Author Spotlight: Mark Fine Gets 5 Minutes for Fighting!

Jeremy – Welcome to the Penalty Box, Mark Fine! How are you doing today?

Mark: Fine thanks, or ‘well’ if the intent is not to confuse my state of health with my name.

Speaking about names, Jeremy, we share one—Jeremy. But it’s my middle name. As family legend goes, my mum and her best friend were both pregnant. They both loved the names Jeremy and Mark. So they struck a deal; the first to give birth would get naming rights!  So I became Mark Jeremy Fine, and out there somewhere is a Jeremy Mark…

Jeremy – The name Jeremy is a solid one. As a card carrying member of the Jeremy Club, please allow me to welcome you to the group.

First thing’s first, why don’t you tell everyone a bit about yourself. How did you end up getting suckered into this harsh reality that is “being an author?”

Mark: My true vocation is record industry exec and producer. Been around the music creative process my entire work-life, working with super successful artists. I’ve gone from physically pressing vinyl at the factory, to producing a hit single in a Manhattan studio. However, I never wrote a song…

Source: Author Spotlight: Mark Fine Get 5 Minutes for Fighting!

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 🙂

Untitled design (1)
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

Picture

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

Picture

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 

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/

BOOKS & REVIEWS | Author Spotlight “The Zebra Affaire” by Mark Fine

The Zebra Affaire by Mark Fine

ZebraAffaireRomance FINALGenre – romance/suspense

Description

In the spring of 1976 matters of the heart are strictly controlled by South Africa’s racist doctrines. In that toxic mix of dehumanizing discrimination an unlikely union between a black man and a white woman shocks the nation.

The intimate and emotional love story of Elsa and Stanwell is exposed for all to see as the lovers find themselves in the cross hairs 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. In a narrative that’s intense—vividly authentic, and thought provoking—Elsa and Stanwell’s desperate struggle to remain together takes the reader on a deadly hunt from the golden city of Johannesburg to the dangerous wilds of the African bushveld.

Buy from

Amazon Kindle
Amazon Paperback

Extract

He struggled to get out. Blinded by blood flowing in his eyes, he desperately scrabbled at the door handle. But the door wouldn’t budge. The vehicle’s crushed frame had jammed it tight. Trapped, he attempted to cry for help. It was futile. Except for a gagged gurgle, no discernible sound sprung from his mouth.

Stanwell’s bloodied hands were cramped in the rigor of panic. Having failed in their task to free him, they spasmodically flailed in and out of sight. It was an instinctual sign of life, a frantic signal for attention in a desperate quest for salvation.

Elsa noticed.

Her impulse was to aid the stricken stranger. Noting the lack of damage on the side away from the impact, Elsa chose her course of action well. She forced open the passenger-side door, leaned in, fumbled, then found the lap-seat buckle, decoupled it, grabbed the victim around the midriff, and then hauled with all her might, backing them both out.

Nevertheless, the distressed man was still in jeopardy. His head had taken the full brunt of the impact. Flesh and bone had bent the weathered steering wheel and shattered the windshield. Bloodied sputum from his broken nose and slashed tongue engorged the back of his throat. Despite his failing cognitive senses, Stanwell realized that he was drowning in his own bodily fluids and that there was absolutely nothing he could do about it.

With a simple act of common sense, Elsa saved Stanwell’s life. She turned him on his side. The viscous gore, encrusted with shattered glass pellets, ebbed out of his mouth—to be replaced with lifesaving air.

The relief he sensed was immediate, and his gratitude was complete.

It was no wonder that when he witnessed his savior for the very first time, through blood-infused, heavy-lidded eyes, he appreciated it solely in transcendent terms; a presence was not bound by race, gender, color, or creed.

He peered up, curious, grateful. His head bobbed and weaved as his eyes attempted to focus, a task made more difficult by the halo of the midday sun gleaming behind the silhouetted figure.

Finally all came into focus. Every detail of her face was apparent to him. It was reassuring and friendly. Even with the worrying circumstances, remarkably there appeared to be a cheery gleam emanating from her almond-shaped eyes. Freckles danced across the bridge of her nose and gathered in amorphous clouds on her finely sculpted cheeks. Her lashes were lush and her brows generous, hinting at her apparent Dutch heritage. Smile lines in the corners of her mouth mirrored the luminescence in her eyes.

Her mouth was full, wide, and generous. Her teeth displayed just enough imperfection in their alignment to assure they were genuine. Her nose was not the synthetic ski slope created by a plastic surgeon; rather, it was strong, and with the suggestion of a bump at the bridge, proudly noble.

Her warm honey-toned skin complemented her lustrous, shoulder-length golden tresses—both kissed by the African sun. All this was underscored with a perfectly inscribed jaw line. The only blemish was a fine scar on the cusp of her chin. Her pastel appearance was something most unfamiliar.

About the Author

Mark Fine B&W (300dpi)PrintMark 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.

Follow Mark on Social Media

Website
Blog
Facebook
Goodreads
Twitter @MarkFine_author

Original Blog Source: http://karensbooksandreviews.blogspot.co.uk/2015/10/the-zebra-affaire-by-mark-fine.html

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…

View original post 2,493 more words

BAD KNEES, GOOD BOOK

Or, How my messed up knees contributed to my new vocation as an Author…

It was my MRI, but the mournful expression on the face of the white-coated orthopedic surgeon suggested he was grieving for his own legs. “Bone-on-bone on both knees,” he said. “You have craters where you once had cartilage.”  Now I had an explanation for the excruciating pain that had robbed me of my mobility.

“Okay, doc. What would you suggest I do next?”

1471-2474-11-167-1 (1)

Would you like this bionic cyborg device in your body?

THE BLEAK ALTERNATIVE

Ever so proudly, as if he presenting me with a Grammy award, the surgeon handed me a gleaming replica of the Stryker Scorpio knee replacement system. I took one glance at this bionic, slash cyborg, device—more like a prop from the Terminator  movie franchise—and fled, or more precisely flopped away on my two gimpy knee’d legs.

SHEER TERROR AND A LIMITED UNIVERSE

I was terrified. Knee replacement surgery seemed akin to gross amputation. Why the necessity for this traumatic procedure, twice—on each knee, I wondered? Surely this is a simple patch job; the biological equivalent of filling in a pothole?

With certainty I knew this was something I wouldn’t do, but as I searched for an alternative solution the pain persisted and my universe shrunk. No more tennis, and no more walks on the beach, no more soccer games, no more travelling, and even obligatory visits to the grocery store became too taxing. In fact, only vanity prevented me from applying for a disabled placard to allow me to park my car a few yards from my destination.

Inevitably I resigned myself to a future marooned on my bum. At least my bum didn’t hurt…at least not yet.

1246406328-charcoal_boot_leg

No! This is NOT a picture of MY bum.

So, what’s a poor guy to do stranded all day on his butt? Watch TV? Tried and done that. And then an absurd notion entered my head, “Why not write a book…”

Now I am not a Luddite. I’m well aware that the earth is round and technology is crazy cool. My resistance to bionic knees was not a foolish quest to invalidate the wonders of modern medicine. Quite to the contrary, I admire medicine. But in this instance, to me, “the punishment did not fit crime” and the recommended remedy was far too draconian. Hence I began the first tentative steps into ‘authordom.’ With computer in hand (or hand on mouse) I now used the wonders of modern technology as my primary research tool.

BOOK RESEARCH FULFILLED A QUEST

Bound to a chair I travelled through the universe and the ages; and visited the arcane and cruel laws of South Africa’s apartheid regime (the topic of my book)—without ever leaving my desk. Google and Bing replaced the library and index card system of yore, and brought all knowledge to my desk seemingly at my bidding. And from this foundation of dedicated research, my romantic-suspense, historical novel “The Zebra Affaire” began to take form and reveal its true shape.

ZA Kindle and Paperback Mock up copy

Here’s the obligatory plug of my novel. You are welcome to buy it at Amazon.com and other fine retail outlets. Thank you 🙂

Now we’ve reached the heart of this story; a “circle of life” thing—that still fills me with wonder—kind of happened. You see the book owed its very existence to the plight of my poor knees, and seemingly in a selfless act of gratitude this same book chose to show pity on my knees and reciprocated in kind.

EUREKA! A SOLUTION

One day when researching the specifics of the bloody massacre of black school children during 1976 Soweto Riots—I was suddenly transfixed by the search engine’s seemingly arbitrary highlight of something called stem cell regeneration of knee cartilage. And so I followed these crumbs of information that my grateful book had offered me. Apparently I had finally found the asphalt patch I’d been seeking for my pot-holed knees.

An innovative medical group, a modest two-hour drive from my home, was pioneering the procedure. They instructed me to bring my MRI (which I then pried from the grasp of the protesting orthopedic surgeon) to the initial appointment.

Anxiety skyrocketed. It was vital I qualified for the program. Fortunately both knees did; I experienced a similar euphoria as if my two knees had graduated college magna cum laude.

WHAT KNEES? LIVING PIN CUSHIONS…

Now I will spare you the gory details (as there were none: no scalpel, no chain saws, no staples, and no sutures). But there were lots and lots and lots of needles (and some sedation). It would be fair to describe my needle-sprouting knees as living pin cushions during the meticulous stem cell “seeding” procedure.
IMG_20130812_181025

An intimate portrait of one of my two prickly knees. And yes, it did hurt. I was awake during the process…

MOBILITY RECOVERED AND NOVEL PUBLISHED

Twenty months have come and gone since stem cells harvested from my own body were carefully inserted beneath each knee cap. I used the time well, finishing off my novel, and designing both the front cover and the book’s interior. And as I labored the stem cells did their share of the work.

All now is well! “The Zebra Affaire” continues to receive splendid reviews (76 of them to date, Thank you!) for which I continue to be both humbled and grateful:

I see Pulitizer Prize material here…” readerJeanne Mary Allen

“Intensley dazzling!” Elizabeth Newton, author of “The View from the Sixth Floor”

“Scorching!” Charlie Flowers, author of “Hard Kill”

“If I could, I would give it six stars!” reader Enrico Grafitti

“A masterpiece at All levels…,” Ilana Edelstein, author “The Patron Way”

“A book to savour slowly…I found myself re-reading 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’.

Clearly my pen is well indebted to my long suffering knees! As for my ability to walk—it is now a joy to be fully engaged, zooming about,  speaking at book clubs and book signings—with barely a twinge in either knee.

A little more about me: here

Introducing you to a remarkable woman of Africa, THANDI LUJABE-RANKOE

Introducing you to a remarkable woman, THANDI LUJABE-RANKOE; Freedom fighter, Senior South African Diplomat and Author. 

imgres
Exiled for 33 years during South Africa’s liberation struggle (at the time Nelson Mandela was imprisoned on Robben Island).

Finally, she came in from the cold and President Mandela appointed, now Ambassador Lujabe-Rankoe, as her free nation’s High Commissioner to Botswana, and then Mozambique.

 “Now it is time for justice to be applied to all.”Thandi quote

Needless to say this courageous woman’s kind words regarding  The Zebra Affaire means a great deal to me. She has lived it, and continues to devote her life to the idea that “it is time for justice to be applied to all.”

INTERVIEW by Dave Adair ~ The Zebra Affaire: A Bold and Emotional Look at Interracial Romance in 1970s South Africa

The Zebra Affaire: A Bold and Emotional Look at Interracial Dating in 1970s South Africa.ZebraAffair 750 x 250 Facebook banner copy

Curious about author Mark Fine‘s motivations when writing “The Zebra Affaire”? This new interview conducted by Dave Adair, the author of the stunning litrary thriller, “Random Ludicity” shines further light on South Africa’s apartheid years, the impetus behind Fine’s desire to write the novel, and his first impressions when immigrating to the United States.

CLICK THIS LINK FOR THE FULL INTERVIEW

A MOST UNEXPECTED REVIEW THAT BLEW ME AWAY

Boycott Rhino Poaching copy

The Joy of Receiving Reviews

I’ve been fortunate. My novel, The Zebra Affaire has thankfully enjoyed wonderfulBlank white book w/path early reviews.  Unlike a record album that consumes maybe 50 – 60 minutes of a listener’s time, and quick to formulate an opinion, a book such as mine may take several hours, or more, for a reader to complete. For that reader to then take the additional time to reward my work with a review, well I am both grateful and honored.

Touched a Similar Chord in Most Readers

Not surprisingly, as I wrote the book with the clear intent of shining a light on the inhumanity of racism in apartheid South Africa, most readers responded in a similar ????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????fashion. They were appalled at the plight of the mixed race couple at the heart of the story, a woman and a man caught in a desperate life-or-death struggle against their bigoted government. Their only crime was that they were in love. But a romance such as theirs–across the color divide, was unacceptable according to apartheid’s twisted ideology. Yes, my intention was to tell a hauntingly poignant love story as a reminder that intolerance cannot, and should not, ever be acceptable in the future. Most of the reviewers, as seen by the beautifully expressed quotes shown below, clearly understood my book’s purpose. Most gratifying.

“Using fine strokes, Mark Fine paints a masterful portrait of the trials of blended romance during a period tense with racial discrimination.”

“Elsa and Stanwell play the star-crossed lovers, brought together by circumstance and fallen in love by choice. So many things that lovers take for granted, Elsa and Stanwell long for. Their love story is a strong defiance against the apartheid.”

“You have two characters, from two different worlds, and despite the systems in place to keep them apart, they find each other, their forbidden love blossoming into something truly remarkable.”

The Animals as Support Characters

Not surprisingly then, The Zebra Affaire is about Africa and humans behaving MF Profile copybadly. But it’s also about animals. Be it a personal indulgence (I’ve never felt more vital than on a camera safari in the Southern African bush) and an affinity for the animal kingdom, but the novel is laced with creatures great and small. Some are bush fables illustrating the foibles of men, and at other moments I’m providing eye-witness testimony on the wonder and majesty of the wild game trails.

I confess as I wrote the novel, constructing these animal scenes was second nature to me. I rendered them as authentically as I had experienced them–my memories as a child visiting the Kruger National Park to my last Londolozi safari during the summer of 2006. And as these animals are secondary “characters” in the story, it wasn’t a surprise to me they were overshadowed by the engaging couple, Elsa and Stanwell, and the vile villain Zander in the minds of readers—and as such, seldom mentioned in reviews.

That Unexpected Review: A Game Changer

Then review “number 56” appeared on Amazon. Sure, it was emblazoned with five stars, but in content it was like no other. It was a well-considered rant. Mind you, not against the book. But the writer credits The Zebra Affaire for provoking in her mind a call-to-action on what may well be Africa’s greatest challenge in the 21st Century (and mankind’s most pathetic failing)—the scourge of modern poaching! Let me step aside and let you “listen” to these frustrated words:

“Zebra Affaire got me thinking….
Though apartheid is over, Africa is still in a genocidal struggle~the disgusting slaughter of its precious animals, by poachers! This sickens me. The senseless butchery, all for an ivory trinket or some coward’s libido, ego.

This is a threat way beyond the pain of never seeing a live rhino or majestic elephant walk the earth ever again. These evil thugs, these poachers are destroying us… They gun down the courageous game rangers struggling to protect our animal kingdom.

The blood-money they get from this atrocity only feeds greater atrocities– against humans, because the poachers are cohorts of terrorists, who use ivory to finance their murderous campaigns of fear.”

Then the reviewer proposed an activist remedy:

“This brings me back to “THE ZEBRA AFFAIRE” and why this book is important. It reminded me of the sins of apartheid; but more significant it reminded me how civilized societies destroyed apartheid~by boycotts, sanctions and public protests.

The Anti-Poaching movement must do the same, and in protest march on Chinese embassies everywhere. The greedy financiers and corrupt officials, facilitating this rape of our natural birthright, must be boycotted and shamed!”  [See the full Amazon review here]

Isolated Rhinoceros silhouetted against and African sunrise

Pictures of mutilated Rhinos are far too distressing, so I’ve resorted to using this “STOP RHINO POACHING” image as a Call-To-Action!

I believe we can all agree that this reviewer has an excellent point! Let us fully engage, and choose to wield similar tools that were used to dismantle apartheid: protests, boycotts and sanctions in order to terminate the poaching threat…before it’s too late.