Saturday, 20 January 2018

Guest Author Robbie Cheadle of South Africa


 
Robbie was born in London in the United Kingdom. Her father died when she was three months old and her mother immigrated to South Africa with her tiny baby girl. Robbie has lived in Johannesburg, George and Cape Town in South Africa and attended fourteen different schools. This gave her lots of opportunities to meet new people and learn lots of social skills as she was frequently “the new girl”.

Robbie is a qualified Chartered Accountant and specialises in corporate finance with a specific interest in listed entities and stock markets. Robbie has written a number of publications on listing equities and debt instruments in Africa and foreign direct investment into Africa.

Robbie is married to Terence Cheadle and they have two lovely boys, Gregory and Michael. Michael (aged 11) is the co-author of the Sir Chocolate series of books and attends school in Johannesburg. Gregory (aged 14) is an avid reader and assists Robbie and Michael with filming and editing their YouTube videos and editing their books. Robbie is also the author of the new Silly Willy series the first of which, Silly Willy goes to Cape Town, is now available.
 






Why did I publish the Sir Chocolate books?


I have always been a great reader. I learned how to read when I was four years old and that was the beginning of a wonderful voyage of discovery. I read everything I could get my hands on; Beatrix Potter, Enid Blyton, C.S. Lewis, L.M. Montgomery and a myriad of classical authors. I went on adventures up the Faraway Tree, anguished over the death of Beth in Little Woman, explored the prairies of America with Laura Ingalls Wilder, flew with Wendy and her brothers in Peter Pan and grew bigger and smaller with Alice in Alice in Wonderland.

By the time I was ten years old I had exhausted all the books in our local library and the school library. I had seven library cards, four were mine and three I pinched from my younger sister. I used to ride my bicycle to our local library twice a week and take out seven books at a time. I used to read, curled up in a chair in my room while snacking on Marie biscuits dipped in milk.

I was attending a convent in George in the Western Cape at this point in my life, one of the fourteen schools I attended, and I had a wonderful teacher, Sister Agatha. Sister Agatha started providing me with some very unusual and interesting books. The ones that I remember most notably were I am David, When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit, Fattifpuffs and Thinifers, The Diary of Anne Frank, Child of Satan, Child of God (a personal account by Susan Atkins of life and death with the infamous Manson family), Mafeking Road: and other stories by Charles Bosman (a book that gives insight into Afrikaner life in the late 19th century) and, eventually, A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens.

These books made a deep impression on me and I have never forgotten any of them. I have copies of these books in my adult home and have re-read all of them as an adult. My son, Gregory, a big reader in his own right now, has read some of these as well. I can still remember sitting and reading A Tale of Two Cities with a dictionary. I used to look up the words I didn’t know and write them down in a notebook. One word I have always remembered looking up was “countenance”.  Who was to know that this interesting word meant face?

 I developed a love of classical books and went on to read most of Dickens’ books, Great Expectations is my favourite, the creepy old lady in a wedding dress spending her days among the decaying cake and remnants of a wedding feast bored into my young mind. I also discovered my three favourite classics, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, Journal of a Plague Year by Daniel De foe and Tess of the d’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy.

During my youth there seemed to be so many wonderful books to read and most of them were inspirational. They showed you people to be hard working, brave and adventurous and highlighted respect for faith, family and friends as being very important.

So, what has my reading journey as a child and young adult got to do with my own writing? Two things.

Firstly, I was inspired to start writing down my thoughts, little poems and other ideas because of reading L.M. Montgomery’s trilogy about Emily of New Moon. This book depicts a young girl who loses her mother at a very young age and then her father when she is ten years old. Emily loves to write and, although writing, and especially poetry, is considered to be a frivolous waste of time by the elderly maiden aunt relative who takes her into her home, she continues to write, expanding into poetry and short stories. The book is partly a journey of Emily’s development as a writer and poet and I found it very inspiring when I read it on entering high school when I was twelve years old. I recently acquired the audio book of Emily of New Moon and my younger son, Michael, was totally entranced by this story. He listened to all twelve hours of this book in a week and that is pretty impressive for an eleven-year-old boy.

If a book can make such a big impression on someone’s life, then surely books are very important items and deserve to be treated as such. The content of books must be such that it encourages the best in our impressionable children.
 
 
 

The second reason that I decided to publish Michael and my Sir Chocolate books was linked to the first reason in that I became very disillusioned with modern children’s books.

When I had my own children, it gave me great pleasure to read to them when they were small. We revisited all my old favourites and some of them we just about wore out with re-reading. A favourite of Michael’s was the Faraway Tree trilogy by Enid Blyton. I think I could recite those books for you. Gregory learned to read by himself very quickly, but Michael took a bit longer so when we had exhausted all the books I had read as a child, I set about trying to find some new books for us to read together and for me to continue to read to Michael.

I was disappointed and saddened by the content of many of the modern books I bought. A lot of these books seemed to poke fun at the things I deemed to be important like family. The youngsters were portrayed as being rude, precocious and devious to their parents and authority figures. They were also disloyal and deceitful to their friends and teachers. I did not like the concepts embedded in a lot of these books, and so I started writing little stories with Michael to read to him and his cousins who frequently visited. Over time, we started illustrating the stories with fondant creations as baking and fondant art was another hobby we used to do together, and I started reading these books to the children at my Church.

 
 
One of my friends knew a small publisher of books and she suggested that I submit my books to Anne Samson from TSL Publications to see if she was interested in them. She was and so Michael and my publishing journey began. Like all things in life, writing and illustrating a book for children seems to be about 10% talent and 90% hard work but we have persevered and are pleased to see some interest being generated in our books. We included five simple recipes in each of our books with the aim that our little story and cook books would encourage baking activities and other imaginary play between caregivers and their children. Our fondant artworks can be reproduced in plasticine or play dough and I have even seen on industrious little boy try to make a cake out of mud.
 
 

Of course, there are plenty of wonderful modern children’s books. I absolutely love the Winnie the Witch series of books. I have also discovered Indie books over the past few years and this has also opened a whole new reading world for me. I have found some marvelous book series to read with Michael which both of us enjoy and which have messaging that I am comfortable with. It is a great thing that there are so many wonderful children’s authors out there writing amazing books for children.

Thank you, Allan, for providing Michael and I will this opportunity to visit you at The Scribbler and share some of our thoughts on reading and writing.
 
 



It is our absolute pleasure having you as our guest this week Robbie. It's been fun to read about the development of your books and characters. We wish you continued success with your writing.





 



 

Saturday, 13 January 2018

Class Act Publishing - 3 Guest Authors.



 
The Scribbler


...........is such a cool place to hang out that we have been approached by Class Act Publishing to feature their cast of authors and we are thrilled to help out. This week you can meet the first 3.





Class Act Books is a royalty-paying publisher of electronic and trade paperback novels and novellas, with the goal of providing quality fiction at a reasonable price in all media: paperback (available exclusively on the publisher's website), Kindle, pdf, Mobi, and eBook.

After coming under new ownership in 2013, the publishing commitment was changed from only romance to all genres and they now feature Westerns, Adventure, SciFi, M/M, and Horror among their titles. Class Act Books offers standalone novels as well as series, and features award-winning authors. Titles are available on the website as well as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords. They are also featured on the UK, French, German, Japanese and Italian versions of Amazon.com.




 


 
 
 
 
Juanita Aydlette was born in Shreveport, Louisiana. What started out as a

childhood obsession with magical creatures in storybooks, became a passion in later years. She creats such magic in her first novel It’s in the Blood, which was a Top Ten finisher in the 2016 Preditors & Editors readers Poll in the “Young Adult Novel” category. Juanita challenges her imagination to bring readers into her world of romance, suspense and fear of the unknown. Her upcoming novel Blood Ties continues this paranormal romance series.

 



Excerpt from It’s in the Blood:

 

Away from the open menagerie was a path surrounded by dense trees. It was across a narrow decorative bridge built into the landscape. The thick greenery provided a shady side to the open garden. After only a few yards inside the cover of the trees, my body was seized by a rumble and a frightening snarl. A chill blanketed me and I couldn’t move. I didn’t dare look around, for the back of my blouse had already been saturated by the heated moisture from the breath of the beast. My first instinct was to scream, but fear had stolen my voice. So I took a deep breath and held it. The scent of horror filled my lungs. It was familiar. Was I being stalked by the animal that lurked outside my hotel grounds?
 
Help me please, rang inside my head. My eyes squeezed shut as its sharp fangs pinched my shoulder. Tears filled my eyes and my hands formed a fist. I waited to feel my bones snap when suddenly, it let go. The leaves crunched. The sound grew fainter by the second, then nothing. My eyes remained closed as I trembled and listened.
“Miss? Are you okay?” A woman’s voice severed my nightmare. 
Without hesitation I ran past her, clutching my throat and sobbing. The other tourists were boarding the van and I made my way to the back.
When the bus stopped, I ran from the tourist center to the hotel. Once inside the bathroom, I stripped and examined my shoulder. A painful bruise was both in front and in back. I cried out loud, shook convulsively, and then laughed hysterically. Was I going mad?
 
 





 

***

 

Linda J. Burson is an author from Connecticut. After years of writing and editing for others, Linda decided to tackle her first romantic suspense novel entitled Rage, which began as a single book, eventually became a trilogy, and finally a series. There are currently six novels in the Marcy series. Linda’s novel Rage placed in the Top Ten in “Best Thrillers” in 2016, and in 2016, she was in the Top Ten in Preditors and Editors Readers Poll in the “Best Author”  category. Her novel The Agreement was also in the Top Ten under “Best Thrillers.”

 






Excerpt from Rage:

 

The tears are pouring down my cheeks. I can’t believe this. This man was in love with me from the moment he saw me, and he knew nothing about me.

I understand it because I seemed to feel a sense about him from the beginning. I let him in my home late at night, a perfect stranger, but I felt it was all right. It’s like my soul was speaking to me as well. Maybe I’m as crazy as he is.

What I don’t understand is if we were meant to be together, why did I meet Brad? Why am I in love with two men? I’m so confused. No wonder he doesn’t mind coming here and staying. This place is his sanctuary. It’s our place…a place where no one can take me away from him.

Find out more about Linda at:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Lbursonbooks/?fref=ts 



Instagram:  www.instagram.com/lindajeanburson 
Website is lindaburson.com

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Linda-Burson/e/B016SOB3S4
Twitter: @lindaburson23
Youtube Trailer for Rage: https://youtu.be/jYrpurqFtUw
Buy Links:


Caught in a Lie: https://www.amazon.com/Caught-Lie-Marcy-Book-6-ebook/dp/B074VX9Y5G/

Also available at the publisher’s website: www.classactbooks.com

 

***

 

Jack Frost is a Louisiana native now living in Lincoln, NE.  After 40 years in media news, starting out in radio, and ending as a news director in television, Jack retired in 2002, but continues as a spokesman for senior citizens in a once a week interview broadcast on KOLN/KGIN-TV in Lincoln. Jack writes political thrillers set in Louisiana. Class Act Books has published three of his Jake Coleman novels, Dead Man’s Hand, Cold Deck, and Stacked Deck.

 








Excerpt from Dead Man’s Hand:

 
The General took a deep breath and launched into what would direct my life for many years to come.
“The sheriff came to see me yesterday. They’re still looking into the accident that took the life of that unfortunate girl. He wants to know who was driving the car and whether the driver had been drinking.”

I stared at the General in astonishment.

“Cornelius says he doesn’t remember anything about that night,” he added before I could speak. “I’m wondering if you may have been behind the wheel. They found another tux coat near the wreckage, all torn up and a whiskey bottle crushed in the pocket. They think that coat was yours. The sheriff wants to charge you with vehicular homicide.”
My skin went cold. My mind was in turmoil trying to absorb what the General had said.
 “Sir,” I finally was able to speak. “It was Trey who was driving. He’d been drinking. I hadn’t.”
“Now, Jake. Let’s be reasonable. You know Cornelius would own up to this if he had been driving. But that night is a blank to him. Cornelius just got notified he has been chosen as a candidate to West Point. I know we can come to some sort of agreement here.”
 
He got to the real reason he was there.
 
“I can make the charges go away that the district attorney wants to file against you. And I can make sure you and your mother never have to worry about anything as long as you
live.”
The General spelled out specifics of his proposal without actually admitting anything incriminating about his son’s involvement. It was a well thought out plan.
I was stunned, but I was thinking. He had achieved his purpose. I had a bleak future except for what the General had offered. Over Mother’s protests, I agreed to his terms.
With a half million dollars deposited in my mother’s name, I went to court the next month and pleaded no contest to vehicular homicide. My probation was contingent upon me joining a branch of military service. The General wanted me out of sight…and out of mind.

 Buy Link: 
Publisher’s website; www.classactbooks.com/our-authors/manufacturer/jack-frost

Amazon: 
Dead Man’s Hand: http://www.amazon.com/Dead-Mans-Hand-Coleman-Mystery-ebook/dp/B013XLVGBE/

Stacked Deck: https://www.amazon.com/Stacked-Deck-Jake-Coleman-Mystery-ebook/dp/B016NGFHNO/

 

 

 
 

 





Thanks for visiting dear readers. Some great choices to pick from for your next read. Class Act will be back in two weeks with three more authors, don't miss it.



***This post is not an endorsement of Class Act Publishing but rather an opportunity presented by them to meet their authors and the Scribbler is happy to accommodate. Please visit their website for more information and submission details


 
 
 
 
Wall of War Available now on amazon.com and amazon.ca



Saturday, 6 January 2018

The Shattered Figurine - Chapter 8.


Like Crime stories?

The Shattered Figurine took shape a few years ago as a short story and it evolved from there. It's nowhere near being finished yet but it's fun sharing as I go. You can read more if you like by clicking on the page bar above, or here but this excerpt is a sample of what's going on with Detectives Jo Naylor and Adam Thorne.








Detective Jo Naylor surveys the decrepit two-storey structure she faces, her left hand lightly caressing her throat where a garrote had tightened around her neck no more than nine hours earlier. Her esophagus still hurts when she swallows. Jonathan Dunsmore had tried to take her life last night. She now stands outside his last known address. Her right hand reaches around behind her back, under her jacket, and undoes the security strap on her waist holster. Her Glock is free to draw. She is not sure she wants to know what is inside the depressed rooming house.  Trying to digest the info her partner, Adam Thorne, had given her earlier connecting her father and the man that had attempted to kill her, she becomes hypnotized by a loose shutter on the second floor that hangs from one screw. For a few moments she is lost in concentration.

Thorne covers her back when he sees she is deep in thought. They had both agreed it was unlikely Dunsmore would be in his room, but he is taking no chances and studies his surroundings. A brisk November breeze sallies south on Blueberry Street, bringing a chill. The sun is not yet over the buildings, so they are poised in the long shadows. He closes the top button on his sport coat as he turns to inspect the used car lot across the road on the corner of Main, less than half a block away. The owner, a rotund, back-slapping man, is showing a young man a red car, something Japanese.

Thorne’s attention shifts to one of the two houses across the road when two kids bustle through the front door, school bags slung on their backs, lunch bags swinging as they rush off the front porch. Both boys – one several years older – are laughing and chatting non-stop as they hasten toward Main. They pay no attention to the two people on the opposite sidewalk. Other than the dull grey cop car they came in, Thorne and Naylor don’t look like police officers.

Turning to face the boarding house, Thorne gazes at the homes to his left that continue to the top of the dead-end street. A postman is walking away from him six or seven houses away on the same side of the street. He can see several more children heading toward Main, probably to catch a school bus. The houses are all old but well kept, lots of shrubs with bare branches. The odd car is parked here and there, but there’s no traffic. The only blight on the street is the rooming house he and his partner are about to enter.

He gazes at Jo, waiting for her to come out of her reverie. He can’t imagine what she must be feeling. He recalls the day they arrested her father, the day she found out he had killed the three young girls whose deaths they were investigating. It has taken her many months to get over it all – the newspapers, the trial, her father’s final incarceration in the prison where he’d been warden for over twenty-five years. And now the father of one of the victims has tried to kill her.  He shakes his head in disbelief and decides he’ll give her a few more minutes and then they’d go in.

Naylor is reliving the terrible memories; they flash through her mind like fireworks – the young girls, the broken figurine she’d found, the day she’d walked into her father’s house for the last time, his attempted suicide, the day they took him to prison, the intense publicity that followed and the healing that is taking forever. Returning to work had been difficult; but in the end work became her saviour, taking her mind off the dreadful past. Until now. Now she is the daughter someone wants to kill. The realization makes her weak, makes her shoulders sag. A gentle hand on her back returns her mind to reality.

“What do you think, Jo? You don’t have to do this, you know. It wouldn’t be a big deal if we pass this on to Burger and Fries!”

Naylor looks back at her partner with a grin. Burger and Fries are Ted Burgess and Cornelius Friesen, two other detectives on the force. Each man tips the scales at close to 200 and it’s not all muscle. Both men share a fondness for burgers and jokingly call each other Wimpy 1 and Wimpy 2. The rest of the force calls them Burger and Fries. The mention of the two oversized cops offers Jo relief from her dire memories and causes her to laugh. The two share a light moment until Thorne says, “Let’s get on it, Jo. We’ll go have a look and see if we can put a stop to this menace.”

Naylor nods at her partner, thankful for his understanding. 

“You’re right; and thanks, Adam.”

He offers his serious smile.

“Hey, we’re partners!”

Thorne takes the lead even though he is the junior officer. The concrete pads forming the walkway to the front porch are cracked and uneven, so Thorne treads carefully as he approaches the front porch. The steps are the only thing that’s new, and the wood is still white while the rest of the narrow porch is weathered. There is a doorbell on the left. The center of the push button is missing, but the tiny yellow light inside is still intact. On the left are a black 1 and 5 affixed to the siding, level with the doorbell. A piece of white plastic the size of a postcard is affixed under the numbers. Thorne has to bend down to read it.

Rooms to Let

555-223-0009

Joseph Spangler

Mgr.

 

The name is printed in indelible black marker. Black smudges around it attest to the recent change in manager. Thorne pushes on the worn button, points at the plaque and says, “That’s a good omen, another Joe. Let’s see how co-operative he’s going to be.”

“Maybe we should go by the book on this one and get a warrant.”

Thorne looks at Naylor, eyebrows raised.

“That never stopped you before, and besides I think any judge would agree that this is hot pursuit. We know he committed a crime; he could be here.”

They are interrupted by the door opening. The heated air that greets the detectives reeks of old furniture and marijuana. A short, stocky man peers out at them with scrunched eyes. Long greyish wisps of hair haphazardly cover a pale dome. White stubble covers his lower face. His dark-blue housecoat is worn and tightly belted around the waist. Neck, calves and feet are bare. His temperament is foul.

“Whadda ya want? There’s no rooms available.”

He eyes the two strangers, noting their well-tailored attire, and frowns at Thorne. “This ain’t no rent-by-the-hour pad, Jack.”

Thorne ignores the man for a moment, turns to grin at Naylor, who is on his left and slightly behind him.

“This is going to be easy.”

Naylor is staring the man down. “And enjoyable.”

Thorne reaches into his right inside pocket and retrieves his ID and badge. Flipping it open directly under the man’s nose, he says, “You Spangler?”

The manager quickly recognizes the brass gleam of a policeman’s badge even without his glasses.

“Aw, shit!”

He tries to close the door, but Thorne steps in and pushes the man gently back. Again Thorne turns and speaks to Naylor. “Do you smell marijuana, Detective Naylor?”

She is watching the nervous twitch in the man’s left eyes when she replies. “I believe I do, Detective Thorne. I bet if we looked around, we might find out why.”

Spangler backs toward an open door to his right, reaches into the room and pulls the door shut.

“You guys need a warrant for that. I ain’t stupid, you know.”

Josephine Naylor might be slight, but she is cast in steel. The glare from her eyes can freeze the hardest of criminals. She steps closer to the manager, taller than him by a good six inches, and says, “If you’re in possession of marijuana, Mr. Spangler, I could take you to jail. I could arrest you right now. There’s an itch in my skull that suggests you might’ve been in trouble with the law before. Maybe we should dig around a bit. What do you think?”

Spangler is sufficiently cowed to drop his boldness. He is on probation until the end of the year, two months away, for his third DUI conviction. He drops his gaze but remains mute. Thorne plays the good cop and explains they really just want to know about Dunsmore. How long has he been here? When did Spangler last see him? What’s he like? Any trouble with him? Jo is taking notes as the men speak. Spangler, relieved that he is not their target, can’t stop talking.

“…I haven’t seen the jerk in two days. He owes three weeks rent, and he promised me he would have it by tomorrow. Seeing as you’re here looking for him, I ain’t likely to see that now, am I?”

Naylor answers him: “I wouldn’t count on it, Mr. Spangler. The man is wanted for attempted murder, and I suggest that if you do see him, you lock your doors and call us ASAP.”

This shakes Spangler up. He wrings his hands in a nervous manner and remains quiet. Thorne says, “How about you let us take a look in his room?”

“I don’t know about that. I think I should call the owner first.”

Naylor looks Spangler in the eye as she says, “Sure, why don’t you do that, and we’ll check your room while we’re waiting.”

Spangler sticks his chin out defiantly and says, “Hang on a minute and I’ll get you the key.”

“Good idea.”

Spangler opens the door to his room, enters and shuts the door firmly behind him. While he is retrieving the key, the detectives look around. There is a stairway directly in front of them on the left side of the hallway which extends back into the kitchen. A living room can be seen through an open archway on the right. The moldings around the doors and windows are dark stained wood marred with nicks and scratches. An old couch with yellowed fabric sits against the far wall under a narrow window. A matching chair sits beside it. In the middle of the room is an ornate French provincial coffee table that looks as out of place as a meat tray at a vegan convention. Several magazines lay on top, alongside a glass ashtray full of butts. Dust covers almost everything. The floors are hardwood and dull, in need of polish.

Spangler opens his door and extends an arm, holding a shiny brass key attached to a silver ring with a white paper fob, like the one used at a car repair shop when they tag your keys. It has a large 2 marked on it.

“Here, fill yur boots.”

Naylor takes the key and says, “What about the other tenants?”

“No one here but me. Both old John in # 1 and Reggie in #3 work at the meat packing plant in the Industrial Park and they leave here at 6 a.m. If Dunsmore ain’t comin’ back, when can I get rid of his junk?”

“Don’t touch anything, Mr. Spangler; don’t even go in the room until we say you can. Depending on what we find, the room might be off limits for a while. We’ll let you know.”

Spangler grimaces and shakes his head.

“Well, keep the key then. I have another.”

He shuts his door again, muttering something about lowlifes.

The detectives draw their weapons even though Spangler confirmed Dunsmore is gone. Naylor leads the way up the stairs. Off the landing at the top, there are four doors, two facing them, one on the right and one on the left. The left door is open and the detectives can see a toilet with the seat up. A towel lays on the floor by a white vanity. The door facing them, to the right, has a crude 2 scrawled on it in black marker. Thorne steps around his partner and says sotto voce, “Let me go first, Jo.”

“Being chivalrous are we?”

“Yep, that’s me.”

Thorne takes the key and, before he slides it into the keyhole in the knob, he places his ear to the door to listen. Naylor is holding her weapon with both hands, pointed at the door. Thorne knocks on the door with a knuckle and waits for a moment. When there is no response, he turns the key until there is an audible click, then turns the knob. Shoving the door open quickly, he steps into the room with his weapon at eye level. The door swings into the wall with a slight bang.

The scene before them is shocking. Naylor drops her hands to her side and gasps.

The wall facing them is covered with blown-up photos of her. The image in each one is the same, taken from the front page of the local paper when her father was on trial a year ago. Naylor had been leaving the courthouse when the photographer caught her image with a zoom lens. The look on her face is one of sorrow. The headline that day had read, “Randolph Naylor Convicted of Murder!” The same headline hovers above each print in bold black letters. The shocking part of what Thorne and Naylor see is the large hunting knife stuck in the wall, in the center photo, in the middle of Detective Josephine Naylor’s face.
 
 


Thank you Dear Reader for dropping in.





Help me out here; Why would a penitentiary warden go on a killing rampage? What could three young girls - strangers to each other - have in common? 
Feel free to leave a comment below, would love to hear from you.