Readers Avenue Park’s Most Excellent Worldwide Book Tour showcases author MARK FINE

I’ve been fortunate to be showcased by Readers Circle of Avenue Park in their on going Most Excellent Worldwide Book Tour. Please check it out…..thanks, Mark 🙂

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THE MOST EXCELLENT WORLDWIDE BOOK TOUR #7: Meet author MARK FINE

Introducing MARK FINE, author of THE ZEBRA AFFAIRE

Mark Fine B&W (300dpi)Print Mark Fine was born in Johannesburg, South Africa. He has made the United States his home since 1979, living in New York, Minneapolis, and Los Angeles. For well over a decade he headed an award-winning record label that he founded, called Hammer & Lace, that united non-profit organizations with world-class celebrity and music talent to create benefit albums and entertainment events to raise awareness and funds in aid of breast cancer research, at-risk children, the blind, freedom of speech, and wildlife conservation. For these philanthropic initiatives Mark was voted by Variety magazine as the “Music Executive with 20/20 Vision.” He has also contributed articles to entertainment industry publications, and conducted public speaking engagements at media and charity events.

The oncology community has honored Mark for his innovative, entertainment-based approach to health education. But he is especially proud of his “Paws of Fame” award he received from The Wildlife Waystation for support and commitment of animals worldwide. As such, animals always make an appearance in Mark Fine’s writings. Now he resides in the South Bay, where he lives with his two sons, his “significant other” and Charlie, a neighborhood dog that drops in from time to time. There he wrote the historic romance novel, The Zebra Affaire. Set in apartheid South Africa, Mark brings an insider’s perspective to the gripping account of a bi-racial couple’s forbidden love.


Blank bookcover with clipping path

Book Blurb

IT’S THE SPRING OF ‘76. For Elsa, her affair with Stanwell may well prove lethal, as she’s white and he’s black, and they dared to fall in love in apartheid South Africa. The terrified lovers are the prey in a deadly manhunt from the golden city of Johannesburg to the exotic but dangerous wilds of the African bushveld. The Zebra Affaire is a thrilling fusion of romance and suspense—laced with rich South African history. The tension is palpable as the persecuted couple race against time and bigotry. Reviewers rave about this intimate, yet dangerous love story; that’s set against a canvas that is both vividly authentic and powerfully provocative.

Book Reviews

“INTENSELY DAZZLING…NOT A BLACK AND WHITE STORY, A RAINBOW STORY WITH THE RICH COLORS OF LIVES IN TURMOIL.” – Elizabeth Newton, author of ‘View from the Sixth Floor’

“A book to savor slowly…appreciating each moment. I found myself re-reading sentences and whole paragraphs; such was the quality of the writing. One of the best books I’ve read this year.”
 Jean Gill, author of ‘Song at Dawn’

“The story of Stanwell and Elsa really touched me. Racial discrimination was so dehumanizing. This book took me to the days of the liberation struggle, and I experienced the hurt as I read. It was a real privilege to read the history, a period of pain and hope, as seen through Mark Fine’s eyes.”
– Thandi Lujabe-Rankoe, Former Freedom Fighter & Senior South African Diplomat

“More than a daring, multiracial romance set in a racist 1976 South Africa, that nation on the turbulent cusp of collapsing due to apartheid; The Zebra Affaire grips your soul and won’t let go. Never mind zebras, think lions, raw and roar.” – Geoff Nelder, author of ‘ARIA: Left Luggage’


News

The Zebra Affaire is aptly described in cinematic terms as Romeo & Juliette meets To Kill A Mockingbirdin Out of Africa, with all the passion, racial strife and wild, exotic setting that those three books (and film adaptations) suggest. In a recent development, a screenplay based on The Zebra Affaire is currently in development.

Book Excerpt

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EARLY MORNINGS IN MID-JULY on the Highveld were gripped in the bracing chill of a Southern hemisphere winter. White frost dusted the parklands and lawns. These tiny ice crystals were destined to thaw as they faced a warming sun. However, in Pretoria’s corridors of power, matters had heated up considerably. The nation’s administrative capital was at full alert as a consequence of the Soweto upheaval. Though the mob violence had been contained, the threat still simmered.

The Soweto Riots had eroded the certainty of the ruling regime. They feared for their way of life. Despite their apparent insensitivity to the plight of other humans, the Afrikaners were great champions of wildlife conservation—and similar to the white rhino, a victim of senseless poaching, they too felt as if they were an endangered species.

An endangered animal is desperate. A cornered animal is dangerous. The ruling regime was both desperate and dangerous as they felt their grip over the nation loosening. The Soweto Riots invoked a regime dictate of zero tolerance. From on high, directives to the nation’s security apparatus adopted an apocalyptic tone—the end of the volk was imminent, and all threats must be stopped, now. No deviation from the law by anyone would be tolerated.

The Security Branch considered Stanwell and Elsa’s romantic entanglement a matter of national security; what was once considered a tawdry “domestic affair” became a public symbol of rebellion and had to be crushed. The couple had undermined a key principle of apartheid; the white minority’s dominance could not be eroded by the intermingling of the races. Another outrage was Stanwell’s status as a business executive. His authority over white employees signaled to the Bantu that they were the white man’s equal, and that was unacceptable.

The Security Branch’s first act in their campaign against the couple was plagiarism. They lifted the “Zebra Affaire” headline from the newspaper article that publicly exposed them, and made it the operation’s code name.

Their second action was to classify Stanwell as an enemy of the state.
***
Malan Zander was delighted. Finally he had his marching orders. The mixed-race couple was now fair game, and it was time they suffered the consequence of their actions. He felt the buzz of anticipation. Others chose to be doctors, teachers, or builders in order to heal, impart knowledge, or create. Zander never understood that mindset.

As a child he found it more gratifying to demolish things, and as an adult, annihilation was his guiding light. Fortune shone on him when he found an employer that regarded the destruction of people’s lives a virtue.

For Zander restraint was an anathema; he’d much prefer bludgeoning the miscreants into submission. But his orders were clear: the Zebra Affaire must be handled subtly, as the world was watching. No killings, no public trial, no questionable disappearances—just make it go away. But for now just one problematic life required his immediate attention; he would deal with the girl later. As Stanwell’s crimes against the State were twofold, in business and in the bedroom, Zander had fertile grounds to create mischief.
***
Stanwell initially dismissed the disruptions, strange repeated hang-ups or silence on his telephone at work, as a nuisance. But paranoia grew when he heard mysterious clicks and echoes on the company phone. It could only be the State’s Security Branch meddling in his business.

Then the threats started, and Stanwell’s worst fears were confirmed. Vulgar in content and vicious in implication, faceless voices with rasping accents vowed public exposure. All Stanwell’s claims of innocence to his invisible attacker were brushed aside with merciless laughter until he began to plead. At that point he was given a specific warning: Miss Elsa Marais would soon receive something in the mail. After that the calls stopped, but the pressure continued.

Two white men arrived unannounced at the warehouse facility. Their ill-fitting suits were a signal to Stanwell’s staff that they were members of the Security Branch. The visitors were seen speaking with Stanwell through the executive office’s glass wall. The three men leaned toward each other in a conspiratorial fashion. Their body language was clear—they wished not to be overheard.

After the men left, the warehouse swirled with rumors that Stanwell was a snitch working for the apartheid regime. In that cesspool of tribal mistrust, Stanwell’s coworkers happily accepted the allegations as fact. This placed Stanwell’s life in potential danger. A revenge killing by embittered colleagues was now a real threat.

Understandably, Stanwell was terrified.


Available from Amazon

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Author Contact, Information and Social Media links

WEBSITE  |  BLOG  | FACEBOOK 

|  FINEBOOKS  | AMAZON PAGE

Twitter: @MarkFine_author
Email:    mark@finebooks.co

Mark Fine – An Inteview


Blog courtesy of Readers’ Circle of Avenue Park 

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A WORD WITH TRACI #AWWTBLOG TOUR: featuring MARK FINE

awwt seal

Now let’s keep the party going with today’s guest author! MARK FINE

Traci Sanders: “When I joined BooksGoSocial on Facebook (an awesome group of readers and authors), my world of reading and authorship was burst wide open. I met incredibly talented authors, such as today’s featured one.
I was blown away by the reviews I’d seen coming in for his novel, ‘The Zebra Affaire’, (read my 5-star review here), and just had to read it for myself. I was not disappointed!  The love story within is fiction, but many of the other events in this story are, sadly, very real reminders of just how far we’ve come as humankind. The writing is intense, riveting, and beautiful.
It’s my pleasure to welcome…Mark Fine!!!
Mark Fine (300dpi) Print

About The Author

Mark Fine was born in Johannesburg, South Africa. He has made the United States his home since 1979, living in New York, Minneapolis, and Los Angeles.

For four decades he has worked alongside world famous recording artists. He eventually launched his own award-winning record label, Hammer & Lace, with a mandate to produce benefit albums in support of such causes as breast cancer awareness, at-risk children, and wildlife conservation.

For these philanthropic initiatives Mark was voted by Variety magazine as the “Music Executive with 20/20 Vision.” He has also contributed articles to entertainment industry publications, and conducted public speaking engagements at multimedia events.

Now he resides in the South Bay, where he lives with his two sons, his “significant other” and Charlie, a neighborhood dog that drops in from time to time. There he wrote the historic romance novel, The Zebra Affaire. Set in apartheid South Africa, Mark brings an insider’s perspective to the gripping account of a bi-racial couple’s forbidden love.

Connect with Mark:

Twitter: @MarkFine_author or https://twitter.com/MarkFine_author

BLOG: https://markfineauthor.wordpress.com

FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/ZebraAffaire

PINTEREST: https://www.pinterest.com/markfine37/the-zebra-affaire/

LINKEDIN: https://www.linkedin.com/in/markfineauthor

WEBSITE: http://www.markfinebooks.com/


Accomplishments

Launched anti-poaching campaign called “You! Yes you can be a Rhino Protector!” with the #RhinoProtector and this graphic:

rhino

ZEBRAAFFAIRE Cover613

BLURB:

IT’S THE SPRING OF ‘76. For Elsa, her affair with Stanwell may prove lethal, as she’s white and he’s black, and they dared to fall in love in apartheid South Africa. The terrified lovers are the prey in a deadly hunt from the golden city of Johannesburg to the exotic but dangerous wilds of the African bushveld.

The Zebra Affaire is a thrilling fusion of romance and suspense—laced with rich South African history. The tension is palpable as the persecuted couple race against time and bigotry. Reviewers rave about this intimate, yet dangerous love story; that’s set against a canvas that is both vividly authentic and powerfully provocative.

WHAT READERS ARE SAYING:

“INTENSELY DAZZLING…NOT A BLACK AND WHITE STORY, A RAINBOW STORY WITH THE RICH COLORS OF LIVES IN TURMOIL.” – Elizabeth Newton, author of ‘View from the Sixth Floor’

“Profound, provocative and powerful — a book EVERYONE must read!” – Michelle Medhat, author ‘Connected: The Call & The Shift’

“I can’t find words to express how deeply reading this book affected me. I would have given it ten stars if I could.” – Gloria Antypowich, author ‘The Second Time Around’

“A book to savor slowly…appreciating each moment. I found myself re-reading sentences and whole paragraphs; such was the quality of the writing. One of the best books I’ve read this year.” – Jean Gill, author of ‘Song at Dawn’

“The story of Stanwell and Elsa really touched me. Racial discrimination was so dehumanizing. This book took me to the days of the liberation struggle, and I experienced the hurt as I read. It was a real privilege to read the history, a period of pain and hope, as seen through Mark Fine’s eyes.” – Thandi Lujabe-Rankoe, Former Freedom Fighter & Senior South African Diplomat

“More than a daring, multiracial romance set in a racist 1976 South Africa, that nation on the turbulent cusp of collapsing due to apartheid; The Zebra Affaire grips your soul and won’t let go. Never mind zebras, think lions, raw and roar.” –  Geoff Nelder, author of ‘ARIA: Left Luggage’

BOOK LINKS:

Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B011PXSEWG

Paperback: http://www.amazon.com/Zebra-Affaire-Apartheid-Love-Story/dp/1512321028/


BOOK EXCERPT:

EARLY MORNINGS IN MID-JULY on the Highveld were gripped in the bracing chill of a Southern hemisphere winter. White frost dusted the parklands and lawns. These tiny ice crystals were destined to thaw as they faced a warming sun. However, in Pretoria’s corridors of power, matters had heated up considerably. The nation’s administrative capital was at full alert as a consequence of the Soweto upheaval. Though the mob violence had been contained, the threat still simmered.

The Soweto Riots had eroded the certainty of the ruling regime. They feared for their way of life. Despite their apparent insensitivity to the plight of other humans, the Afrikaners were great champions of wildlife conservation—and similar to the white rhino, a victim of senseless poaching, they too felt as if they were an endangered species.

An endangered animal is desperate. A cornered animal is dangerous. The ruling regime was both desperate and dangerous as they felt their grip over the nation loosening. The Soweto Riots invoked a regime dictate of zero tolerance. From on high, directives to the nation’s security apparatus adopted an apocalyptic tone—the end of the volk was imminent, and all threats must be stopped, now. No deviation from the law by anyone would be tolerated.

The Security Branch considered Stanwell and Elsa’s romantic entanglement a matter of national security; what was once considered a tawdry “domestic affair” became a public symbol of rebellion and had to be crushed. The couple had undermined a key principle of apartheid; the white minority’s dominance could not be eroded by the intermingling of the races. Another outrage was Stanwell’s status as a business executive. His authority over white employees signaled to the Bantu that they were the white man’s equal, and that was unacceptable.

The Security Branch’s first act in their campaign against the couple was plagiarism. They lifted the “Zebra Affaire” headline from the newspaper article that publicly exposed them, and made it the operation’s code name.

Their second action was to classify Stanwell as an enemy of the state.

***

Malan Zander was delighted. Finally he had his marching orders. The mixed-race couple was now fair game, and it was time they suffered the consequence of their actions. He felt the buzz of anticipation. Others chose to be doctors, teachers, or builders in order to heal, impart knowledge, or create. Zander never understood that mindset.

As a child he found it more gratifying to demolish things, and as an adult, annihilation was his guiding light. Fortune shone on him when he found an employer that regarded the destruction of people’s lives a virtue.

For Zander restraint was an anathema; he’d much prefer bludgeoning the miscreants into submission. But his orders were clear: the Zebra Affaire must be handled subtly, as the world was watching. No killings, no public trial, no questionable disappearances—just make it go away. But for now just one problematic life required his immediate attention; he would deal with the girl later. As Stanwell’s crimes against the State were twofold, in business and in the bedroom, Zander had fertile grounds to create mischief.

***

Stanwell initially dismissed the disruptions, strange repeated hang-ups or silence on his telephone at work, as a nuisance. But paranoia grew when he heard mysterious clicks and echoes on the company phone. It could only be the State’s Security Branch meddling in his business.

Then the threats started, and Stanwell’s worst fears were confirmed. Vulgar in content and vicious in implication, faceless voices with rasping accents vowed public exposure. All Stanwell’s claims of innocence to his invisible attacker were brushed aside with merciless laughter until he began to plead. At that point he was given a specific warning: Miss Elsa Marais would soon receive something in the mail. After that the calls stopped, but the pressure continued.

Two white men arrived unannounced at the warehouse facility. Their ill-fitting suits were a signal to Stanwell’s staff that they were members of the Security Branch. The visitors were seen speaking with Stanwell through the executive office’s glass wall. The three men leaned toward each other in a conspiratorial fashion. Their body language was clear—they wished not to be overheard.

After the men left, the warehouse swirled with rumors that Stanwell was a snitch working for the apartheid regime. In that cesspool of tribal mistrust, Stanwell’s coworkers happily accepted the allegations as fact. This placed Stanwell’s life in potential danger. A revenge killing by embittered colleagues was now a real threat.

Understandably, Stanwell was terrified.

Mark’s book is available for just $2.99 on Amazon Kindle!


Interview with Mark:

What/who inspired you to become a writer?

My paternal grandmother owned a private book library in a suburb of Johannesburg. Her shop was always busy with clients scrambling dibs for the latest read, as she (a copious reader) gave brief synopsis of new releases–all the while stamping return dates on the front leaf of the book in front of her. And I helped, opening boxes of new releases, or bringing some order to disheveled shelves. Only is such an environment, where the written word was so revered, would my first notion of becoming an author take seed

Where do you get your ideas from?

My unofficial mission is to make history come alive, by been relevant again, as there are lessons to be learned (and repeated mistakes avoided). Strangely the events of recent history seem to be the first forgotten, so I don’t tend to forage beyond 50 years from today, now. I specifically enjoy the African continent; it is so easily misunderstood (or written-off), but it’s a fertile source of inspiration for a writer such as me that delights placing fictional characters in the midst of real events and people from another time.

Do you have any tips for aspiring writers (writing, getting published, etc.)?

A topic I do have an opinion or two. When writing, I have two basic rules. First, prepare a three page outline. This is the map that provides direction, keeps you on topic, and defines the universe you are creating. Second, write the closing of the book FIRST. Sounds counter intuitive, but I think of it as the “closing argument” by the prosecutor in a court case. It has to be tight, concise, clear, and dramatic. With that strategy in mind, the writer will have a final destination, a finish to write towards. Without it, the author will inevitably wander down extraneous paths; and this is the biggest obstacle that causes many to never complete their book.

Is there anything you know now that you wish you’d known prior to getting published?

You must create an author platform by the date your book is released. This includes setting up a website or blog, garnering sufficient reviews, preparing your media kit with bio and book synopsis, readying the components for you Amazon Author Page, etc. etc.  Unfortunately, I only began addressing these issues late in the process when “The Zebra Affaire” was going through the final editing process. It has certainly cost me wasted time and some opportunities. I’d suggest (though easier said than done), try wearing both your writer’s hat and entrepreneur hat simultaneously. This way I could have allowed fans to witness the writing process; the research, book jacket design, before and after drafts of the manuscript, and type setting in real time.

What’s next? Are you currently working on anything?

“The Zebra Affaire” remains in part a living document to me. No, not because of mistakes, but my interests have grown since the book’s release. The story’s big showdown takes place during a safari in the African veld. I would like to add an anti-poaching theme as a subset to the main narrative. I believe it would play very well. And fit elegantly in the story with the tragic, sad focus on a rhino, hacked to death for its horn. (More pathetic and pitiful knowing that alleged mystical/medical benefits of a rhino horn are no greater than the cuticles on our hands). Being an independent publisher, I am free to make this adjustment—and insert these passages—without requiring consent from a cast of thousands. As for the page or so added to my novel, I will feel so much better about the cause-driven component it will add to my historical novel, “The Zebra Affaire.”

Do you have a book tour planned? Will you be appearing anywhere?

I am a fan of Book Clubs. Really enjoy the conversation with readers whom are already well acquainted with my work. It makes the nature of our engagement more intimate, as, instead of trying to pitch the book, I’m able to get down to the emotional, political, and societal issues that influenced the actions of my characters. And most of all, relish the personal feedback they kindly provide.

That said, I’ve never attempted a book tour. Frankly, I’m not sure how to go about it–but I’m eager to try. Any suggestions?

What are you currently reading?

Alan Furst “The Spies of Warsaw”


BOOK LINKS:

Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B011PXSEWG

Paperback: http://www.amazon.com/Zebra-Affaire-Apartheid-Love-Story/dp/1512321028/


Connect with Mark:

Twitter: @MarkFine_author or https://twitter.com/MarkFine_author

BLOG: https://markfineauthor.wordpress.com

FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/ZebraAffaire

PINTEREST: https://www.pinterest.com/markfine37/the-zebra-affaire/

LINKEDIN: https://www.linkedin.com/in/markfineauthor

WEBSITE: http://www.markfinebooks.com/

I would like to thank Mark Fine for joining us today! Go check out ‘The Zebra Affaire’!


PLEASE CHECK OUT “A WORD WITH TRACI” at this link:  http://awordwithtraci.com/day-15-mark-fine/

THE MOST EXCELLENT WORLDWIDE BOOK BLOG TOUR: Trip#1 with SUZI ALBRACHT

 Suzi Albracht header

Introducing author Suzi Albracht


Book Title:  Death Most Wicked

Genre and Sub-Genre: Horror, Thriller

Book Content Rating:  Adult (18+)  Language and Violence


Suzi Albacht

Author Bio: I love to write horror thrillers with intense personal relationships between characters. I started reading earlier in life than most of my friends and spent many hours hidden in closets and under beds, sneaking in just another ten minutes of whatever book I was reading. As soon as I was old enough, my mother would send me to the library to pick up books for her. This delighted me because it opened up a whole new world of books not available in school.

I read everything I could get my hands on but was drawn to sci-fi, horror and thrillers. As I matured, I would say my main influences became Stephen King, Dean Koontz and William Faulkner. My writing definitely reflects those influences.

I can honestly say my twitter bio describes me to a T – Write, scare myself, turn all the lights on, write some more. Take a break, play pool, kick butt/get butt kicked, go write more horror, double lock door.

To reach me regarding my book (s) or to just say hello (please, no spam), email me at SuziAlbracht@aol.com or tweet me on Twitter: @SuziAlbracht.
Send me an email if you want to be alerted of new book releases.


 51P-72nNU1L._UY250_Book Blurb: The thing Evil craves most is innocence. When small children disappear, you can be assured that Evil has crawled out of its dirty corner. And when those children turn up dead, Evil has clawed its mark on humanity.

What if you were a homicide detective and little girls were suddenly being kidnapped and murdered by a devious pedophile? And what if that pedophile left no evidence behind except for the broken bodies? What would you sacrifice to save just one innocent child? Would any sacrifice be too great? What if it cost you someone you loved? What if, by saving that child, you unleash a horrific monster into your own life?

Mikael Ruskoff was living his dream. He was a highly successful, homicide detective working a career he loved. He had a mother who adored him, a son he took skateboarding, and a wife he loved more than words could express. He played a mean drum set every Thursday night with his best friend on guitar. His life was comfortable and pleasurable. Then he caught a case that would change his life forever.

 Review(s):

51P-72nNU1L._UY250_ Death Most Wicked

Wow! By B. Martin on September 7, 2015: This is one creepy novel. First you have a man who wants a little sister so desperately he’s willing to kidnap children, only to kill them when they refuse to live inside his shed. Then you have this hellish substance that turns victims into puddles of bloody liquid. And in the middle of all this is Mikael Ruskoff, a homicide detective who’s charged with solving a seemingly never ending string of murders.

Suzi Albracht has a fantastic imagination, and she does a wonderful job bringing this disturbing tale to life. Twists abound. Characters are connected in ways you least expect. And it’s all presented in a way that will leave you on the edge of your seat. (or in my case, my bed) Definitely a novel horror fans will want to check out.

The Devil’s Lieutenant51byRxkOxXL._UY250_

An Excellent Tale of Horror By Glen Barrera on March 18, 2015: After reading and enjoying Albracht’s Scorn Kills, I knew what was in store when I began reading this novel. I wasn’t let down. In fact, after the first few pages I was convinced the author had taken this tale of horror to an even greater level. Like any good novel, horror or not, it’s the well written characters that drive the story. In this department, Albracht didn’t skimp: Jake Holyfield and his pregnant wife, Caroline; his brother Bobby and friend Max – the good guys – pitted against evil in the form of Carl and Dimitry Ivanovich. Quite simply, the bad guys want the good guys on their team, by whatever means. And they do have interesting means. But this story is also about the frailty of the human condition. What moral price would someone pay for unlimited money, youth, or the woman of their dreams? This is a fast paced read, with unexpected twists and turns, leading to a well-done ending. I definitely want to read Albracht’s next book.

Scorn Kills51xLjuvZydL._UY250_

The first person telling of this breathless tale is delectable! on April 4, 2015: “Scorn Kills” is a wickedly devilish book that reads with the breeziness of a fiery furnace backdraft. It dramatically opens with a claustrophobic setting; a coffin relentlessly heading toward final conflagration, its living occupant desperate to plead his case. Horror it is not, but author Suzi Albracht’s dark humor ensures that “Scorn Kills” is a far more satisfying read. Morality and fidelity are supposedly inscribed in blood, but for our main protagonist, his manly frailty is that well-treaded demon–the temptation of another woman. And for this transgression, alas, there would be no second chances. The first person telling of this breathless tale is delectable, as it is the sinner that narrates his own fate. What I especially enjoyed about Ms. Albracht’s book is that she never burdened me, the reader, with tiresome sermons on the evils of infidelity; instead she expertly grabbed my attention with a vivid story, filled with flawed characters. For me, “Scorn Kills” is well worth the read!


Book Trailers:  The Devil’s Lieutenant


Scorn Kills, Death Most Wicked, and The Devil’s Lieutenant: are all part of The Devil’s Due Collection

Book Links:
myBook.to/DeathMostWicked
getBook.at/SCORN_KILLS
myBook.to/The_Devils_Lieutenant

Author Links: Author.to/SuziAlbracht

Brain to Books Blog Tour: Today’s Featured Author, MARK FINE | Bio, Book Excerpt, Reviews & Interviews

Brain to Books Blog Tour

Fast Facts

Author: Mark Fine

Genre: ​Romance / Suspense / Historical Drama​

Books:  The Zebra Affaire: An Apartheid Love Story​ from The Sub-Saharan Saga​

Official Site

​Bio

Mark Fine (1)​Mark Fine was born in Johannesburg, South Africa. He has made the United States his home since 1979, living in New York, Minneapolis, and Los Angeles.
For four decades he has worked alongside world famous recording artists. He eventually launched his own award-winning record label, Hammer & Lace, with a mandate to produce benefit albums in support of such causes as breast cancer awareness, at-risk children, and wildlife conservation.
For these philanthropic initiatives Mark was voted by Varietymagazine as the “Music Executive with 20/20 Vision.” He has also contributed articles to entertainment industry publications, and conducted public speaking engagements at multimedia events.
​ ​
Now he resides in the South Bay, where he lives with his two sons, his “significant other” and Charlie, a neighborhood dog that drops in from time to time. There he wrote the historic romance novel,The Zebra Affaire. Set in apartheid South Africa, Mark brings an insider’s perspective to the gripping account of a bi-racial couple’s forbidden love.​

Accomplishments

​Finalist. BGS Best ​Book 2015 Award, Dublin, Ireland

Blurb

Mark Fine (2)Apartheid, South Africa

In the spring of 1976 matters of the heart are strictly controlled by racist doctrines. In that toxic mix of segregation and tribal mistrust, an unlikely union between a black man from Malawi and a white woman—an Afrikaner—shocks the nation unaccustomed to such a public affair. All sides across the color divide are represented in the interracial couple’s painful journey in an unaccepting world. The lovers find themselves in the crosshairs of the racist regime’s cold-blooded enforcer, Mal Zander, who will stop at nothing to crush their union and future hopes for a colorblind nation.

The intimate and emotional love story of Elsa and Stanwell is exposed for all to see under the harsh glare of television, newly introduced. In a narrative that’s intense—vividly authentic, and thought provoking—the reader will witness Elsa and Stanwell’s desperate fight to remain together—as the apartheid nation waged a deadly struggle for liberation…and eventual redemption in the guise of prisoner #46664, Nelson Mandela.

Review

It is not often a book as intensely dazzling as “The Zebra Affaire” by Mark Fine comes along. A forbidden love story takes place against the dramatic background of 1970’s South Africa and apartheid. Fine draws you into the story cautiously, laying the groundwork for the eventual affair between Elsa and Stanwell. By gently educating the reader with the background of the conflicts in South Africa, awareness of the difficulties faced by the star crossed lovers is enhanced. This is more than a racial segregation issue; there is a deeper issue brewing in South Africa. Tribal conflicts cause significant damage to a country beset by violence and political unrest.

As the love of Elsa and Stanwell grows deeper and more intense they are assisted by some to strengthen their bond. While segregation forbids open encouragement of their union, friends support them quietly. But the strict Afrikaner regime stands against them if not publicly at least in a behind closed doors attack on their union. While they flaunt their affair the government seems to stand in stunned silence as the world looks on. But the fanatics behind the scenes are both appalled and disgusted by their obvious sexual relationship and strive to expose and punish them for breaking hundreds years old laws.
With vibrant descriptions of both the beauty and ugliness of South Africa the story weaves its way to an intense climax. Waiting for the resolution of the love affair the reader will also wait for the resolution of apartheid. Knowing the eventual outcome of South African politics and the rise of Nelson Mandela it is easy to anticipate the same result for Stanwell and Elsa.

I highly recommend this lush and beautifully written story. Fine’s use of words is akin to an artist’s use of the palette; this is not a black and white story, this is a rainbow story with the rich colors of lives in turmoil. In a word, it is brilliant. If I could rate it higher I would do so.

Read an Excerpt

He needed to make it right. Elsa had misunderstood him. She believed he’d rejected their child and made a mockery of their love. It upset Stanwell that she wouldn’t accept his explanation that he was preoccupied by a cruel government stalking them. And that his immediate concern was for her safety, leaving him little room to truly grasp her good tidings.

So he returned to the way of his people, and prepared for Elsa a love letter—made from primitive colored beads.

Stanwell carefully harvested the beads from a family heirloom, a ceremonial loincloth of his mother’s that she in turn had inherited from her mayi. His mother had thrust the rolled leather apron into his grasp as he set to leave Malawi for the City of Gold, and, with tears in her eyes, had wished him the blessings of his ancestors.

 His message to Elsa would not be in words, but in colors. Stanwell patiently threaded tiny antique beads into a delicate necklace of such intricate design it belied his rugged, workman-like hands.

The beaded chain was predominantly yellow—the color of corn touched by the sun—and signified fertility and wealth. Hanging from the center was the rectangular “love letter”—a chevron of black and white beads trimmed with red and pink. The charcoal-black beads pledged marriage, the ivory white beads promised spiritual love, and the red beads—juicy-red like pomegranate seeds—vowed strong, physical love. But the single tier of pink beads, the color of Elsa’s lips, was the most significant; these shiny little beads declared Stanwell’s commitment to the birth of their child.

⧑⧒

Elsa accepted the uniquely crafted peace offering. She was touched by his handiwork, and the effort and thought he’d put into its creation. Happy tears rolled down her cheeks as Stanwell gently described the significance of each colored bead. At the moment he placed the necklace around her neck, Elsa’s hand reached up for his, and then she turned to face him. Stanwell cupped her face in his hands—a bas-relief in ebony and alabaster—and held her close. No longer doubting his intent, Elsa raised her lips to his. Tenderly they kissed their sorrows away.

Impetuously Stanwell knelt at Elsa’s feet. He placed his lips on her belly and kissed it. Then on his knees he began an earnest conversation with her tummy, whispering away in his mother tongue.

Elsa had never heard him speak the language of his people before. “What were you saying to our child?” she asked.

Stanwell first touched his fingers to his lips and then to hers. “Hush, I was speaking to our son,” he said.

“A son! How do you know it’s a boy?”

“I know,” he said quietly.

Elsa saw the conviction in Stanwell’s face; there was no doubt. She then knew it to be true. A trill of excitement coursed through her body. For the first time it was real; in her belly, created by their love, was their son. A boy destined to become a unique individual, a manifestation of the union of two great heritages, with skin a beautiful coffee hue. Such a child would be incapable of bigotry and tribalism.

“How could the white half of him hate his black half, or vice versa?” Elsa said softly to Stanwell. “He will be our wonderful gift to Africa.”

 As they gently affirmed their belief in each other, all was still except for music that filtered into the room from somewhere in the backyard. It was mesmerizing. The melody and rhythm remained steadfast, yet as the minutes passed, evocative layers of complexity were added. Both Elsa and Stanwell were fond of the recording, and knew it by the name “Mannenburg.”

But the anguished cry of the saxophone soaring over the hypnotic strains of the keyboard meant something else, something hopeful for Elsa and Stanwell. This plaintive masterpiece by Dollar Brand was the birth of a wonderful new sound called Cape Jazz—a fusion of American jazz and local Marabi music from the District Six township—another unconventional, yet fruitful meld of two musical forms and cultural traditions.

⧑⧒

It was dark—probably after midnight. Stanwell was already in motion. Something had alerted him, something rustling by the window. Then the barking started.

Elsa woke. “What is it?” she asked.

“It’s Leo. He’s barking outside our window.”

“Ridgebacks don’t really bark. Something must be wrong.”

Stanwell, about to lunge through the door, stopped in his tracks. A fusillade of snarls and growls had replaced the barking; then a volley of frantic curses, “Jy’s ‘n dood hond ! Jy is ‘n duiwel !” [You’re a dead dog! You are the devil!], filled the night, followed by pounding footsteps and a thud as a body made hard contact with the fence, then he heard the desperate night caller scramble to safety.

Stanwell opened the door. A proud Leo—panting, salivating—stood with a trophy in his jaw. It was the ripped back pocket from a now tattered pair of jeans.

At daybreak, among the churn of muddied footprints they discovered an overstuffed man’s wallet. Inside was the firearm license and driver’s license of a certain Ulrich van Zyl. Elsa and Stanwell recognized the face; it was “Thick,” one of the monsters who’d attempted to rape Elsa in the elevator.

Crass reality had forever invaded their discreet oasis. It was a chilling development. Stanwell hugged Elsa to his chest. Mal Zander’s stooges were closing in. Yet still Stanwell couldn’t bring himself to tell Elsa about his clash with the Security Branch operative. And he hoped he would never have to do so.

Interview with Mark Fine

Angela B. Chrysler: I want to take a moment to welcome Mark Fine, author of THE ZEBRA AFFAIRE available on Amazon: http://bit.ly/ZebraAffaireKindle

Thank you so much for speaking with me, Mark. Please take a moment to tell us about your book. Tell us, how did you come up with the idea for your book?

Mark Fine: Thank you Angela for chatting with me. Though they don’t realize it, I would have to credit my two sons. I have this belief that if a people don’t know their history, they are destined to be forever lost. It was important to me that my sons learned about their African roots from their father; but my personal story isn’t that interesting. So I chose to couch the story from the perspective of far more intriguing characters, that of Elsa (who’s white) and Stanwell (who is black) and their daring romance of the no-no kind. The cruel dynamics of the love-struck couple’s story under the racist regime of then South Africa is all theirs, but the place and time that I inserted them is very much mine.
ABC: Stories always require some form of research. What kind of research did you do for your book?

MF: Besides reference works and letting my fingers stroll through the universe that’s Google, I went on safari. In capturing the romance and exotic location for The Zebra Affaire, I had the privilege of viewing many wild creatures in their natural habitats—a life-affirming experience that I strongly suggest for others. Being in the bush, tracking game (with camera, and not firearm) is not a bookish, academic pursuit, which was a welcome change. The composite of the senses are vital to telling a story that’s authentic. And as the climax of the book is resolved in the African bushveld, what better place to begin the writing process.


ABC: Which scene or chapter was the hardest for you to write?

MF: It’s less about a specific scene, than the challenge of ensuring the reader understood the arcane nature of South Africa’s apartheid rules. Without the reader truly appreciating the jeopardy Elsa and Stanwell faced in that turbulent society, the novel would not have the impact it deserved. So, instead of footnotes or endnotes—both devices that pull the reader away from the narrative, I created what critics have favorably called “anywhere notes.” These I inserted within the context of the story. In the wonderful reviews Zebra has received, these “anywhere notes” have been applauded. Readers now better understand the societal construct of the time, and Elsa and Stanwell’s story became more meaningful, touching and emotional.


ABC: Please describe your favorite scene or chapter in your book and tell us why it’s your favorite?

MF: The challenge was to set the stage for this unlikely union; a white woman and black man falling in love, at great personal risk, in a bigoted apartheid world. I don’t wish to reveal too much, but emergency events surrounding a catastrophe was the vehicle I used. Without a solid foundation to establish their relationship, and at the same time reveal the cruelty of apartheid, well, the novel would not have succeeded so handsomely. Fortunately this establishing scene worked, and as such it has become my favorite.


ABC: Which of your characters, do you relate to the most (or) who is your favorite character and why?

MF: The patriarch in the book, a character known by the initials DGF is certainly my favorite. He holds moral authority, decency and strength in an unkind world. Certainly flawed, but he represents all the honorable and kind people of South Africa who tried to make life easier for discriminated majority. He understood that bigotry was dehumanizing, and worked to make a difference. I’d like to believe that DGF is a reflection of my personal sensibilities.


ABC: I once read that every author is simply a compilation of his/her favorite authors. Which authors have done the most to influence your writing and why?

MF: Always enjoyed substantial books that both entertained and informed. It was such a pleasant way to learn. Without a doubt Herman Wouk, Leon Uris, Ken Follett, and South African authors Wilbur Smith, Andre Brink shaped me. I’d like to add Alan Furst to that list. He’s my current favorite.


ABC: “Story” has always been the center of all human cultures. We need it. We seek it out. We invent it. What does “story” mean to you?

MF: Of course, “story” takes me back to being a child, and the best moments were being read to. I was fortunate that my granny owned a private library in Johannesburg, and she shared with me her joy of the printed page. So many stories, and so many rich memories preserved in my mind.


ABC: Tells us about your next project.

MF: The Zebra Affaire is set in 1976 South Africa. I’m considering remaining in sub-Saharan Africa, and setting my next novel, The Hyena Affaire in 1978 Rhodesia (now known as Zimbabwe). I’m in the process of developing the outline, character profiles, and continuing research. Though my books are set back in time, and on a continent many are unfamiliar; the themes are relevant today, considering the tribal turmoil in the Middle East, as an example.


ABC: Where can we find you and your book?

MF: The Zebra Affaire is available in both paperback and Kindle editions. It can be purchased at Amazon, Barnes & Nobles and other fine retailers. For convenience the Amazon link for the Paperback is:http://bit.ly/ZebraAffaireNovel and the Kindle: http://bit.ly/ZebraAffaireKindle

ABC: Thank you again, so much for speaking with me.

MF: You are welcome, Angela. I enjoyed discussing my work with you.

Connect with Mark Fine

Official Website

Fine Books

Mark’s Blog

Brain to Books Blog Tour – Mark Fine

ALL THE SCOOP on everything THE ZEBRA AFFAIRE’ish. Here, in one place you will get so much info about me (more than my Mum even knows!), such as Author Bio, Read and Excerpt from my Novel, An Informative Interview, Some nice Reviews, and even Links to Websites, Blogs, Book Retailers, et al. My thanks to both Angela B. Chrysler and Elizabeth Newton for making this Brain to Books Blog Tour so Epic!

Between the Beats

Brain to Books Blog Tour

Fast Facts

Author: Mark Fine
Genre: ​Romance / Suspense / Historical Drama​
Books:  The Zebra Affaire: An Apartheid Love Story​ from The Sub-Saharan Saga​

​Bio

Mark Fine (1)​ Mark Fine was born in Johannesburg, South Africa. He has made the United States his home since 1979, living in New York, Minneapolis, and Los Angeles.
For four decades he has worked alongside world famous recording artists. He eventually launched his own award-winning record label, Hammer & Lace, with a mandate to produce benefit albums in support of such causes as breast cancer awareness, at-risk children, and wildlife conservation.
For these philanthropic initiatives Mark was voted by Variety magazine as the “Music Executive with 20/20 Vision.”He has also contributed articles to entertainment industry publications, and conducted public speaking engagements at multimedia events.
​ ​
Now he resides in the South Bay, where he…

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