31 October, 2014

#SpecialFeature :: Introducing #Author R.T.Manu Ramesh

Under "Special Feature" every month I feature a Special Author. 
During this month I put up 4/5 posts about the Author/Book, including Interview / Review / Excerpt / Guest Post / Author Bio / Fun Facts or whatever else we can come up with. Also on the first day of the month we will  launch the Giveaway contest along with the first post and will announce the winner on the last day of the month.
So be sure to check out my blog every 1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd and 29th of every month for something new :)

*** Special Feature - November 2014 ***

About the Author
The most vivid memory of R.T. Manu Ramesh’s childhood is that of changing schools every two years owing to his father’s transferable job as a civil servant with the Government of India. It varied from a convent run by Catholic priests in white cassocks in a small town at one end of the spectrum to residential schools of ochre robed Hindu Sanyasis .He graduated as a Mechanical Engineer from the reputed RV College of Engineering, Bangalore, India, in 2006 and started his career in the IT industry as a software programmer. He however found his true calling a couple of years later when a dynamic, young, entrepreneur, invited him to join his start-up, Aurigo Software Technologies, as a part of the Sales and Marketing team. The firm was to expand in India in a big way. Playing a crucial role in the company’s growth Manu was instrumental in its foray into the India market and acquisition of first ten customers in India. He now works for an MNC and is based in San Jose, California. He is an avid tennis player and swimmer. He has an ear for music. He enjoys travelling, reading, water surfing and watching movies during free time.

Contact The Author

About the Book
Rajesh Iyer, a young, ambitious salesperson, returns to ñThe Sales Roomî of Oregon Software Technologies after an aborted attempt at getting into a business school in the US, only to notice the metamorphosis of the software start-up which he had earlier been an integral part of. What used to be a rat-infested hole in the midst of a vegetable market is now a swanky, state of the art facility owned by an upcoming Bollywood star. The enthusiastic and compact team firing on all cylinders is replaced by a sclerotic and bureaucratic set up. Sales review meetings, once rife with passionate discussions, are now replete with profanities. The ill tempered angel investor's scream can be heard all the way from his villa in New York.Rajesh, now shunted into an innocuous role finds every effort made to alleviate the condition of the demoralized sales team, met with resistance. As revenues dwindle and tempers rise, Rajesh realizes he is running out of time and options. He either toes the CEO, Venky's line and becomes party to a sham or quits citing a host of plausible reasons. This hilarious narrative takes the reader from plush corporate boardrooms of Bangalore to the seedy hotels in Delhi as Oregon meanders in search of illusory customer wins. Rajesh meets several interesting characters ranging from the busty Polish graphics designer to the loquacious pimp masquerading as a taxi driver.


Buy the Book

Giveaway 
1 Autographed Paperback Copy of The Sales Room by R.T.Manu Ramesh to a lucky Indian Resident.

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30 October, 2014

#PressRelease :: A Hundred Lives For You by Abhisar Sharma



ISBN : 978-93-82665-28-1
Pub : November 2014
Price : ` 195
Extent : 260 pp
Binding : Paperback
Subject : Fiction
Size : 5.1” x 7.75”



I wish we had the courage to have a second child.
Abhimanyu Sharma, 13, is on the threshold of a new beginning when his father’s remark scars him and his relationships forever.
Why did you not say it that day?
He is in love but does not fathom the depth of his love till it is too late.
And mark my words, you are the best!
He adores his Daddu, the old man whose faith in him keeps him going.
You saved me, and in time, I shall rescue you back.
And then, there is Simran, the little girl who gives him hope and love.
For whom he can give a hundred lives.

Join Abhimanyu as he proves every perception against him wrong – even his own – as he lives
through tumultuous relationships, a broken friendship, lost love and merciless carnage in the
very heart of Delhi. A Hundred Lives For You is a melting pot of emotions that moves with
the anger and pace of a thriller.


Let me introduce to you Abhisar Sharma, bestselling author and prominent television journalist. Abhisar’s latest book A Hundred Lives for You is already up for grabs on all leading online stores and will be available across major bookstores from November 2014 onward.

The book is a melting pot of emotions that moves with the anger and pace of a thriller. This is a growing of age story of a young boy who lives through tumultuous relationships in the backdrop of the merciless riots of 1984 in the very heart of Delhi to finally achieving peace and getting due justice as a successful journalist


Amidst a whirlwind tour to promote the latest blockbuster movie “Happy New Year”, team HNY took out time to pre-release Abhisar's novel A Hundred Lives for You in Noida. Abhisar presented copies of his novel to Shahrukh Khan, Deepika Padukone, Boman Irani and Farah Khan.


Visibly excited, Shahrukh Khan said, “This is a novel set in a time when I was growing up in Delhi, i.e. the ’70s and ’80s. It has certainly got me curious. It was also the time when Delhi witnessed its worst carnage. The blurb looks promising. The time that the novel is set in takes me back to a time when I was a child”. Shahrukh has promised to get back to the author with his views on the novel via twitter. 


Farah Khan, the director of Happy New Year said, “I am going get my hands on the book as soon as I finish promoting the movie”. Farah also responded with a somewhat positive, “You never really know” to Abhisar’s quip, “You might find a plot for your next movie (in this book)”.




Boman Irani who has already read Abhisar's first novel Eye of the Predator, said that he is looking forward to (reading) this one too. 


Abhisar Sharma is a veteran in the News TV industry with nearly 19 years of
experience working in organisations like the BBC World Service London,
NDTV, AAJTAK, and now ABP News. When he is not tackling politicians on
prime time, he is working on field from the most hostile places in the world.
This is his third novel, following two thrillers. He can be reached at
abhisarsharma@hotmail.com or you can follow him on twitter @abhisar_sharma.

29 October, 2014

#SpecialFeature :: #interview with Neil Grimmett, #Author of The Threshing Circle


Now Presenting:
*** SPECIAL FEATURE - October 2014 ***

Interview

When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer/ a storyteller?
I have always told stories and written. From comics when I was a kid, lyrics when I was a rock musician, and then poems and short stories. And finally, novels. Can’t remember not being a writer of some description.

What inspires you to write?
I’m a bit like Faulkner. I only write when I’m inspired. Fortunately I’m inspired  at 9 o’clock every morning.

How did you come up with the idea for your current story?
We visited a village on Crete and I heard the true tale about an English woman who had fallen in love with a Cretan and then been betrayed and hung by the occupying Germans during the war.

Is there some stories tucked away in some drawer that was written before and never saw the light of the day?
Loads. Some of the best  short stories I have written and held back. A YA novel and other novels.

Tell us about your writing process.
First draft is always in pen on yellow legal pads. My second draft goes on the computer and then to my super proofreading wife for corrections and suggestions. Then two or three more drafts until it is close.

What is your favorite scene in the book? Why?
Barba Yiorgos and Kirsty together on Gavdos with the white witch. I think it is at the heart of  the novel and the reasons behind truth and lies and vendetta.

Did any of your characters inherit some of your own quirks?
Maybe Kirsty’s need to unravel mysteries.

What is your most interesting writing quirk?
Writing on the back of my hand if I suddenly think of something I need to add or change and can’t access my black Moleskine.

What is your usual writing routine?
I get to my desk at 9AM and do not leave until I have hit 2000 words. Sometimes it is more; rarely less. I never write in the afternoon as I find my mind dull (er). 

Do you read? Who are your favourite authors and how have they influenced your writing style?
Voraciously. Too many authors to list. In genre, I love King, Thomas Harris, Lehane, Tana French to name just a few. In so called literature, Dickens, Joyce, Pynchon, Cormack McCarthy. Etc.  All writing influences a writer. Good and bad.

What is the best piece of advice you have received, as a writer, till date?
From Stephen King. To write is human to edit divine. It was also reiterated by an agent when I was with Writers House in New York: ‘You can edit your own book like you can cut your own hair. But neither is recommended!’

What is the best piece of advice you would give to someone that wants to get into writing?
Read a lot; write a lot. Do it because you have to; not for fame or fortune. And do not despair, it is a long slow craft that you will never completely master.

What would be the Dream Cast for you book if it was to be turned into a movie?
A younger Sean Connery for Barba Yiorgos; Laura Linney for Kirsty.

If you were to be stranded on the famous deserted island, what three things would you carry?
The Bible; Ulysses and Robinson Crusoe.

How do you spend your free time? Do you have a favorite place to go and unwind?
I love to walk especially by rivers or lakes. To unwind I enjoy the woods. Recently Fyne Court in the Quantocks has become a favourite and was used in a scene in my new novel, The Hoard. 

Can you share with us something off your bucket list?
Visit the Reichenbach Falls where Moriarty died. Take a trip on the Orient Express with my wife, Lisa. Top the US and UK bestseller lists.

Tell us three fun facts about yourself.
I love to cook exotic meals. I like all the birds in my garden but especially the crazy wood pigeons. Making people laugh is always a joy to me.

What do you have in store next for your readers?
A psychological novel, The Mud Dance; and my first supernatural thriller, working title ‘Clootshill’. 300 pages done in longhand so far.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with your readers?
Writing is a solitary profession and needs to be during the first draft. But after that you will have many others involved. Learn quickly to sort the wheat from the chaff. Also, spend time on learning how to write pitch letters and a synopsis for your work. Both are very difficult; both are vital.


About the Books
A young couple arrive on the Greek island of Crete and begin prying into the execution of a beautiful English woman during the German occupation sixty years before. They enter a labyrinth of forbidden love, betrayals, murder, greed and vendettas, old and new. 
Then they disappear. 
A feisty Scottish woman and an irascible, Zorba-like Greek form a reluctant allegiance in a desperate attempt to find and rescue them. They both have very different motives for their involvement. Their search will take them to hidden rituals, ceremonies, remote gatherings, famous monasteries and villages abandoned after decades of vendettas. To the remote island of Gavdos and finally back to a place that, “Even God does not know exists”. 
They will encounter characters good and evil; some modern and pragmatic, others ancient and magical. 
All the time they are being stalked by the sons of man who seeks to complete the crimes of his father and sate his own greed and insane desire for vengeance. These men are more animal than human and have been raised in the remote mountains for the sole purpose of carrying out the brutal will of their father. 
The mystery of the real, hidden Crete runs deep, and THE THRESHING CIRCLE explores some of the myths and romance while not shying away from its often violent nature. 
By the end choices will have to be made. If such actions are really possible on an island where many Cretans still believe that: “The Cycle of Blood”, can never stop flowing.



The Hoard is a thriller set in the secretive, dangerous world of a Royal Ordnance Factory; a vast, surreal place full of some of the most volatile elements on the planet. 
Thirty years before the main story, the nitration house at the ROF in Bridgwater exploded in a fireball that could be seen for miles around. The entire crew was killed, and the source of the explosion was never found; authorities claimed that the charge in the nitrator had gone critical and that the chargehand was unable to stop a lethal cook-off. But Gunner Wade, the man the nitration crew sent for help that day knows differently: they were murdered; and he was branded a coward. 
Now Byron, the son of one of the victims, enters the sprawling Gormenghast-like compound of the top secret factory to discover the truth about his father's death. But what he finds in the dark heart of this world is a hidden hoard of super-high explosives; illegally produced and drenched in the blood of those killed to conceal its existence. As the threat of discovery mounts, Byron finds himself at the centre of a struggle between good and evil; both to prevent a destructive force from being unleashed again and to bring the sadistic mass murderers who killed his father to justice. He is aided by an unlikely alliance of helpers, including the beautiful widow of a murdered chemist and Gunner Wade. Against them are the original perpetrators and their new legion of evil acolytes. 

Inspired by a massive explosion that killed six men at the real-world ROF Bridgwater facility in 1951 - no cause was ever found - The Hoard is a gripping, grim novel that offers a glimpse into a self-contained apocalyptic landscape scarred both by the birthing of the materiel that fuels war, and the hearts of evil men who would do anything for greed.




About the Author
Neil Grimmett has had over eighty five short stories published. In the
UK by among others: London Magazine, Stand, Panurge, Iron, Ambit, Postscripts Magazine, Pretext etc. Australia, Quadrant, South Africa, New Contrast. Plus stories in the leading journals of Singapore, India, France, Canada, and the USA, where he has appeared in Fiction, The Yale Review, DoubleTake, The southern Humanities Review, Green Mountains Review, Descant, The Southern Review, West Branch and Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. He has appeared online in Blackbird, Plum Ruby Review, Tatlin's Tower, Web Del Sol, In Posse Review, m.a.g., Word Riot, Blue Moon Review, 3AM, Gangway, Eclectica, The Cortland Review, Segue, The Dublin Quarterly , Ducts, Sugar Mule, Mysterical E, Thuglit and over thirty others. His stories have also appeared in the anthologies: ENGLAND CALLING, BOOK OF VOICES and Italy’s ISBN’s Top International Stories. He has made the storySouth Million Writers Notable Short Story list for the last three years. In addition, he has won the Write On poetry award, 7 Oppenheim John Downes Awards, 5 major British Arts Council Awards, a Royal Society of Authors award and has been awarded two major grants from the Royal Literary Fund.  He has been signed over the last ten years by twelve of the leading literary agents in both the UK and USA. His current agent is Jon Elek at United Agents.
His first thriller, THE THRESHING CIRCLE, was published on Amazon KDP Select. Followed by the second, THE HOARD.


Giveaway
1 Digital Copy of The Threshing Circle & 1 Digital Copy of The Hoard up for grabs for International Readers!
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28 October, 2014

#BookReview :: He's So Fine (Lucky Harbor #11) by Jill Shalvis

For Olivia Bentley, Lucky Harbor is more than the town where she runs her new vintage shop. It's the place where folks are friendly to strangers-and nobody knows her real name. Olivia does a good job of keeping her past buried, not getting too cozy with anyone . . . until she sees a man drowning. Suddenly she's rushing into the surf, getting up close and personal with the hottest guy she's ever laid hands on.

Charter boat captain Cole Donovan has no problem with a gorgeous woman throwing her arms around his neck in an effort to "save" him. In fact, he'd like to spend a lot more time skin-to-skin with Olivia. He's just not expecting that real trouble is about to come her way. Will it bring her deeper into Cole's heart, or will it be the end of Olivia's days in little Lucky Harbor?




Olivia literally jumps into Cole’s life when she jumps into the water thinking that he needs saving. The physical attraction between them is instantaneous but both have reservations about getting into a relationship. But it is quite impossible to avoid each other in a small town, especially with the sparks that fly every time they meet. Given Cole’s trust issues and Olivia’s inability to share the truth – they seem to be the most unlikely couple ever… So will they be able to work through everything or were they meant to never be together?

Characters and characterization hold a lot of importance in a story… Good characters can elevate an average story and bad characterization can bring down the quality of an exemplary plot. In this particular book, I had trouble connecting with the characters. Though I understand Olivia’s need for keeping her real identity hidden at the beginning, her constant denial through the story really ticked me off. When you meet the right person, I feel that a person should be forthcoming with the truth of her life. As a result, Olivia’s character failed to grow and seemed stuck at a point like a broken record. On the other hand, Cole is shown in contradicting lights… he is supposed to be an easy going guy with trust issues and inflexible manners.

On the other hand the author has laid out an interesting plot in bringing two very opposite personalities together. And even though I haven’t read the first 10 Lucky Harbor novels, I felt I like I knew the place and the people. She has also done an amazing job of drawing out the chemistry between the two right from the beginning.

Overall, this turned out to be an average read with like-hate relationship with the characters and intrigue about how things would finally play out.




22 October, 2014

#SpecialFeature :: #ShortStory - Shining the Light By Neil Grimmett


Now Presenting:
*** SPECIAL FEATURE - October 2014 ***

Shining the Light by Neil Grimmett


Because I am an honest man I need to put down this tale exactly as it happened. I start by stating this fact for it has been said ‘that all Cretans are liars’ – but the man who said that was a Cretan.
My very good friend – and husband to my wife’s cousin – Yiorgos, had opened a bar, high on a hill overlooking the sea with a view of Theodori Island floating in the Gulf of Chania. He’d even thought of putting one of those pay-as-you-peep telescopes on the terrace, so the customers could take a turn with the possibility of seeing one of the rare Kri Kri, the ancestral wild goats that inhabit the place. Of course, as usual, it came to me to point out that as most of his customers would be turning up after dark, his money might have been better spent.
I hadn’t the heart to tell him on what, say a stair lift or cable-car. I’ve been watching the tourists since they first started coming and, for most of them in our heat, a steep walk of nearly a kilometre for an expensive cocktail with no Mousaka or Greek dancing is an unlikely event. They like to saunter up and down in their ugly shorts, T-shirts and caps, keeping on the flat strip yards away from the sea. Harassed and herded by restaurant touts, excursion guides and souvenir shop owners, while they weigh the price of everything and seem desperate to find what we laughingly call, ‘a Kafenion friend’. That special someone to make sure you stay in touch with this wonderful land. Your private Greek god to guide your footsteps and make certain you come back – and to the right place.
Now it has become a duty for me to turn up here and, in truth, act as bait for anyone determined enough to have made the ascent. The theory being, if it is good enough for the Greeks then it must be pukka and well-priced.
 I’v been sitting alone for some time, looking down at the spreading mass that was once a village, thinking about what a fool I’d made of myself with a girl young enough to be my daughter. To my credit I saw the truth and called the stop; to my shame it took too long and my children may know and the ghost of my poor wife haunts our villa, souring the wine and refusing to forgive. Yiorgos is playing backgammon with the very pretty waitress – hired especially for her attributes - and is either on the way to, or is already making the same sort of fool of himself. As Kondylakis wrote: women are the ‘devils’.
Alien music, English or American rock, drifts down towards what remains of the old heart of the village where, paradoxically, someone sits on their terrace playing a lyra. A black and white cat prowls the stone floor of the bar and cicadas fretsaw the night into geometric unswallowable portions. 
Then they arrive.
I think straight away the woman is Greek, possibly from this island.  Cretan women are the most beautiful in the world: thick-lipped, big-breasted, black-haired arrogant Amazons that have turned many conquerors into slaves. And she could hold her own with the best of them in Chania. Much too stunning to be English, though the man clearly is, and speaks it to her. She has dark hair and refined features; her lips are voluptuous, eyes deep, demanding that you look and look quickly away. She is wearing a very short black dress covered with tendrils of yellow flowers. It is tight fitting and her figure makes even this old man gasp. Her partner is quick-moving and has wolfish, intelligent eyes that are pretending to be unobservant while cutting through everyone with X-ray precision. She speaks to him in perfect English, before bending down and sweeping the cat to her full breasts. They sit down at a table near to me and I hope, for once, the German couple will not arrive on the dot.
The man orders red house wine – ignoring Yiorgos and the now, made-to-look plain waitress’s attempts to get them to take one of the toxic cocktails or evening specials. They remain close together and stare down over Chania bay where a few fishing boats sway their lights like fireflies lost at sea and the wise Cretans count how many are out and decide if it should be fish or meat for tomorrow.
Yiorgos keeps nodding, slyly, he thinks, but really like a donkey. It’s his signal begging me to go and offer them drinks and seats at my table to make certain this becomes their special place for the rest of the holiday. But there is something about these young lovers: a sadness - which, I sense, has nothing to do with how they feel about each other – but still one I do not wish to intrude upon. I see their hands close together over the coolness of the rail; the cat already asleep on her lap opens and closes a paw on the whiteness of her thigh. And the strangest thing is, I believe they want to meet me and are waiting.
I hear the German tourists stamping up the hill and know that they will ignore me and make straight for this interesting-looking couple. I decide to go over to them first.
“Excuse me,” I say, “may I welcome you to my good friend Yiorgos’s music bar and to Kreta. My name is Spiros.”
The woman smiles and reaches out a hand: “Thank you,” she says, “I’m Marietta and this is my husband, Richard. We’re from England.”
He flashes me a look: not friendly, not hostile, but wary, as if he has learnt something about Greeks that he does not trust.
“Would you like to join us?” Marietta asks – beating me to it - and I say yes.
I accept a glass of wine, while telling the waitress who brings my glass to fetch some tsikoudia.
“Yamas,” I say, giving it the full over-the-top Zorba bit.
And they respond with a gentle ‘s’yeia’, pronouncing it correctly and confirming my suspicion that they know more about this place than most visitors ever would. The small bottle of iced tsikoudia arrives and I fill three glasses. “This is raki,” I tell them: “our traditional gesture of welcome. The hand of friendship being offered.”
We down the drinks in one swallow and bang the glasses on the table.
“Where did this one come from?” Richard asks me.
“The raki?” I respond.
“The tsikoudia,” he says, using its Cretan name and again getting the stresses perfect. “From which village still, which ‘kazani’?”
I could easily say that I don’t know. Or give him one of the commonly known places; somewhere tourist-friendly with, at the right time of year, the chance to see the spirit being distilled. They even do a demonstration on Chania harbour which I could direct them to. Instead, I tell the name of the obscure little village not even on most maps. I was in charge of the kazani there and am proud to believe that I produced the best tsikoudia on Crete. But I become aware, as he locks eyes, questioningly, with his wife that it is not the real reason for him asking me. So I’m glad when the German couple arrive and there is little room for us to continue.
One lesson you learn quickly in the tourist trade is that the English and Germans can be a problem together. And the signs are not always obvious. Forget those patriotic T-shirts or indelible tattoos of intolerance carved into flesh. It’s the deep smoldering fire you must learn to watch for in case it ignites. But this gathering, smartly dressed and sipping drinks, seem safe. Even the normally nervous Yiorgos looks content and smug.
The Germans have been coming to the island for years, and love to offer their instant appraisals and opinions on everything, from how quickly you can ‘do’ Samaria Gorge to how much you should pay to own a slice of Crete. Foreigners are buying the place up in droves at the moment: every plot of land or old ruin now seems to carry a price tag. I know one village not far from here where just about every old house has been restored and piece of land developed. I asked Nikos - who’s been mayor twice – the last time I saw him sitting on a donkey and working the poor thing to death, the lazy bastard, “What do you think of all these Franks buying up your village?”
“Ah,” he replied, tying the beast’s urine-soaked rope around someone else’s hedge so that it got a free feed, “The village was dead. Now it is alive again.”
I’ve heard the truth though: how the Germans have taken one section, the English the other. They do not stray into the same tavernas – which incidentally, the English call ‘The Pub’ – or use the same store or bakery. They criticize and blame each other for the constant water shortages their pools and endless demands make. One English tourist got bit by a horse fly and I heard the taverna owner tell her that it was because she had wandered through the German ‘sector’. This same man also told me something else: that the English wanted to book his place for their Christmas party.  He could understand why they said no Germans or Scandinavian guests were wanted. “But why,” he asked me, “did they also insist that there should be no Greeks allowed in that night? Why?”
Tonight, I do not think I will have to try too hard to keep things sweet – though I am more than willing. In truth, I’m retired, but  have a small investment in this place. I like to keep a few irons warming. My eldest son runs the hotel now – another lazy slug with a big mouth and no brain to control it.  He spends the day sleeping, then raises hell all night. But what can you do? He’s mine for life. As is his brother, sister and their children. This is Crete: everything is for the family and its continuance. I could even see one of my grandchildren running this place when I help put it in order.
The English couple have gone quieter and I sense they are getting ready to leave. Herr Doctor and his wife have been to visit the Orthodox Academy in Kolimbari and are insisting that the English must go there – they have also been to the German war cemetery in Maleme and are clearly moved by the whole experience, I think.
Herr Doctor (he’s a doctor of teeth and she, his second wife, a former dental nurse) is telling us how he met the director of the academy and judged him well-intentioned and quite intelligent, though he did not understand all of the stuff about his shard of broken mirror and his need to keep shining a light from it into all of the darkness.
Apparently, Herr Doctor explains, the director took a piece of glass from an antique mirror that had been shattered when a stray German bomb destroyed his house killing his father and grandparents. He then kept going around through the rest of his childhood and adolescence, reflecting the sun off its surface into all the hidden shadows, until he saw the light and knew what he must do: illuminate the dark places of this world.
 Dark places? I often think they are best left undisturbed. Who really wants to keep going back into what was obscured, usually for the best reasons?
There’s an awful silence. The clack of backgammon pieces sound like rifle shots in a Sfakian dawn. So I must try to explain,
“If you go to Kolimbari,” I say, “and climb the coast road a little way towards the monastery and then wait until the night comes, you will see, high on the cliff above the academy, a cross light up and glow from a church cut into the rock. It marks the site of a mass grave of young Cretans killed as they tried to defend the airfield at Maleme.” I feel the Germans tense and add quickly, “On the other side of the Bay of Kissamou, facing that cross ,there is another light: it glows from the war cemetery of Germans killed in the same battle. 
“Telemacus, the director, built the academy in the hope that if some sort of reconciliation could be reached here, it may be possible that it could be achieved everywhere. That is what this great man saw by shining his little light into the darkness. It’s what we see now in these lights that really counts, I believe.”
The Germans raise their glasses to my speech. Richard gets to his feet,
“What about a girl who vanished,” he says loudly: “A young mother, an English lady who’d fallen in love with a Cretan. One who may have had a village named after her. What ray, and from whose shard of mirror-glass will shine some light onto her?”
His beautiful partner gets up and I see tears in her eyes. My blood  turns colder than ice and words are frozen in my throat. Richard tosses some money onto the table – more than enough to pay for all of the drinks – and walks off with Marietta holding his hand.
Everyone else is staring at me as if it is something that I have said,
“Ha,” I recover slightly, “let me give you a warning about this drink.”  I lift the empty bottle so that the idiot Yiorgos jumps up thinking I’m calling for a refill. “When the Turks conquered Crete and discovered tsikoudia, they quickly made up a saying: ‘One glass  is worth a gold piece, two glasses are worth two gold pieces, three glasses though are worth a farthing’. And our young friend just had four.”
They look slightly appeased, though still not certain. 
“Did you not see his face?” I ask, desperate to leave. “Another Turkish expression, ‘fezzed’ – red like the hat – to be drunk.” Now they laugh and Yiorgos slams down another frozen bottle of tsikoudia, which he will pay for.
It is not difficult for me, with all my contacts to discover where the English couple are staying: a small private villa that belongs to a nice family from Italy. I actually found it for them years ago, and an uncle of mine acts as their letting agent, another young cousin does the maintenance. It seems that you need everything in the family these days to get by: except too many secrets. 
It’s possible, if you walk the right track, to pick your way through the vines and olive trees and end up directly under the villa’s bedroom balcony unseen. I have to make my way to it in case there’s any chance of overhearing them. To learn, if I can, what else they may know.
I get myself into position and wait. At first, all I can hear are the cicadas. There are many large, ancient trees in this grove and they are all full of them by the sound of it. Then I can make out the gentle mournful poo poo of the Scops owls as their question and answer game becomes a harmony, becomes a song. Then, as all the noises become as uniform as the soughing of a gentle sea, I hear them. It’s an unmistakable noise and everything about my character wants to leave them to this intimacy. But my legs refuse to move. The bed is sending out a powerful rhythm and I can hear her gently moaning. Pillow talk often follows sex. I try to convince myself I must just wait in case there is any. On and on it goes. And though we Greeks are the best lovers in the world, these are clearly experts. In my long marriage – with also, quite a few flights of the wild bee – I have not heard the like. It makes me yearn to be young again – for a night anyway. But then, as they say, it takes two.
My feet are aching, I want to water a thousand year old olive tree, and I rarely go more than half-an-hour without lighting a cigarette. Now the bed is creaking so violently I guess the owner will soon be on the market for a new one! Shadows are wildly dancing out from the window, and her screams are making the Cretan cats sound tame. I see a slight  movement on one of the trees and catch the tzitzikas in my hand. I hold it and let its vibrations send out the good luck to them as I hear their painful joyous ending. A pulse of heady scent from the night flower moves towards them as I creep off to my empty bed. They will have no troubled words tonight – and I envy them their comfort.
~
They do not turn up at the bar the next evening, nor the following one. I take a walk but the villa is closed up. I leave a bottle of my twenty-five year old wine on the stone table outside their door. A thick potent brew, once red, now brown and fortified many times with the best Cretan brandy. When I sneak my next look it has gone and a 4x4 hire vehicle is parked outside. I can see that it has been working very hard and wonder where they have been exploring.
The same evening – just as a party of water-colourists make Yiorgos’s month by ordering pastel shades of ice cream and vivid brush strokes of cocktails – Richard arrives alone and makes straight for me.
“Thank you for the wine,” he says and sits at my table.
I am taking a little ouzo and water and signal to the waitress to bring another.
“We discovered the village,” Richard tells me after I pour some cold water to turn the clear spirit milky and release the aroma of herbs. “The one the tsikoudia came from.” I am shocked, but try to keep my reaction hidden. “I even found the kazani. Cold of course - though we tried to picture it working. But it was hard to really imagine. Could you explain?”
So I do:
“After the grapes have been gathered and the wine made, the pulp that remains is put into containers and left to ferment. Then, when all the correct licenses have been granted, the kazani is lit with a huge olive wood fire that will be kept going day and night. The vessel above the fire will have its secret mixture of herbs and aromatics thrown into it followed by the fermented pulp. Next, a copper lid with its long elephant trunk will be fitted to the top and sealed with clay to make it airtight.”
Then I get carried away:  always I love to tell stories and cannot help myself from spilling out my soul in sentences that wind out and curl back until I am satisfied I have said enough, or said too much, as I try to paint the full picture: a huge man stripped to the waist, glistening in sweat, with his smaller, almost impotent, helpers gathered around. He is the Devil stoking the inferno - oblivious to the heat, sparks and smoke while the cauldron boils. I try to sketch the villagers gathered around feasting, as the afterglow of the day gives way to the dancing flame and the breath of spirit begins to condense from a stream of alcoholic fire into liquid. The first glass is carried to the head of the village for approval. Finally, shovelfuls of hot coals are thrown onto grills and the meat begins to sizzle and the chestnuts wait. I am just going to describe the end of the first batch and the hissing removal of the lid, when I realize he is not listening but leading. My father had many sayings, but one in particular has served me well: ‘One little Greek can do more in business than any two Jews put together’. And believe the little Greek: he was right. So I know when I am being set up, only too easily. I stop talking and let my smile stay firm.
“So when exactly do they do it?” he asks.
I give a vague answer that tells him little. I mention it has nothing to do with any calendar he would understand – and that even the pull of the moon can be taken into account. But he pushes the matter, asking if they would be allowed to watch if they returned at the correct time. Would I even take them?
“Look,” I coax, “there are sometimes demonstrations on the harbour in Chania. Go to one. Why do you want to visit that village anyway? There are many others, bigger ones, used to tourists, that will offer you hospitality. Why do you think I would be made welcome at that particular one?”
“We saw your family name on a monument. To a leader of the Resistance who was executed.”
“It is a common name on Crete,” I inform him.
“What do you know about a girl who was hung in that place? I asked in the village and was told by one very drunk man that the village was named after her, then by several others that it was not and just something dreamed up for the inevitable arrival of tourism.”
“Then I should believe who is the most sober.” The Germans arrive and take one look at the two of us, now leaning forward on our seats: a young goat and an old ram about to lock horns – and they flee to join the soft water-colours of spring flowers and sun-lit seas.
“Marietta’s grandmother came to Crete when she was seventeen. She fell in love with a much older man, a married man, a Kapetanios who loved her in return. She sent some letters home which the family still have. They were full of romance and pain: about their love, the hatred from all of his family and the hostility of the other villagers towards her. They had a child and lived for a time on the edge of the village in a old stone house. Then the war came. My wife’s mother came back from here to England as an orphan with a few possessions. But those possessions have stayed and haunted all of us who have seen them. Nothing will induce her to return to this country. Now she is terminally ill and Marietta wants to find out the truth for her before she dies. Among the papers we found your family name. It is your village, isn’t it?”
“There are many tales about most names on Crete.”
“Was there one about an English woman and a love affair?”
“English women are always falling in love with Greeks. Look at it now. All of us stalked by a bunch of Shirley Valentines. We’ve even got the German, Dutch and Scandinavian versions on the prowl.”
“And what about red silk panties? Beautifully embroidered with a two-tailed mermaid. There was a pair laid flat between two sheets of tissue paper. ‘These cost my mother her life’, was something Marietta got told many times by her mother.”
I  give a nonchalant shrug, though my head feels as heavy as an olive root, and my heart softer than Cretan honey. “Maybe,” I whisper, “the man’s real wife gave them to her at some time. Excuse me for saying this, but she would have been considered a whore. It is a Cretan way of telling her so. The name of the creature is Gorgona and she is the symbol for a loose woman.”
I can see that he does not believe me and is struggling to find another line of attack when Marietta arrives. She appears more Greek than ever now and is wearing – I cannot still help but notice - the latest fashion worn by some of the prettiest devils in Chania: three-quarter length skin tight trousers, high heels and a strapless top that forces her perfect breasts up into your vision like some mirage you would risk crossing any desert to reach. I sense how easy or natural it is for her to become assimilated to this place. Maybe, also, how necessary. I begin to understand that she is owed something. But how much? I watch the Germans and English ‘artists’ making faces and passing sly remarks about her - disapproving ones, I guess, about her appearance and probably her morals too. I make my decision,
“Tomorrow evening, if you have no plans, I would like to invite you to visit my country retreat. You have found the village and guessed I come from there. So what is left but to welcome you to it properly? We will, if you want, eat and drink something together.”
Marietta places a long bare arm around her husband’s shoulders and they leave after accepting my offer.
~
I watch their car arriving from my roof terrace where I have been preparing the table. Though I spend a lot of time away and do not come to my village as often as I’d like, its patterns remain unchanging. Most cars are either recognized, or know exactly where they are heading: usually straight through this place as they search for the next village with its rumoured lost acropolis. This car is slowing down and the people inside are seeking someone;  I know they are my guests. I see the 4x4 stop at the tin shed which is our kafenion, garage and general store. The men sit out drinking and the women are at their eternal lace work: they will not tell the strangers where I live.
I let them drive by the hidden entrance to my house: they will not get too far before the only road sign not yet totally obliterated by bullet holes, will announce that they have left the village. But it will give me a little more time and by their return I will be at the bottom of the slope waiting. I’ve worked most of the day, tidying the house, preparing some food, picking a token for them to take. Though mainly trying to decide what I should tell them.
I have never brought foreigners to my family home before and am both excited and nervous. After all my years of serving tourists, this feels like the first genuine offer of hospitality and I know my intentions are for the right reason.
They arrive and I rush out to greet them. And already want to be evasive. I show the cross carved into the stone of a Venetian arch; I encourage them to look down into the depths of my glass-covered well; and for their hands to touch the shattered fragments of the stone oven. “It broke the day my father died,” I explain. “It is one of our many superstitions: when the owner dies, the oven crumbles before it can be used again and must be rebuilt. You may not believe it: but this is Crete and many unbelievable things happen.”
Neither of them ask how many times this one has broken and why I have not bothered to repair it. I sense they are listening but not really interested. I stop the tour and put the flowers they have brought for the table in some water while they open their gift. It is an icon for their wall when they return home. My saint to watch over them. I resist suggesting they should hang it over their bed and try not to imagine his bony finger trembling in disapproval above their sweating bodies.
Marietta tells me that she loves the house. “It’s just so romantic,” she says. “Did your wife love it when you were young and here together?”
I take her hand and lead her to the table. How to explain that words like love and romance are not what we had in this place: instead, it was all family, duty and work. “Take a look,” I want to say, “come here and stay for some time. See how old all the people are who remain. How they move in rhythm with the beasts, the olives and grapes. And most of all the cycle that is Crete.”
Richard fingers one of the antique guns I have hanging on the walls. I see he knows weapons and is gentle and almost reverent about this one, as if he realizes how many lives it has ended. 
I serve them a salad with wild greens and capers, some of my olives, bread of course, my aunt’s mizithra cheese and her delicious pies. We drink new wine from the barrel dripping slowly under my stairs. I want to keep it light and tell them, “The priest only blessed the barrel last month – and drank about half of it for his trouble!” We make small talk and I note how little they are drinking. Afterwards, we sit on the roof terrace with a glass of my rare tsikoudia made from mulberries, under the stars with the village lullaby of cicadas, owls, the constant yapping of roped dogs, mating cats and a demented cockerel crowing at dawn six hours early.
“Look at all the abandoned, crumbling houses,” I say, “only fit for the agents to try and sell for tourists’ dreams. There are no young people here now. This village is dying.” Then, because it is time, I add, “It does not need to be tortured along the way for its past sins.” I know this is the opening and wait.
“I was just thinking about the man,” Richard says, “the one who took his shard of mirror and shone it into all those dark places. And through his actions, how hope was born.”
As he says this, Marietta opens a locket hanging around her neck. On one side it has a picture of a woman, on the other there is an empty, polished mirror of gold. I do not need to take a second glance at the woman. Marietta catches a beam of light from a wall spotlight and lets it shine down over the village and into some of the derelict houses, slowly and trembling, until it returns and touches both my eyes and holds there.
“I will tell you all I know,” I say. “There was at some time an English woman who came here. According to rumour – and we are the masters of mythology – she was just passing through when one of the men in the village met her and fell in love. He may have been either an idiot or a great Kapetanios. Whatever, he was married with a child and many relatives, but this did not matter. Against everyone’s wishes they set up a home on the fringe of the village. This new woman would not have been trusted or accepted. She would have been hated for what she was doing with a Cretan man and to his family. It is possible they had a child. But the war came. The Battle of Crete was bloody. All battles for Crete are bloody. Kazantzakis wrote: ‘Dig a spade into the earth anywhere on Crete and you will turn up blood.’ But this was terrible. The cemeteries resembled those in France after the First World War. At one stage the Germans used gliders and paratroopers to try and take the island. My father told me the Resistance shot them from the sky as they floated down. Killing them was not the trouble: counting how many dead was the biggest problem! Hitler’s crack airborne division was effectively wiped out.  But then he unleashed the full force of his anger upon our island.
“After that the Germans took the airfield and victory was inevitable. Most of the Cretan men still alive fled to the mountains and formed the Resistance – to fight and get the Allied soldiers to safety. The idiot or Kapetanios, from what I can find out, was killed. I  could never discover anything more about the woman. Nothing. All of his remaining family deny that she ever existed. That it is lies made up by their enemies. They will show you a photograph of him lying in his coffin, surrounded by flowers, with his wife seated next to him.”
They both keep staring down into the village while I speak. A gun goes off, a heavy calibre pistol. Then another, this time a machine gun. It’s usual around here for this time of night but I am surprised that neither of them flinch.
Marietta snaps the locket closed with a noise louder than any of the shots.
“My mother is dying,” she tells me. “She wanted so badly to know what happened to her mother and father. Who sent her back to England? What was the significance of those red panties? I am going back with no more than I came here with.”
“Let us be romantic,” I say. “Imagine that she sent her daughter home to some chance of safety at the start of the war, and went up in the hills with her lover to fight for freedom. There are many, many unmarked graves all over Crete. Maybe they died together. What matters about how it happened? Nothing will bring her back.”
I see the loneliness and loss in her eyes this inspires and wish I had not said it. I decide to risk a little more that might take some of the hurt away. “Look,” I say, “when the German paratroopers were killed, the Cretans used to take the parachutes and the women used the white silk for making dresses and shirts. We produce fine white silk on the island so they were never sure where it came from. Then they started using bright red silk in their parachutes and announced that anyone caught wearing this material would be hung. To defy them, the women made underwear from it. You might picture the washing lines at night – dripping in scarlet silk, drying colourless in the cold moon-lit night.”
I give them a glass more of iced tsikoudia and lead them indoors.
“I might return to this village,” Richard says, “rent one of these houses for a couple of months and stay while they light the kazani. We’ll make certain our Greek is better and do a bit of research ourselves.”
“There is nothing more,” I assure him. “You will not get anything out of his family or their neighbours except scorn. It is an insult to them and they will take offence.”
Marietta goes to the bathroom and he looks at me, man to man,
“I know something,” he says. “Those panties were not just given to insult her grandmother for her love. They were given to her so the Germans had an excuse to execute her. And you know it. How deep can such hatreds go? To betrayal and revenge, even when there were bigger enemies and threats all around?”
His wife comes back and he says it is time to leave. I offer them a bed for the night while wishing they would go. He shakes my hand firmly and she brushes my cheeks with a light kiss. They keep burning as I watch her leave and know it is the last time we’ll meet. He will not bring her back to this place. He has seen enough. As I hear the car drive off, I take a photograph from its hiding place and look at them for the first time in over a decade. She is as beautiful as her granddaughter. My heroic father, not an idiot, but the great Kapetanios, is as handsome and proud as any lover of this woman would be.
I stand at the window and look at the car winding its way down through the gorge. And I swear, as I hold the photograph, a flash of golden light from their rear windscreen hits it and bathes their two faces with its warmth. I place it back in its darkness and go to put some roses on a hidden grave before another cold dawn arrives.


THE END

About the Books
A young couple arrive on the Greek island of Crete and begin prying into the execution of a beautiful English woman during the German occupation sixty years before. They enter a labyrinth of forbidden love, betrayals, murder, greed and vendettas, old and new. 
Then they disappear. 
A feisty Scottish woman and an irascible, Zorba-like Greek form a reluctant allegiance in a desperate attempt to find and rescue them. They both have very different motives for their involvement. Their search will take them to hidden rituals, ceremonies, remote gatherings, famous monasteries and villages abandoned after decades of vendettas. To the remote island of Gavdos and finally back to a place that, “Even God does not know exists”. 
They will encounter characters good and evil; some modern and pragmatic, others ancient and magical. 
All the time they are being stalked by the sons of man who seeks to complete the crimes of his father and sate his own greed and insane desire for vengeance. These men are more animal than human and have been raised in the remote mountains for the sole purpose of carrying out the brutal will of their father. 
The mystery of the real, hidden Crete runs deep, and THE THRESHING CIRCLE explores some of the myths and romance while not shying away from its often violent nature. 
By the end choices will have to be made. If such actions are really possible on an island where many Cretans still believe that: “The Cycle of Blood”, can never stop flowing.



The Hoard is a thriller set in the secretive, dangerous world of a Royal Ordnance Factory; a vast, surreal place full of some of the most volatile elements on the planet. 
Thirty years before the main story, the nitration house at the ROF in Bridgwater exploded in a fireball that could be seen for miles around. The entire crew was killed, and the source of the explosion was never found; authorities claimed that the charge in the nitrator had gone critical and that the chargehand was unable to stop a lethal cook-off. But Gunner Wade, the man the nitration crew sent for help that day knows differently: they were murdered; and he was branded a coward. 
Now Byron, the son of one of the victims, enters the sprawling Gormenghast-like compound of the top secret factory to discover the truth about his father's death. But what he finds in the dark heart of this world is a hidden hoard of super-high explosives; illegally produced and drenched in the blood of those killed to conceal its existence. As the threat of discovery mounts, Byron finds himself at the centre of a struggle between good and evil; both to prevent a destructive force from being unleashed again and to bring the sadistic mass murderers who killed his father to justice. He is aided by an unlikely alliance of helpers, including the beautiful widow of a murdered chemist and Gunner Wade. Against them are the original perpetrators and their new legion of evil acolytes. 

Inspired by a massive explosion that killed six men at the real-world ROF Bridgwater facility in 1951 - no cause was ever found - The Hoard is a gripping, grim novel that offers a glimpse into a self-contained apocalyptic landscape scarred both by the birthing of the materiel that fuels war, and the hearts of evil men who would do anything for greed.




About the Author
Neil Grimmett has had over eighty five short stories published. In the
UK by among others: London Magazine, Stand, Panurge, Iron, Ambit, Postscripts Magazine, Pretext etc. Australia, Quadrant, South Africa, New Contrast. Plus stories in the leading journals of Singapore, India, France, Canada, and the USA, where he has appeared in Fiction, The Yale Review, DoubleTake, The southern Humanities Review, Green Mountains Review, Descant, The Southern Review, West Branch and Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. He has appeared online in Blackbird, Plum Ruby Review, Tatlin's Tower, Web Del Sol, In Posse Review, m.a.g., Word Riot, Blue Moon Review, 3AM, Gangway, Eclectica, The Cortland Review, Segue, The Dublin Quarterly , Ducts, Sugar Mule, Mysterical E, Thuglit and over thirty others. His stories have also appeared in the anthologies: ENGLAND CALLING, BOOK OF VOICES and Italy’s ISBN’s Top International Stories. He has made the storySouth Million Writers Notable Short Story list for the last three years. In addition, he has won the Write On poetry award, 7 Oppenheim John Downes Awards, 5 major British Arts Council Awards, a Royal Society of Authors award and has been awarded two major grants from the Royal Literary Fund.  He has been signed over the last ten years by twelve of the leading literary agents in both the UK and USA. His current agent is Jon Elek at United Agents.
His first thriller, THE THRESHING CIRCLE, was published on Amazon KDP Select. Followed by the second, THE HOARD.


Giveaway
1 Digital Copy of The Threshing Circle & 1 Digital Copy of The Hoard up for grabs for International Readers!
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17 October, 2014

#Interview :: Gemma Wilford, #Author of The Ruby of Egypt

Gemma Wilford was born in Nottingham, England and grew up in Cramlington, Northumberland, where she still resides with her husband. Her journalistic achievements include being twice runner up in BBC Newsround's Press Pack competitions. 
2011 saw Gemma self-publish her first Children's Book 'The Ruby of Egypt' and she is currently in the editing stages of her first novel, a humourous Chick-Lit recession based book 'Little Miss Pooshoe'. She recently had a short story 'Breaking The Rules' published in the I Am Woman Campaign Anthology Volume Two as well as spooky story 'Lady In Black' featured on GK Adams blog. Gemma documents her publication journey as an author to her blog 'Missuswolf's StoryLand’.
Gemma is a proud member of Melissa Foster's Awesome Support Team #GoTeamPIF.

Visit her at:
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Is there some stories tucked away in some drawer that was written before and never saw the light of the day?
There are plenty of stories tucked away in my study. My parents recently sold their house and with that came the usual clear-out of items collected over the years. I discovered files and journals full of stories. Some half written, some plotted out and some short stories that I have the foundation to become novels. One of my favourites is about a family living in a mining village in the early 1900’s that I started writing when I was 11.

Tell us about your writing process.
I blast a page as fast as I can type with the words that tumble out of my brain, with little regard for spelling or punctuation in my first draft. I have to get the story out there – get it told. I then go back and colour in between the lines in the editing stages, making it pretty by tidying up the spelling, punctuation and grammar and also adding depth to the story and characters.
Being a bit of a daydreamer with my head in the clouds, I used to make stories up in my head as I got ready for school. The story would follow on each day  and sometimes I would write them down.
Oh  – and read. Read, read, read, read and read. It’s so simple, yet so effective. It’s wise to read your own work but more important to read someone elses. There’s so much to be learnt from other writers.

What is your usual writing routine?
Before we moved, it would be heat up a pot of coffee, get snug on our corner settee with the laptop with Jazz FM playing in the background. I would do a few hours a day in-between shift work. Now that we’ve moved, the routines pretty similar but I have a study to hide in now. I’ve since changed my job to normal working hours so I tend to write more on a Sunday morning instead.

Do you read? Who are your favourite authors and how have they influenced your writing style?
I love to read! As above, to be able to write you need to be well read. My favourite author’s are Stephen King, James Patterson and Marian Keyes. They all have unique writing styles; Stephen King tells a good story although (I hate to say it) some endings can be disappointing. He’s influenced me to be conscious of telling a good story. James Patterson’s short, snappy chapter’s make his ‘whodunnit’ crime thriller’s a very easy read. He’s taught me the importance of keeping the momentum in a story and keeping the reader hooked. Marian Keyes pours her heart and soul into her books, making you laugh and cry along with her while dealing with some serious subjects.  She’s taught me how to keep a story lighthearted no matter what the topic. 

What is the best piece of advice you have received, as a writer, till date?
Apart from the importance of reading lots of books, the best advice has been to make time to write every day. Even if it’s a couple of paragraphs, it’s best to get into the habit of writing every day so it becomes routine. 

Can you share with us something off your bucket list?
Running has been my nemesis since I was a child but I one day wish to conquer this and run the Great North Run half marathon.

What do you have in store next for your readers?
I want to focus on the historic novel that I’m ghost writing. It’s based on a true story that is captivating. I don’t want to give too much away due to a privacy contract at this stage but this book has everything. The storyline is incredible and uplifting – it restores faith in human nature at a time when the world has been ripped apart by war. It’s factual, it follows an emotional journey of a strong, single woman raising her adoptive daughter using the world to educate her. Intrigued?? Watch this space!

Is there anything else you’d like to share with your readers?
I have a few writing projects on the go at the moment.
The first one is a recession based chick-lit novel, which I’m currently in the heavy editing stages of.
The second one is a Sci-Fi novel I started as part of NaNoWriMo last November. Unfortunately, I didn’t finish it as part of the challenge but it’s definitely a story that needs to be told!
The third one I’m ghost-writing a historic novel that is set during World War Two.

Children/Young Adolescent Fantasy Adventure

Ruby finds herself being dragged by her over excited and rather embarrassing parents on a sight-seeing holiday to Egypt. Viewing the pyramids is the last thing a fourteen year old girl wants to be doing when she could be basking in the glorious sunshine by the pool instead. Her disappointment soon turns to delight when she curiously follows a black cat inside the Great Pyramid of Giza, where upon entering she is mysteriously transported back in time to Ancient Egypt. Aided by a talking feline. Guided by a dragonfly. Protected by a Falcon headed God. Ruby must embrace an important mission that will not only challenge her ability to amend her stroppy attitude, but will change the purpose of her life forever.

~Chapter Excerpt~

Ruby could feel the walls closing in on her but she couldn’t move; the transmission between her brain and her feet was lost somewhere in between. Oh god, she thought, the pyramid’s collapsing and I’m going to get trapped in here! Panic set in, her breaths becoming shorter, making her gulp for air. There was a gust of wind that sent sand whispering all around, choking her as it invaded her lungs. The light grew brighter as she struggled to maintain her balance against the continuous shaking. She blindly reached with one hand for something to hold onto while keeping the other protectively over her eyes.

The roaring noise grew louder and louder, vibrating dangerously in her ears. She wanted to curl her arms around her head before her ear drums burst against the pressure. A wave of dizziness splashed over her as the room started to spin in an uncontrollable whirlpool.

The last thought that floated around her mind as her consciousness faded was how annoyed her parents were going to be.

~Buy your copy of The Ruby of Egypt here:~
 Amazon US UK