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Reach Out Beyond The Pyre

As the storylines developed and were woven together I was drawn deeper into the historical fabric of this carefully researched book. The strongly drawn characters, shades of fantasy and dramatic action overlaying the real history of the Cathars made for an enjoyable and interesting read. David Berkshire (Amazon.co.uk)

I thought the characters were brilliant, and I loved the link between the different centuries, as well as the switch between perspectives and the interesting use of setting. Eleanor Jones

Direct from the publisher, Austin Macauley or Amazon and your local book store, this exciting new novel moves seamlessly between the 13th and 21st centuries. An absorbing read and the second novel from author, Steve Costello. Steve is nearing completion of a third novel, set in very ancient times and the present. Exploring our timeless position in the universe while following some of the BTP characters.

Beyond The Pyre is set in the south of France and within the human mind. Two young lovers reach out to their future selves. Their task; to help protect an ancient secret that humankind must never see. Two quintessentially evil characters stand out but there are hundreds of others with a different motivation. Some seek to destroy everything; others only want the power of the secret. The flame of the human spirit leads characters living across the centuries down many paths. Find out if their spirits truly connect or was it wishful thinking brought about by hope and fear motivating creative ways to survive.

From the darkness beyond the pyre,

two young lovers reach out to the future.

A malevolent force lurks in the shadows,

seeking to destroy them

and expose their closely guarded secret.

 

Published by Austin Macauley, Beyond The Pyre is available in Digital, Hardback and Paperback formats.

In this exciting new novel . . .

. . .  past, present and future collide. Things the characters never thought about come to life. Pulling them into startling events set in the 13th and 21st centuries. BTP isn’t a ghost story. It is as real as the words you are reading now.

In 13th century France during the time of the crusades against the Cathars, two young lovers call out to the 21st century from Beyond The Pyre. Catharine, an adept spiritual traveller hears the call and realises her connection with Elionor, a 13th century noblewoman. There is a treasure that must survive the centuries and stay out of the human domain. The women are central to the survival of the treasure and they must keep it out of the hands of Les Deux, servants of a dark master.

Historical fact merges with fiction which merges with Spirit and mysticism. This story is as much about the Steve’s spiritual journey as it is a gripping story about survival. BTP is about new relationships, loss of loved ones and the tenacity of the human race to make sense from chaos.

Order a copy from . . .

Amazon

Smashwords 

Barnes & Noble

Waterstones (UK)

Don’t forget your local bookstore. If they don’t have it in stock, they can order for you.

Once a Bestseller, Always a Bestseller

Have you noticed the offers that attack your inbox promising massive increases in book sales? You have, they’re not difficult to miss. Don’t Panic! There are no offers of glory or riches in this post.

Two days ago, one particular email said,

“Unless you have four-star reviews, your book will fail.”

I followed that cheeky suggestion and discovered their point.

Buy one of their review packages and your book will have a better chance of success. I also noticed that they are setting up their own system to challenge Goodreads. Good luck to them, I hope it works out. Or, do I?

It’s true, I wish nobody to fail with their business endeavours and they may have a point that Goodreads perhaps needs to re-evolve to match the ever-changing world.

One thing I noticed that concerned me is their packages mentioned a ‘team.’ If you bought their most expensive package, your book would be reviewed by one of their ‘top reviewers.’ No names, no testimonials offered.

There is a common thread here. So many offers and promises that aren’t backed up with evidence of positive results.

Delving deeper, I discovered something shocking. There are books on the market carrying that wonderful tag ‘Best Seller’ when in reality it’s far from the truth.

In the case of Brent Underwood, who works in book marketing, achieving the best-seller status took less content and work than you might think. His title, Putting My Foot Down, was a page long, featured a picture of his left foot, and became a number 1 best seller on Amazon in a matter of minutes with the sale of three copies.”

I will not reveal how Brent did that (you can always follow the link) but suffice to say,

Once a bestseller, always a bestseller

Playing the best seller system isn’t unique. Authors, particularly those of business books, are using techniques like cherry-picking lists to present an image that may not be true. Like a picture of a foot being a best seller.

When people hear about or see the ‘best seller’ tag their ears prick up, they give the author more attention and sales explode.

There are enough challenges for Indie Authors without inundation from individuals offering fee-based packages. I am sure many will agree that the only way to become a best seller is to write a great story. With dedication and hard work, get people to buy it and place reviews in all the prominent places.

I’m not saying that there aren’t genuine people out there who are outstanding book marketers but, it’s the people who read the books that matter. I’m not so sure we need more than the wonderful networks we develop with other authors and readers to achieve true ‘bestseller’ status. Integrity and honesty is the only way to go.

Difficult Roads Lead to Beautiful Destinations

This post must start with a huge THANK YOU. I am overwhelmed by direct messages from wonderful people offering get well wishes after my mishap at the end of October. That thing called ‘human inquisitiveness’ has also prompted this post; people want to know what happened. A brief review follows.

Saturday 28 October 2017. Working with our 19-year-old son, Sasha on a DIY project in the ‘little girls’ bedroom. Ha ha, they are 11 and 13 years. Not little anymore . . .

After a few hours of enjoyable work, I became tired and had an uncomfortable ache from hip to toes in my left leg. Recognising and ignoring it, I blamed the nervous system illness I have had for many years but we decided we had done enough for the day and our stomachs growled. So we packed away the tools.

Sasha gave me an appraising look and told me to go downstairs, he would finish. I didn’t want to quit yet. It’s not that often that we have the time to work together but five-minutes later the pain had increased so intensely I couldn’t stand. I knew then that this wasn’t the regular pain thing.

Helped to bed but not able to remember the journey is an interesting experience that has gone in my ‘notes to include in writing’ file. I was upstairs, then I wasn’t and found myself falling into a very dark place where exquisite pain was the companion. I take morphine to manage daily pain, the regular dose and the boosters had no effect , so I asked for a glass of rum (I don’t drink spirits). It had the desired effect, and I slept for a short while.

On waking, I discovered only one position that didn’t make me want to scream, bite into the pillows . . . but it wasn’t practical; my upper body was at right angles to my legs and there was little space for Sarah to join me in the bed later. It was suggested that an ambulance be called but I didn’t want that because the thought of more fuss and movement was very unappealing. I don’t want to recall the following thirty-six hours until the point where I gave in and agreed that an ambulance was necessary. Nor do I want to revisit the journey from bed to the ambulance. Those guys were great, but they had no magic wands except a powerful ambulance and a siren with blue light to get us through the roadworks joining the main route from home to Carcassonne.

Nobody was expecting Christmas trees while we travelled around the Carcassonne ring road at 120 KPH. Expletives from the driver followed by a thud and scraping sound beneath the vehicle diverted our attention. Recovering his composure, he explained that a car and trailer carrying unfettered Christmas trees had shed part of its load. We were dragging some of it along on the under carriage. After a few radio exchanges he said he wasn’t going to stop, and we carried our new load the remaining four kilometres into the ‘Urgence’ bay.

Colleagues detached the tree and were excited to receive their first Christmas tree of the season which they proudly stood in a corner; standing at over two metres tall. No damage to the ambulance. The triage team, examined and attached three liquids that brought a quick drugged haze and an emergency MRI scan that showed a disk in my lower back had moved into the spinal canal.

Seven long immobile days later, I was transferred to a specialist hospital near Toulouse where on 04 November; a surgeon removed the disk and performed a spinal fusion operation. The next day, I got out of bed and walked. They performed a miracle! The pain in the leg has reduced considerably, but it’s going to be a long road to complete recovery. My usual optimism will take care of that.

That’s the story and one I must say was not enjoyable to relate. Yet look at the positives; the skill and dedication of everybody involved was humbling. The ‘get well wishes’ too have played a great part in recovery.

Back and work now relinking to the positive thread I left behind almost six weeks ago.

Friday Teaser

Recent health issues have caused chaos with my work but I am happy to report that editing my current novel is back on track and plans for the one to follow that are well underway. I’ve not worked on two novels simultaneously before but something tells me that this is currently the way to go.

I hope you enjoy this short peek at a possible opening to ‘Supper in Jerusalem.’

Stood on a Mediterranean beach at dawn, watching the sunrise and fading silhouette of a small fishing boat that just left him. Simon couldn’t think of a better postcard view.

Turning inland, the desolation of a once thriving fishing port burned the positive images to ash. Evidence of domesticity smashed and broken still smouldered after another attack. The rumble of a solitary aircraft returning from its silent hours sortie over desolate cities. Bombs dispatched to the rebels, and innocents.

Simon heard the call and placed himself on the fringes of the most complicated civil war of his lifetime and he didn’t care for his safety. He cared only for those who wanted to reclaim their lives. He didn’t know who they were where to look or how to approach them. Trust would be an issue. They had been deserted while others around them joined factions with dangerous agendas that excluded their well-being and ignored their futures.

Over eleven million people fleeing the violence. Five million fled to neighbouring countries that don’t have the infrastructure to care for them. He looked at the crumpled leaflet in his hand and recited from memory.

“Nearly eight years since it began, the war has killed more than 480,000 people. Crowded cities have been destroyed and horrific human rights violations are widespread. Basic necessities like food and medical care are sparse.”

Clearing his throat and pulling back the tears, he continued.

“The U.N. estimates that 6.3 million people are internally displaced. When you also consider refugees, well over half of the country’s pre-war population of 22 million is in need of urgent humanitarian assistance, whether they still remain in the country or have escaped across the borders.”

It started with protests about the government, people wanted change, not the destruction that came their way. The situation became worse after outside parties intent on gratifying their own interests got involved; Russia, The USA, China, the list goes on. The number of civilian casualties and families forced to leave their homes in search of safety exploded when the major powers threw in their weight.

He opened out the leaflet and looked at a picture of a smiling young man standing on the rubble that had been his school. Years of his life lost to the war.  No family. No education. No basic human rights. The headline read, “Resolved to do something about his future.”

Simon had to find this young man before it was too late.

Write a letter; Change a life

The Winter 2017 edition of Amnesty Magazine, (pp 15 – 23) explains how a few minutes of your time can make a difference to peaceful people arrested or tortured, activists fighting against forced evictions, or refugees left in limbo rather than offered a place of safety. Your few minutes can provide people with some of the strength they need to carry on.

This winter Amnesty supporters around the world will send millions of messages of Solidarity as part of “Write for Rights.”

Don’t let them shut off innocent voices.

Since 1967, Israeli authorities have arrested and detained hundreds of thousands of Palestinians under military order 101, which punishes West Bank Palestinians for peaceful political expression.

In the city of Hebron, 200,000 Palestinians are effectively held hostage by 800 Israeli settlers who invade houses with the military, attack the children of Palestinians, throw Molotov cocktails at houses. . .  Ambulances are not allowed in without special permits. There are roadblocks and checkpoints everywhere, there are water shortages and municipal services are restricted.  Seventy-seven per cent of the shopping area (1800 shops) is closed. There are 1000 empty Palestinian apartments because the Israeli’s force people to leave through their ‘quiet transfer’ policy. Yet, Israeli’s and tourists are allowed to wander Hebron freely.

People who resist are guilty until proven innocent and face up to 10 years and / or, a hefty fine. Virtually all cases end in conviction. Amnesty International is also being penalized by the Israeli ministry of finance through the controversial anti-boycott law.

What can you do?

Ask Amnesty International for your Free Copy of their Write for Rights booklet.

Write to the ambassador for Israel in your country or the Israeli Prime Minister.

Israel is not the only nation on earth persecuting innocent people.

Violence and death threats are used against Honduran’s, Chilean’s and Madagascan’s.

Write to the ambassadors in your country or, the heads of state.

Lethal Force is used by police in Jamaica where public safety is threatened by those who are supposed to uphold it.

Truth and Justice have become strangers in Turkey where human rights defenders face “Trumped up terror charges” and face possible 15 year sentences.

In the UK prolonged separation of refugee families is having devastating effects on peoples lives. A second reading of a parliamentary bill will be read on 16 March 2018. What you can do? Urge your MP to attend the reading and let Amnesty know what response you get.

Failing that, reblog, repost, Tweet links to this article and urge people in your networks to take action. Together we can be a force for change.

This is our planet, it is about all of us.

Your words are powerful

‘Letters from Amnesty supporters…were really powerful and helped me to stay strong. They protected us because the authorities knew thousands of people were watching.’

(Fred Bauma, pro-democracy activist in Democratic Republic of Congo)

It only takes a few minutes to write a letter or postcard but for someone enduring prison and torture just for protesting peacefully; or someone fighting forced eviction, or for refugees left in limbo it can provide the strength to carry on.

A message of solidarity tells someone like Fred, they’re not alone. It lets their abusers know the world is watching.

Following release of my next novel (details out soon), the subsequent novel follows a traveller through hostile terretories as he tries to right the wrongs suffered by innocent people. Watch this blog for forthcoming news.

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