Cover Dead Ringer
(Gaslamp Gothic #5)
Kat Ross
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Retelling, Urban Fantsay,
Published by: Acorn Publishing
Publication date: December 13th 2019

Dead Ringer
Kat Ross
(Gaslamp Gothic #5)
Published by: Acorn Publishing
Publication date: December 13th 2019
Genres: AdultFantasyParanormalRetelling

Goodreads B&N Amazon iBooks Kobo Google Play

A poisonous secret. 
A terrifying curse. 
And a client she’d just as soon see dead in a ditch….
 

Summer 1889. Harrison Fearing Pell hoped for adventure when she signed on with the Society for Psychical Research as an occult investigator. Slogging through New York’s sewers in pursuit of a “mud man” wasn’t exactly what she had in mind. But the reeking monster terrorizing the dance halls of the Tenderloin leads her to an even more peculiar mystery — and the last man on earth Harry wishes to become entangled with. 

James Moran is a prodigy in music, mathematics . . . and crime. Harry’s older sister, the famed detective Myrtle Fearing Pell, has vowed to put him behind bars. But Harry owes Moran a personal debt, so when he demands her aid she can hardly refuse. It turns out that the brilliant black sheep of New York Society is part of a secret club at Columbia College whose members have started dying in bizarre ways that may not be accidents. 

Thus begins one of the strangest cases of Harry’s career, a tale of murder, cold-blooded revenge and fairytale bogeymen to make the Brothers Grimm shudder. As the bodies pile up, each preceded by sightings of the victim’s doppelgänger, Harry and her stalwart friend John Weston must race against time to save a man who arguably deserves his macabre fate.

I am reviewing here a 5 book series – urban fantasy and gothic. The Blog Tour is for book 5. It was suggested we read books 3 and 4 if we wanted first to get background, but having started book 3 I decided I needed to go right back to book 1 to start the story from the beginning. Although I then discovered that these characters originated in yet another series! Which I will read in due course.

Book 1 is linked but not closely to book 2 and thus book 3 but it is the characters in the books that follow through. Each book of the first 4 is a story about a main set of characters, with the characters from the previous books playing a minor role. In book 5 all the characters come together.

Each book has 2 main characters that emerge who are not quite what they appear on the surface – for a start the 2 in book 2 are very much older. It is likely that the female character – currently known as Vivienne – was born in the time of Sumer and ran away from home to become bonded magically to a Daeva.

Now a Daeva is thought to be a very nasty creature according to the folklore.  In the Avestan language (not spoken but used in the old Zoroastrian scriptures), this was a term for a supernatural entity with a disagreeable character. The Zoroastrians believe them to be creatures of the shadows with their principal activities -according to the Persians – as being the creators of chaos and disorder, and battling goodness. They are a Principal amongst the demonic infernal hordes. But in these Kat Ross stories, perhaps due to their bonds with humans, they are actually battling for good and against evil. In the Kat Ross series the Daeva’s original name was Achaemenes and he was at least 2000 years old.

Vivienne had been bonded to a Daeva before him but she had died during the battle when they had freed the Daeva slaves from their mistress.

Vivienne shows her origins by the goddesses she worships. There are 3 major ones.

1.Mami aka Ninhwsag – who was a Babylonian goddess who created mankind from her bottom which was made of clay and blood.

2. Kavi was 1 of the 10 Mahavidyas – which are a set of Sakta and Budddhist goddesses and is the destroyer of evil forces.  The Sakta were a set of Hindu goddesses where Sakti means power. They are also called Durga who was known in the 16th century as a Great Goddess, Ma and Devi. The Sakta Pethas are places of worship for many goddesses.

3. And Inanna (Innuna), a Mesopotamian goddess who had many roles – love, beauty, sex, desire, fertility, war, justice, and political power. In Sumer she was also known as Isktar.

All these goddesses took on different names according to the culture in which they were worshipped but all tended to originate from the Sumerian era.

I found the whole series to be addictive and full of interesting things to learn – abut ancient goddesses for instance, the details that emerged about the Zoroastrian religion – which is very ancient but still practiced in India for instance. I know that the Indian steel magnates Tata are Parsees or Zoroastrian priests who fled to Mumbai from persecution in Iran. Near Mumbai there is a Parsee retreat village called Matheran and I have stayed there in the hotel that the Tatas use. Matheran is a very interesting place as you can only travel by horse or foot in the forests and village. And is now ‘sold’ as an eco-village of course.  You come up from Mumbai on a toy train which is great fun. The hotel we stayed at is called the Verandah in the Forest , see the photo below, and the name and the situation were very appealing to me…  just one warning, don’t sit down in the forest as the ants are very bitey!

So Matheran embodies much of the Parsee religion.

I am now looking forward to reading more by this author as I found the work original and well written with a good style and plenty of stuff happening to keep you interested… and exploring the characters in different books was a good concept.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kat Ross worked as a journalist at the United Nations for ten years before happily falling back into what she likes best: making stuff up. She’s the author of the Fourth Element and Fourth Talisman fantasy series, the Gaslamp Gothic paranormal mysteries, and the dystopian thriller Some Fine Day. She loves myths, monsters and doomsday scenarios. Check out Kat’s Pinterest page for the people, places and things that inspire her books.

Share This:

Books
1 Comment

Curses! guestpost jan

The Cursed Key Book Cover The Cursed Key
(The Cursed Key Trilogy #1)
Miranda Brock, Rebecca Hamilton
Genres: New Adult, Romance, Urban Fantasy
Published by: Evershade Publishing
Publication date: January 14th 2020

A forgotten past, a dark mage, and an unyielding curse. Another team beat free-spirited archaeologist Olivia Perez to the dig of a lifetime, and now she’s left with the choice to wait for scraps or brave a dangerous, dusty tomb in hopes of finding other priceless artifacts. Her reward? A mysterious key she has no idea is cursed. Soon, Olivia realizes she’s brought home more than just an ancient rarity. Malevolent visions begin to plague her. Unnerved by what they reveal, she casts away the key…unknowingly placing it into the waiting hands of a dark mage bent on destruction. Only when a shifter agent from the Paranormal Intelligence and Tracking Organization arrives searching for the key does Olivia realize what a huge mistake she’s made. Forced to team up with the ill-tempered shifter, her journey to reclaim the cursed key leads down a twisting path of dark histories, dangerous magic, and deadly obstacles. But Olivia’s efforts to take back the ancient relic before the dark mage can destroy the lives of humans, shifters, witches, and fae alike are thwarted by her own dark past…and a price steeper than what she’s willing to pay. Fans of Tomb Raider and Ilona Andrews will love the blend of urban fantasy, magical adventure, and paranormal romance in THE CURSED KEY from Miranda Brock and New York Times bestselling author Rebecca Hamilton!

Ten Series To Read If You Enjoy The Cursed Key!

as recommended by the authors

  • Jane Yellowrock Series by Faith Hunter
  • Mercy Thompson Series by Patricia Briggs
  • Demon Days, Vampire Nights Series by K.F. Breene
  • Protected by the Damned and War of the Damned Series by Michael Todd
  • Innkeeper Chronicles Series by Ilona Andrews
  • Sea Fae Series by C.N. Crawford
  • Reign of Blood Trilogy by Becca Blake
  • A Touch of Ink Series by Rachel Rawlings
  • The Keepers Way Series by Miranda Brock
  • Shadows of Salem Series by Rebecca Hamilton and Heather Marie Adkins

Author Bio

New York Times bestselling author Rebecca Hamilton writes urban fantasy and paranormal romance for Harlequin, Baste Lübbe, and Evershade. A book addict, registered bone marrow donor, and indian food enthusiast, she often takes to fictional worlds to see what perilous situations her characters will find themselves in next.

Represented by Rossano Trentin of TZLA, Rebecca has been published internationally, in three languages: English, German, and Hungarian.

Author links:
Website / Facebook / Twitter

From an early age Miranda Brock has always loved fantasy and adventure everything. Since she doesn’t live in a world of enchanting powers, mythical beasts, and things unbelievable she has decided to write about them. (Although, if you happen to see a dragon flying around, do tell her.) Born in southern Illinois, where she still resides with her husband and two children, she grew up running through the woods, playing in creeks, and riding horses. What started out as writing poetry grew into short stories and eventually led to her first novel, Souls Discovered. Miranda lives in the country where she finds inspiration in the simplicity and beauty around her. With the help of a ridiculous amount of coffee and some good music she writes whenever she gets a chance.

Author links:
Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

Share This:

Social Media Auto Publish Powered By : XYZScripts.com