Archives for posts with tag: novel

Hi all:

Today I bring you one of my reviews as a member of Rosie’s Book Review Team. First, let me tell you a little bit about the book:

The Undertaker's Son by B A Spicer

The Undertaker’s Son by B A Spicer

The Undertaker’s Son by B A Spicer

A picturesque village in south-west France offers the chance of a new life for Martha Burton. But, beneath the rural idyll, lurks an evil that will not remain buried forever.

Claude Cousteau has never been in love. He has no real friends. The only meaningful attachment he has ever formed is to Felix Dumas, an influential lawyer, who once showed him kindness and with whom he spent an idyllic sunny afternoon, as a child.

When Felix Dumas’ way of life comes under threat, Claude is determined to defend the only true friend he has ever had.

 

Author Bev Spicer

Author Bev Spicer

About the author:

Bev Spicer was born in Bridgnorth, a small market town in the Midlands. Her father was an Observer for the RAF and an experienced glider pilot (Bev spent many a weekend at the Midland Gliding Club, where she too learned to glide). Her mother was a local beauty queen and county hockey player, who still lives in Bridgnorth.

Bev was educated at Queens’ College, Cambridge, and became a lecturer at Anglia Ruskin University in 1997, moving to live in France with her husband and her two youngest children ten years later, where she lives in a lovely Charentaise house (in need of renovation).

She is widely read and has travelled extensively, living in Crete, where she taught English and learned to speak Greek, and in Seychelles, where she worked for the government and co-designed materials which were used to teach at secondary school level. She now writes every day and teaches English in her spare time.

Her humorous memoirs have been widely praised for their light-hearted but intelligent style, and hilarious, fast-paced dialogue. Her more literary novels and short stories have been equally well received for their complex characters, impressive prose, and imaginative settings.

You can find Bev’s blog here: http://baspicer.blogspot.fr/

Her Facebook page: http://on.fb.me/1D1fiWF

She’s on Twitter: https://twitter.com/BevSpice

Her Amazon page: http://www.amazon.com/Bev-Spicer/e/B008BHV7YC/

And now, my review:

I am reviewing this book as part of Rosie’s Book Review Team. Thanks to Rosie and to the author for providing a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

The book intrigued me because of the description and the setting. We all seem to expect crime, and crime novels, to be set in big cities, but when evil hides in a small, picturesque and peaceful town, it seems worse. As if evil had no place in such environment. It’s true that it’s perhaps more difficult to hide in a small and idyllic French town, but some manage to hide in plain sight.

The novel, written in the third person, is told from the point of view of a large number of characters, from the “evil” character hinted at in the description, the undertaker’s son of the title, Claude, to Patrice, a young student who ends up being more central to the plot than it seems at first. The author allows us to peer into the heads of her characters, and this is sometimes a very agreeable experience (like in the case of Martha Burton, the British divorcee out to create a new life for herself in France, who, despite disappointments in love is fairly happy), and at others, an utterly terrifying one. Apart from Claude, who has no redeeming qualities, and Patrice, who is a nice young man without any shades, all the rest of the characters are all too human: they hesitate, they are morally ambiguous at times, and even downright immoral. Felix Dumas, the crook, is utterly dislikeable, but even he has some redeeming qualities (he does not understand his son, but seems to love him, and he tells Claude not to take drastic measures. He does not want anyone killed.) And Angeline… It’s a credit to the author that by allowing us into the minds of her characters, we might not agree with what they do, the secrets they keep, or their reasons and justifications, but we understand them. Well, that is, except for Claude.

Claude reminded me of the main character in Peeping Tom due to his fascination with death. But, in contrast with Mark Lewis, the protagonist of Peeping Tom, who is a victim of his father’s psychological experiments, Claude is unknowable. We share his memories and see his attachment to Felix, but he operates outside of our conceptions of right and wrong. He’s a psychopath, but from what we get to see of him, he uses his interest and fascination with death in a utilitarian way, and turns it into a business, rather than being compelled to kill. He plans his jobs with military precision, and seems alien to humankind, functioning at a different level. This is not the typical serial killer whose neighbours would say he seemed so “normal”. He is nothing if not extraordinary. A character very difficult to forget that makes us question the limits of humanity and conscience.

The plot is intriguing but the writing ebbs and flows through certain moments, like parties, planting a tree, and the fleeting memories of a dementing old-man, that help us get a vivid sense of the town and its people, and make us care for the fate of its inhabitants. For the duration of the book we become privileged town dwellers and get to know everybody. This is not a frantically paced thriller, but a novel that shares in the more relaxed pace of its setting, and that’s perhaps what makes it more chilling.

The ending is satisfying (perhaps everything works out too well and that’s the least realistic aspect of the novel) and reassuring. I look forward to reading more novels by B A Spicer.

Four and a half stars.

I haven’t forgotten the links, but the author just let me know that on 7th and 8th, to coincide with this post, her book would be FREE, so make sure to get it!

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00G04DWWS/

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00G04DWWS/

Thanks to Rosie for creating and coordinating her team, thanks to B A Spicer for her book, thanks to all of you for reading, and you know, if you’ve enjoyed it, like, share, comment, and of course, CLICK! It’s FREE!

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Hi all:

As you know on Fridays I  usually bring you guest authors or new books. Today, I go one better and I’ll do both. I read about my guest today, Lorna Lee, in one of the blogs I follow, and found her spontaneous, fascinating, and refreshingly honest. She confessed that although she enjoys writing and sharing her thoughts in her blog, she hasn’t explored social media and is relying on word-of-mouth to get her book to the attention of the readers. I though you’d like to meet her and when I contacted her, she kindly agreed to share some information about herself and her books.

And without further ado, I leave you with Lorna Lee!

Author Lorna Earl

Author Lorna Lee

In her former life as a sociology professor, Lorna published many academic and research papers. Creative writing is a new path taken since her premature disability retirement in 2006 due to Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Syndrome.

Never Turn Back is her second book and first novel. Her first book is a memoir entitled How Was I Supposed to Know? That book was awarded Best Memoir, 2012 by the Adirondack Writing Center in their Annual Literary Award Contest. In 2010, she was a finalist in the memoir genre of the Writer’s Digest Annual Writing Contest with her short story, Monkey Business.

Lorna currently lives with the man of her dreams and the dog of her dreams in the home of her dreams in the Portland, Oregon area. She keeps herself busy by writing, quilting, walking, meditating, and blogging.

To find out more about Lorna and her current shenanigans, visit her blog, lornasvoice.com. She can be contacted via a page on her blog dedicated to this novel.

And here, her new book:

Never Turn Back by Lorna Earl

Never Turn Back by Lorna Earl

Meri Vaarsara had a dream and something to prove. She also had incredibly bad fortune and even worse timing.

Her dream was to become a famous fashion designer in Paris, a dream born from a need to prove herself worthy of love and a happy life, something her stern Finnish mother never fostered but her seafaring father always knew was hers for the taking. So at the tender age of sixteen, Meri left the security of her family and her home for a country where she didn’t speak the language and she didn’t know a soul.

Paris in the late 1920s was not friendly to immigrants, even those with extraordinary talents. Forced to find work as a domestic, Meri forged ahead through turns of fate and misfortune as Paris braced for Hitler’s invasion. By choice, Meri becomes a single mother caring for her half-Jewish daughter throughout the occupation of France. Once the war was over, she used her feminine wiles to find her way to America, the land of milk and honey, with the hope of finally being able to work as a designer in a New York fashion house. But that too was not to be, until fate and a kind stranger stepped in to help.

What Readers Should Know

The “bones” of this story are real. What happens in the story happened to real people. I simply didn’t know all the details that linked all the events, so I had to make up a great deal of the narrative to form a story that flowed. I changed names and places in America to protect the privacy of my family, mostly my mother (who for some reason doesn’t want to be famous).

Where You Can Buy the Book

Amazon. com for U.S. customers

Amazon.co.uk for customers in the U.K.

Amazon,fr for customers in France

And here a few reviews by some very discerning pens:

Never Turn Back by Lorna Lee is the remarkable journey of Meri, a young Finnish woman through the 20th century.
Brought up by a critical mother and a mostly absent but philosophically minded father in the quiet Finnish countryside Meri dreams of bigger things and she leaves for Paris soon after the Civil War and WW1, to pursue a career in Fashion abroad.
Immigrant life in its harsh reality falls short of her expectations, but she proves determined to keep going. Her life is a series of choices, of exploiting and being exploited, friends and foes. An impressive life story, a loving tribute to a strong woman and a masterful illustration of life’s many obstacles on a war torn continent.
Woven into the narrative are great details about the historical setting and the times. The book covers a lot of ground, geographically and historically, and focuses on many different aspects of Meri’s life as she grows as a person and as her life and priorities change: Her ambitions, her ideas, old and new emotional scars. The book is a moving and enlightening journey.
Meri is a fascinating character and her story demonstrates the element of chance and faith excellently. She stayed with me long after I had finished reading this remarkable book.” Review by Christoph Fischer, author of The Three Nations Trilogy (historical fiction novels), Time to Let Go, and Conditions.

“Dreaming of becoming a famous designer, the protagonist, Meri, burns through on the page in a once vibrant Paris bracing for Hitler’s invasion. Faced with a pregnancy by a Jewish man, Meri is intent on keeping the secret and surviving at all costs in an increasingly hostile environment. Never Turn Back is a captivating narrative, a metaphor for the longing and conviction of youth that surmounts horrors and tragedies. In one heart-wrenching turn after another the brilliant writing of Lorna Earl weaves a compelling tale—based on real people—that glues the reader to the page and keeps the imagery of this story in our minds, and hearts, for days after the last page is shut.” Review by Paulette Mahurin, author of The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap and His Name was Ben.

Thanks so much to Lorna Lee for this her first visit to my blog (I hope there will be many more) , thanks to all of your for reading, and you know the drill, like, comment, share, and don’t forget to CLICK!

Ah, and from tomorrow I’ll be taking part in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), a challenge to write the draft of a novel (at least 50000 words) in 30 days. I hope I’ll still have the time to share new books with you, but might also reblog some favourites, or just talk about the process. And if you don’t see me very often, I’ll just be writing. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Thanks to Cate Russell-Cole from http://cateartios.wordpress.com/ for the image

Thanks to Cate Russell-Cole from http://cateartios.wordpress.com/ for the image

Hi all:

As you will know, recently I published ‘I Love Your Cupcakes‘. Part of the action develops in the set of a TV culinary game show. As people seemed to enjoy the sample I brought  you a couple of weeks ago, I thought I’d leave  you another one (and I promise you that’s the last one!), the chapter where Dulce and Adelfa, the main protagonists (sorry Storm) meet the crew and the members of the other teams. There’s a bit of everything:

I Love Your Cupcakes by Olga Núñez Miret. Cover by Lourdes Vidal

I Love Your Cupcakes by Olga Núñez Miret. Cover by Lourdes Vidal

Chapter 6. Baking and TV fauna. (Now)

The three weeks went by in a wink. Dulce and Adelfa asked the main members of staff and friends, Pixie, Vicky and Tessa if they could cover the shop while they’d be away. They were all very excited and happy to organize themselves to keep the place going with help from volunteers. They made sure that they didn’t accept any big orders for the week when they were going to be away, although they were convinced the team left in charge was more than capable. Toni took a few days off to help the girls and do more hands-on work. Dulce and Adelfa packed their favorite and most comfortable outfits for cooking, a nice dress and accessories for the gala (in case they got that far) and a few utensils and gadgets, “for luck.” Tony and Toni drove them to the airport.

“Are you ready, girls?” Toni asked.

“As ready as we’re ever going to be.” Adelfa replied.

“We’ll know for sure once we start. We’ve done everything we could think of and everything everybody has suggested to prepare. The rest…is in the hands of the gods.” Dulce said.

“Is Storm going to join you there?” her father asked.

“He’s happy to consult with us over the phone and if we go past the four first days he’ll join us live. He’s also been watching old programs and has sent us designs, blueprints and ideas. If we can manage to get that far and he comes we’ll have the best artist they’ve ever seen there.” Adelfa said.

“That is true. That boy is as odd as he’s talented.” Tony said.

“Dad, he’s not a boy any longer. And we aren’t girls either.” Dulce complained.

“I thought you were going to object to my calling him “odd”.”

“No, he’s odd, but we love him nonetheless.” Dulce finished.

“Or maybe we love him precisely because he’s so odd.” Adelfa added.

They all laughed. They got to the airport, took their luggage, said their goodbyes, Toni assured them she’d look after their shop and then they started on their greatest adventure.

During the flight they tried and focus on watching the in-flight entertainment rather than think about what expected them. Once in LA it was all rather exciting. Sunny, noisy and…

“This is really…” Dulce started.

“Artificial? Fake? Pretend?” Adelfa suggested.

“Blonde, tanned, beautiful with an advert idea of beauty. Oh dear, we’re going to stick out like a sore thumb.”

“There it is! They’ve sent a car to pick us up.”

Adelfa had spotted a woman with a sign with their names on it and started walking towards her.

“It’s us. I’m Adelfa and this is my partner Dulcinea, Dulce for short.”

“Pleasure to meet you. I’m Danielle, Dannie. I do a bit of whatever has to be done. Supplies, coordinating, covering for whoever is not there, go and fetch…”

“Chauffeur…” Dulce added.

Dannie nodded.

“Let’s get going. I’ll drop you at the hotel. It isn’t very far from the studio but we’ll send somebody to pick you up tomorrow. There won’t be a live program, only time to get you used to the ovens, discuss the details, do a bit of preparatory filming, and have time to get to know everybody. And a welcome meal. But we’ll let you have a bit of rest this evening.”

“That sounds good.” Adelfa replied.

In the car Dannie played the part of the occasional tour guide. She pointed out a variety of touristic spots and houses of the rich and famous.

“If you’re still here on Thursday, as that day there’s no program, sometimes the contestants decide to go on a proper tour. It’s good fun and a nice way to relax when we’re getting close to the final line.”

“That sounds nice. If we get that far.” Adelfa said.

“How is the rest of the team?” Dulce asked. “So far we’ve only talked to Harry Heston.”

“Dirty Harry?” Dannie asked. “He’s rather unique, not your standard team member.”

“Dirty Harry? Is he a fan of Clint Eastwood?” Adelfa asked.

Dannie breathed in deeply before replying:

“That’s not the reason for the nickname. We’ve arrived at the hotel. Here.”

Dannie helped them with their luggage and told them a car would be there at 9:30 next morning. Once up in their room and after unpacking Dulce and Adelfa decided to go for a walk and explore the surrounding area. It was a rather non-descript suburb although after asking a couple of people they managed to get directions and caught a bus that took them to the beach. There they walked and observed the people on roller-skates, sunbathing, playing beach volleyball…

“It is really like in the movies” said Dulce, trying not to be too obvious when contemplating the fabulous bodies around them. Adelfa, on the other hand, wasn’t particularly discreet. “You’re looking at those guys as if “they” were cupcakes.”

Adelfa smiled, deviating her gaze to look at Dulce for a few seconds.

“Well, they are gorgeous. And evidently they are here exhibiting themselves. They don’t work out that much and build up those muscles to hide them at home. Think of it as window-shopping. I have no intention of buying anything but looking…Feast your eyes! We don’t get many occasions like this one.”

“You’re probably right.”

After spending a good while people (mostly men, although some women were so interestingly undressed that they could not help but wonder) watching, they sat down with an ice-cream each. Adelfa seemed thoughtful, licking her ice-cream very slowly and finally asked:

“What do you think the Dirty Harry thing was about?”

“Probably some “in” joke. Maybe if we manage to stay long enough we’ll get to know.”

Dulce had no idea how right she was. Or how much she’d remember and regret her words.

They waited for the sunset and then returned to their hotel, stopping on the way to get some fruit and water. After watching some TV they went to bed, to wait for the first day of their TV experience.

They didn’t sleep very much and were up very early to make sure they were ready in plenty of time for the car. They didn’t want to be late on the first day and make a bad impression. The car dropped them at the TV station and Dannie was at the door waiting for them.

“Go and have a seat in reception. Once you’re all here we’ll go to the studio and meet everybody else.”

“Are we the first ones?”

“Not quite. There are some people there already. Go and introduce yourselves.”

There were four people sitting in reception waiting. Two young blonde girls, typically Californian, who immediately jumped up when they saw them and told them they were very excited, and kept laughing and making plenty of noise all the time (and although called Denise and Diane, Adelfa immediately named them Barbie and Cindy, with good reason) and a man in his fifties and one in his thirties, father and son, Andrew and Andy. Both men were engineers, although Andrew had worked most of his life in oil camps and Andy had worked in transportation.

“My father is an engineer also.” Dulce offered.

“What’s his name?”

“Oh, Tony, Anthony Baxter.”

“I think he worked on a bridge part of the line my company has been working on recently. In Nebraska.” Andy said.

“I believe you’re right, although it was quite a few years back.” Dulce replied.

“Very good job.”

“Are you big into cooking?” Adelfa asked, trying to size-up the competition. She had already dismissed the two girls, who seemed only interested in how they’d look on camera.

Andrew shook his head from side to side.

“I’ve always been interested and done a bit of cooking in my spare time, although Andy is a much better cook. Unfortunately I haven’t had much time to improve my skills and Andy…since his wife had the baby, he’s been pretty busy with other things” he said, messing up his son’s hair affectionately.

Andy smiled at his father.

“Yes, very busy.” He took his phone out of his pocket and showed them a picture of a baby-girl. “Lily. She’s nearly 3 months old.”

“She’s beautiful!” Dulce said.

Andy beamed at the comment.

“Have you come up with a name for your team?” Andrew asked.

“Oh, we have a shop. ‘Literally Cupcakes and Cakes’, so we’ll go with the same name.” Adelfa said.

“Literally Cupcakes?” asked Dulce with a frown.

Adelfa dismissed her whilst the two guys looked at them with a puzzled expression.

“We have an ongoing semantics argument about the shop’s name. I prefer ‘literally’ whilst Dulce wanted ‘literary’ as she loves books.” Adelfa explained.

“And the shop is much more than a cupcake shop. We do have second-hand books and also exchange books clients bring in at no cost. And have writers and other people come and talk, and book readings for kids and a book club, and we run exhibitions, and workshops, and cookery and cake decoration courses…” Dulce explained.

“It sounds amazing” said Andy.

“You should see it. Let me…” Dulce took her phone out and showed them some pictures. They were suitably impressed. Denise and Diane also joined.

“Wow, a fire-station! What fun! Do you have any firemen?” Diane (or Denise, Dulce wasn’t sure) asked.

“Unfortunately they didn’t come included with the building but I’m sure we could do something about it if you come for a visit.” Adelfa replied. Dulce nudged her on the ribs but she just smiled, as sweetly as she could, at her.

“Great! We don’t have a shop yet, but we have a name. ‘A Little Bit of Heaven Cupcakes’. Denise wanted to go with ‘D-lights’. You know, D as in the letter D, as we’re both Ds, Diane and Denise, but I thought people might think we were talking about something naughty, especially with cup and…And it wouldn’t be good to mislead people, not at least until we’ve had some surgery…We aren’t really D cups…”

Andrew and Andy went through all the colors in the rainbow during Diane’s explanation, but Dulce and Adelfa just laughed.

“I think ‘A Little Bit of Heaven’ is a great name.” Dulce asserted.

“Our shop is called ‘Let Them Eat Cupcakes’. We also run an on-line business, ‘Lady Cupcakes and Lingerie’ that’s going extremely well.” A tall woman, with long dark hair, huge golden sunglasses, incredibly pointy shoes with the highest heels Dulce had ever seen, and the shortest skirt and one of the most revealing tops she’d ever imagined had walked into the room and joined the conversation. A shorter, petite version of her, with red highlights, but similarly short skirt and low-cut top had followed her in. They introduced themselves as Pam and Chloe.

“Well, there’s another red-hair in the competition. You won’t feel so alone.” Adelfa whispered.

“She’s not really red-haired” Dulce replied, also in whispers.

“I think I can see that…especially now that she’s sitting down” Adelfa joked, looking at Chloe’s skirt.

“You…” Dulce jokingly hit her on the arm.

“So you sell lingerie and cakes?” Andrew asked the newcomers. Dulce worried his eyes would pop out of his eye sockets. Andy had grabbed his father’s arm, seemingly trying to stop him from embarrassing himself.

“We make boxed sets containing sexy pieces of lingerie and cupcakes. Our idea is: the woman eats the cupcakes…” started Pam.

“And the man eats…” Chloe added.

“I think we get the idea.” Adelfa interrupted. Chloe looked at her with a less-than-kind expression.

“Let’s not make enemies from the word go if we can help it” Dulce told her friend, very soft.

Adelfa looked at her and nodded. She took her phone out and Dulce got a text-message a few seconds later. She waited a beat before checking.

“I wonder if being tarty will make them any good at baking. ;)”

Whilst all of them were distracted by the spectacle of Pam and Chloe, two guys came into the reception area. Dulce nearly jumped out of her skin when one of them sat on the sofa next to theirs. They were both dressed in combat fatigues, were tall, strong and muscular, one of them African-American and sporting a Mohican-style haircut and the other one with shaved hair and piercing blue eyes.

“We are ‘Guerrilla Cupcakes’. This is Custer and I’m West” the African-American part of the duo asserted, never taking his eyes off Adelfa.

They all nodded and introduced themselves. Dulce took advantage of the noise to tell Adelfa:

“I think you’ve got an admirer.”

She shrugged her shoulders.

“I’m more worried about their cake-making skills. Military-style organization and strategy might help with some of the challenges.”

“That’s true, but you can hardly imagine they’ll be very dainty and delicate with things like decorations, although maybe we should delay any judgments until we’ve seen what they are capable of.”

Two women of a similar age to theirs, early thirties, walked in. They were both brown-haired, middle-height, one a bit plumper than the other, wearing simple flowery dresses and no make-up. They smiled shyly and waited until the noise had quieted down before talking.

“Hi. I’m Candy and this is Trisha. We have a shop called ‘Simple Cupcakes and Desserts’. We like to use organic ingredients, avoid colorants and unneeded chemicals and also cater for people with food allergies and intolerances.”

There was another round of introductions. Dulce had the feeling that the Simple team would be fairly strong competition.

The final two contestants were a young boy (thirteen), called Peter Parker (“Like Spiderman”, he promptly informed them all) and his grandmother Lucy, who was wearing a perm, gray hair, and seemed to have made an effort to look like a harmless old lady, despite not being that old. Although the boy wanted his team to go by the name ‘Superheroes cakes’, it soon became ‘Pete and granny’s’.

As they had all arrived, Dannie came to pick them up and show them the studio where they would be filming the program.

“I don’t think that granny is as old and clueless as she wants to make us think.” Adelfa whispered in Dulce’s ear.

“I was thinking exactly the same.” Dulce turned to Andy who was behind them and asked:

“You never had a chance to tell us the name of your team.”

“We had a heated debate about it. We finally decided to go with ‘Movers and Fixers Baking Team’ because of the engineering theme.”

“I like it.” Adelfa said.

The studio wasn’t exactly how the girls had imagined it. They’d seen it on the TV but it felt quite different once they were there. There were the cables, cameras, lights and what seemed to be a separate room, probably to control everything, but it also looked like a huge kitchen, with plenty of ovens, fridges, working surfaces, sinks, drawers, utensils…

“Wow! I’m not sure what I was expecting, but it’s enormous and very impressive” Adelfa said.

“Here comes Harry” Dannie warned, and Dulce couldn’t help but remember a crazy-looking Jack Nicholson in ‘The Shining’ coming through the door with an axe saying: ‘Here comes Johnny!’

They all turned to see a man approaching them at speed. He was in his late forties, had a bit of a paunch, was bolding, and had very strong features, with a square jaw and a protruding and straight nose. He had big, intense, green eyes.

“Hi all. I’m Harry Heston. It’s a real pleasure to meet you all. We’ll have time to get to know ourselves better over the next few days. I just wanted you to come, meet each other and the team of the program, have a go at cooking something to familiarize yourselves with the equipment, and then we’ll go for a meal this evening to unwind before the circus starts performing tomorrow. You must be…”

He started throwing names around, shaking hands, smiling, nodding and appearing interested. He introduced them to the four main camera-men, Joe, Preston, Stan and Chris, who just nodded from their cameras, a woman called ‘Minnie’ dressed in a gray suit, with glasses, and holding onto an iPad for dear life. She was the one coordinating where everybody should be and what they should be doing at any given time.

“I’ll just call you by your team names. I have very bad memory, or rather; I have too many things to think about so I focus on matters important for the program. And I prefer not to get too attached to any contestants. Otherwise it can be heartbreaking when people leave.”

Adelfa and Dulce looked at each other and shrugged. Oh well.

Dannie showed them where other necessary things were, like the toilets, the canteen, a little shop, the changing rooms, make-up…

“There are plenty more people involved in the program, but most of them come and go and aren’t permanent fixtures, so you’ll meet them as they appear. If you need anything you can always ask me. Or Harry. And remember, today you’re here to have fun. Don’t worry about anything. This is not the competition yet. Enjoy!”

Dulce and Adelfa went to the toilet and took the chance to exchange a few thoughts.

“What do you think?” Dulce asked. Adelfa had always been good at summarizing and briefings.

“I don’t think Barbie and Cindy or the two Andrews are going to be too hard. The military guys could be a wild-card. I have no idea. The two in-your-face women…I could be wrong but think what you see is what you get. I am very suspicious of the granny.”

“I know what you mean. I am too. I like the girls of ‘Simple Cakes’. We do some cakes for people with allergies and intollerances but I’d like to learn from them. They could be a good team to get friendly with, at least after the competition.” Dulce said.

“Good minds think alike. Yes, they could be invaluable.”

“Let’s go and play” Dulce said.

And that’s what they did. They had a few hours to try ovens, implements, check ingredients and in general have fun and get used to the equipment. They also kept a close eye on the competition, although they knew what they saw that day might have very little to do with their real performances.

*************************************************************************************************************************************

Just to prove you that I’m not good at the visual side of things and in case you missed it, I leave you the video I created:

http://youtu.be/oGFcWLwoFfA

If you’re interested in the book, it’s available in a variety of places (and I hope in paper soon). I leave you some links:

Amazon:

http://bit.ly/1pyxw9Q

Kobo:

http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/i-love-your-cupcakes

Nook (Barnes and Noble):

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/i-love-your-cupcakes-olga-n-ez-miret/1120420510?ean=2940046286625&itm=1&usri=2940046286625

Apple (i-Tunes):

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id923681628

In case you’re thirsty after all these cakes, I thought I’d share something pretty special I found in Florence:

Donna Olga wine. And there were three different types!

Donna Olga wine. And there were three different types!

Thanks everybody for reading (and the patience), and you know, if you’ve enjoyed it, like, share, comment and CLICK! 

Ah, and I’m looking for blogs, pages, and recipe books dedicated to cookery, and baking and cakes in particular, so if you have any favourites, let me know, I’m interested! Thanks!

Today it’s Stephie’s turn to talk about her brother Jesús and his adventures in The Man Who Never Was. She’s decided to send us a recording instead.

Here it goes. I hope you enjoy it!

The Man Who Never Was. Blog (audio post 5)

If you’re interested in what you’ve heard, here is more information:

The Man Who Never Was

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009TWRT22

And in Spanish: El hombre que nunca existió

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009TWEGC8

If you want to watch the book trailer, here is the link:

http://www.youtube.com/embed/qvUitFG2D20

 

Check this great review page The Man Who Never Was Don’t forget to leave your reviews and comments. Thank you!

 

And now, a very important ANNOUNCEMENT. I’m extremely happy to tell you that this Friday, 30th November, my friend and great writer Deborah Palumbo will be my guest and will talk about her writing and her newest novel in the series of The Undeparted. Miss it at your peril!

Nice to meet you. My name is Adelina and I am Jesús’s mother. Yes, he’s been talking to you about himself. A bit narcissistic, I know, but what do you expect? In a family like ours, you need to promote yourself. We’ve always been under the public eye for one reason or another. First my husband political career (no, not Jesús’s father, that’s another story), then Stephie, my daughter, a child prodigy, then my own political career when my husband Senén died…there was no escaping it, really. And despite my son’s looks (I know he’s told you quite a few times he’s ugly. Really ugly. Well, he’s not exaggerating at all. He’s scarily ugly, but, he’s my son anyway) he was still part of the family.

Yes, I am…that Adelina, the one who was in the government for years…and then…Sure, I was a pretty girl and everybody underestimated me and thought that I had no brains or talents other than looking good and increasing the kudos of any guys I was with. But boy, were they mistaken or what? I showed them to take me seriously. OK, you know the story. I won’t bore it with it. You’ve probably even read my authorised biography. Or even the unauthorised one. Lots of lies. Or watched the movie…

So what am I here for? Good question! It’s the same I asked Jesús. And he told me: ‘They’ll want to know what you think about me and you can tell them…you know…things.’ Sure… ‘things’. I know what he wants me to tell you. He’s always had this fascination with his father, his biological father, and regularly asks me who he was. I understand it must have been difficult when he was very young and realised that he was not like the other children in the village and he did not have a dad to play with him and go to pick him up and burn the sausages at the barbecue and all that. But later on, when I got married…Senén was quite happy to play the part. He wasn’t good for much, but he was a kind father. And he’s never wanted for anything…OK, he’s wanted his father, but I’m sure that wouldn’t have helped him much…Anyway, as I told him, having a mother like me and a sister like Stephie should be enough for anybody.

Why don’t I tell him? Because…No, no, you won’t catch me like that. I’m a politician, don’t forget. I’m a master at giving evasive answers and going with the reply that will score best in the media. The important thing is that Jesús is a great man, without any assistance from that father of him that he’s so interested in. How much credit I can take for it is a different matter. I’ve always been very busy but I’d say that overall we’ve got on well and I’ve left him follow his own path without interfering with his natural gifts. I’ve been very lucky with my children. It was definitely luck and not design, but who is complaining?

If you want to know more, read ‘The Man Who Wasn’t There’. I don’t know why but everybody seems to think it’s very funny. I didn’t think our life was funny at the time, but I guess, it’s a matter of opinion.

Follow this link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009TWRT22

And if you want to watch a fantastic book trailer (don’t click on the links though! The one above is the business!) check this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=qvUitFG2D20

Thanks!

Adelina

 

*********************************************************************I (Olga this time) have a special announcement. This Friday, the 16th, author Gem Thomas will be the guest in my blog and will talk about his writing and his exciting new project, direct from Alaka!

Can’t wait!

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