A New Book–A Year In The Life of Belinda Brand–by Lucinda E. Clarke!

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I am very happy to announce that Lucinda E. Clarke has a new book coming out! Please check out her work and her website and blog!

Lucinda Clarke Book

WRITING TO MARKET

No one told me when I morphed from TV scripting to scribbling books that I should choose a genre and stick with it. Stephen King did it, Wilbur Smith did it and all the other writer ‘household names’ did it.

Lucinda E Clarke didn’t.

Not, because I was being difficult, but because I didn’t know any better. I can’t remember all the topics I wrote and filmed over the decades, from health to housing, to voting, manufacturing, educational subjects, finance, dramas, plays, corporate, council and so on and so on. You name it I’ve written a programme about it, and, that even includes splitting the atom.

I followed the advice I’d heard a hundred times over, ‘Write what you know’. So, I did. I knew Africa, and making movies and writing for a living, along with all the other hair-raising adventures living in 8, or was it 9 different countries?

Memoirs out of the way, I dived in and wrote books that one reviewer called ‘The new, modern Wilbur Smith’.

I scribbled on to write 5 more African books: adventure stories, wild animals, political coups, civil war, bombs and child trafficking, there was never a dull moment for my heroine Amie as she struggled to rescue and survive.

Then I took a step back – I think it had something to do with the argument when I began laying a place for Amie at the dinner table. That, was a step too far.

So, I dreamed up a new character, Leah. I kept her in England and proceeded to torture her in a psychological way. I gave her an abusive husband, a nightmare stepdaughter and a scheming best friend.

To my amazement, A Year in the Life of Leah Brand outsold all my other books and then some.

Why? It dawned on me that I was writing to market. It’s what readers are looking for right now. Psychological thrillers are the flavour of the month. I know this because BookBub have offered to send out a new-release email for me to all their psychological thriller readers for a mere $950.

The other current genre favourite is cosy mysteries, the kind where the heroine bakes cupcakes, rescues kittens from trees  and solves murders where the victims die peacefully, no one bleeds to death, and their limbs aren’t chopped off.

Two more books A Year in the Life of…  followed, and have also been popular, but I have made two more enormous mistakes.

As I began the last chapter of Leah, I still hadn’t decided which person was to blame. Who was the villain? So, I suggested two possibilities. Some readers didn’t like that, so, I’ve now included the beginning of book 2 at the end which should reassure them. Hopefully they will read that far. Now, readers have part of the answer.

Error number two: I made Leah a little too passive, for booklovers who cry out for a kick-ass woman who’ll take on all the men and leave them in a pool of tears clutching a certain part of their anatomy in the middle of the street.

I had emails telling me how much everyone loved Belinda, the sassy, out of control teenager. So now, she has her own adventure in a brand-new book.

Sure, she faces some very unpleasant characters and challenges, but she takes it in her stride, well up to a point that is. I did let her cry when she was buried alive – but then you would, wouldn’t you?

A Year in the Life of Belinda Brand is out this Friday, and along with every book in the series is priced at $/£ 0.99 as times are hard for many of us right now.

Belinda wrote a book during lockdown and it’s become a bestseller, winning a major award to the delight of her agent and publishers. It’s snapped up by Hollywood to be made into a blockbuster film, and she is catapulted into the limelight.

But Belinda has a secret and someone is threatening to tell and not only end her dreams but take her life as well.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08HM5FX3N

LClarkebooks

Lucinda E. Clarke’s webpage

Lucinda E. Clarke’s blog

Amazon author page  author.to/Lucinda

Twitter: @LucindaEClarke 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lucindaeclarke.author

 

 

Another Entry Into The U. L. S. , The Underground Library Society from Robbie Cheadle: A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

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Thank you so much to Roberta Eaton Cheadle for creating another entry into the U. L. S., the Underground Library Society! The U. L. S. is an unofficial group of people who are dedicated to the preservation of books and in complete opposition to censorship. The idea is based on the Book People from Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451.

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Copy of Roberta Writes - independent pub 2 theme.

A Farewell to Arms  

A Farewell to Arms, written by Ernest Hemingway, is a love story set during the Italian campaign of World War 1.  

The story is narrated by the main character, Fredric Henry, an American medic, who joined the Italian Army at the commencement of war in the capacity of a lieutenant in the ambulance corp. The book details the romance between Fredric and an English nurse, Catherine Barkley, but it is equally a story of Fredric’s personal growth from a young man with foolish notions about the purpose and glory of war, misguided notions about manhood, and shallow views on love and romance to a mature man who sees the horror and waste of human life brought about by the war and the value of his relationship with Catherine.  

When we first meet Fredric, he is heavily influenced by the Italian military personnel he is associating with, including his roommate, lieutenant Rinaldi. Many of them spend their free time drinking and visiting brothels and they have a bad reputation among the English nursing fraternity who regard them as womanisers. This is indicated when the head nurse tells Fredric he may visit Catherine after her work shift but not to bring any Italians with him.  

Fredric goes along with the views and attitudes of his peers, in particular, Rinaldi. They are an irreverent crew who mock and ease the Catholic priest who serves with them. Fredric’s better nature is demonstrated early in the book when he is kind and friendly towards the priest and he experiences feelings of guilt for not visiting the priest’s hometown during his leave. Instead, he had spent his time visiting bars and brothels. The reader sees in Fredric the potential for him to develop into a better man.  

Fredric meets Catherine through his friend, Rinaldi, and is attracted to her. Initially, she is a game to him, but as time passes and he gets to know her better, he is influenced by her more mature attitudes and starts becoming steadier and more reliable. When he is seriously injured and is transferred to a hospital in Milan for surgery and treatment, he asks for Catherine to nurse him.  

This is the beginning of the great romance that develops between the two and changes the course of both of their lives. Fredric’s injury and the loss of some of his men during the attack matures him and makes him more aware of the fragility of life and love.  

Themes in A Farewell to Arms  

A Farewell to Arms has a number of themes which I have set out below with an appropriate quote form the book.  

War  

“War is not won by victory. What if we take San Gabriele? What if we take the Carso and Monfalcone and Trieste? Where are we then? Did you see all the far mountains today? Do you think we could take all them too? Only if the Austrians stop fighting. One side must stop fighting. Why don’t we stop fighting? If they come down into Italy they will get tired and go away. They have their own country. But no, instead there is a war.”  

Reality versus Fantasy  

“… I remember having a silly idea he might come to the hospital where I was. With a sabre cut, I suppose, and a bandage around his head. Or shot through the shoulder. Something picturesque.”  

“This is the picturesque front,” I said.  

“Yes,” she said. “People can’t realise what France is like. If they did, it couldn’t all go away. He didn’t have a sabre cut. They blew him all to bits.”  

Love and Loss  

“I’m afraid we have to start to go.”  

“All right, darling.”  

“I hate to leave our fine house.”  

“So do I.”  

“But we have to go.”  

“All right. But we’re never settled in our home very long.”  

“We will be.”  

“I’ll have a fine home for you when you come back.”  

Self versus Duty  

“You saw emptily, lying on your stomach, having been present when one army moved back and another came forward. You had lost your cars and your men as a floorwalker loses the stock of his department in a fire. There was, however, no insurance. You were out of it now. You had no more obligation. If they shot floorwalkers after a fire the in the department store because they spoke with an accent they had always had, then certainly the floorwalkers would not be expected to return when the store opened again for business.”  

Manhood  

“The Italians didn’t want women so near the front. So we’re all on very special behaviour. We don’t go out.”  

And  

“I can’t stand him,” Ferguson said. “He’s done nothing but ruin you with his sneaking Italian tricks. Americans are worse than Italians.”  

Religion  

“The saint hung down on the outside of my uniform and I undid the throat of my tunic, unbuttoned the shirt collar and dropped him in under the shirt.”  

And  

“You understand, but you do not love God.”  

“No.”  

“You do not love Him at all?” he asked.  

“I am afraid of Him in the night sometimes.”  

“You should love Him.”  

“I do not love much.”  

Why should A Farewell to Arms be preserved?  

Hemingway’s purpose with this book was to demonstrate the despite the glamour of war and the perceived honour of dying for your country, war is not a worthwhile undertaking. The war setting with its horror, death, and destruction is a contrasted with the wonder of love.  

There are some flaws with this book. I found Catherine to be a bit unrealistic with some of her comments and behaviour, but Hemingway’s amazing writing still pulled me in, and I loved this story. I dwelled on the ending for a long time after reading the last page.  

robbie

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Please be sure to visit Robbie at her wonderful blogs:

Robbie Cheadle Books/Poems/Reviews

Robbie’s inspriation

Thank you again to Robbie Cheadle for this post!

The Continuing Call To Join The U.L.S. — The Underground Library Society

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I am again asking for those who would like to join the U.L.S., the Underground Library Society, to join and write a guest post. I put this request out several times over the course of a year, because I hope to have more people join in the cause.

In an earlier First Year Class at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA, The U.L.S. — The Underground Library Society — was created. It is in the spirit of the Book People from Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. In that novel, all books have been banned, and a few people “become” books by memorizing them, in the hope that, one day, books will be permitted to exist again.

In that spirit, I am putting out the call once more for like-minded people to join The U.L.S. All that is needed is to choose a book you would memorize if the need ever arose. The type or genre of the chosen piece does not matter.  There is no restriction on what you would become. You do not, however, actually have to memorize  the book now. If you wish to join, simply write a guest post in which you say what book you would “become” and why.

I have had several other bloggers join the U. L. S. Join the movement!

I hope many of you choose to join.

If you are a member and wish to add another book that you might become, you are welcome to do another post!

In the past, I have mentioned that I would become one of the following books: The Lord Of The Rings, by J. R. R. Tolkien, Hamlet, by William Shakespeare, or Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.

If you do wish to do a post, please email me at frenchc1955@yahoo.com  and write a guest post as a Word doc. Thank you.

Charles F. French

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I am looking forward to hearing from new members!

Please, come and join in the fun!

April Self-Promotion Party!

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It’s Spring, and weather has become warmer, plants are beginning to grow, and trees and starting to bud.

This is also a good time to do some unashamed self-promotion!

Tell us about your book(s)!

Leave links and images.

Shout to the world about your work!

You are writers–be proud of what you make.

So as many as possible can see your work, please like, tweet, and reblog this post!

 

Available on Amazon

GetthedraftdonepossEbookcover!-page-001

Get The Draft Done! is available here: Amazon.com

GallowsHillFinalCoverEbook

Gallows Hill can be found here in ebook.

Gallows Hill in paperback can be found here.

An interview about Gallows Hill can be found here.

32570160

Please follow the following links to find my novel:

ebook

Print book

Thank you!

The book trailer:

Maledicus:Investigative Paranormal Society Book I

My radio interview:

interview

coverIPScookbook

Available on Amazon

French On English

Available on Amazon

Revisiting Characters From My First Novel, Maledicus: The Investigative Paranormal Society, Book 1 by Charles F. French

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This entry is one of several posts I wrote about some of the characters in my first novel. I hope you enjoy it.

Roosevelt Theodore Franklin, the protagonist of my supernatural horror thriller Maledicus: The Investigative Paranormal Society Book I, is a retired History professor, living in Bethberg, a small town in northeastern Pennsylvania. He is a deeply complex man, influenced by, among other things, his service in the Vietnam War and the profound and loving marriage with his now deceased wife.

Roosevelt has several deep enjoyments in life—eating, drinking good whisky, especially single malt Scotch, and smoking high level cigars, but his primary passion in life is books. A visitor to his home would notice, more than anything else, the enormous number of bookcases lining many of the walls in his house. Roosevelt’s home is an old Victorian home that he and his wife Sarah had purchased and renovated shortly after their marriage.

While she did have a large room dedicated to being her art studio, an avocation she loved, even while being a surgeon, and Roosevelt had a large room that was his studio, smoking room and library, other rooms also were filled with books of many kinds and conditions. Roosevelt, although a man of financial means, is not a book collector. He believes that books should be read and not simply owned to be put on display. He thinks that the words in a piece are what make the book important, not a fine leather cover or being a first edition. He places worth on the ideas, the stories, the tales, the histories, and the communications in books and not their potential monetary value.

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At one point, he tried to make a calculated estimate of how many books he owned, but he decided it was an almost impossible task, so he stopped the tally when he reached 4000. And no matter how many books he owns, he seems to always find more to buy. Again, he is not a snob when it comes to the owning of books. His snobbery emerges when it comes to whiskey and cigars.

More on that later.

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Available on Amazon

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Get The Draft Done! is available here: Amazon.com

GallowsHillFinalCoverEbook

 

Gallows Hill can be found here in ebook.

Gallows Hill in paperback can be found here.

An interview about Gallows Hill can be found here.

 

32570160

Please follow the following links to find my novel:

ebook

Print book

Thank you!

The book trailer:

Maledicus:Investigative Paranormal Society Book I

My radio interview:

interview

coverIPScookbook

Available on Amazon

French On English

Available on Amazon

 

Why Do Writers Write?

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Why do I write?

I was asked this question several times over the last couple of years, often at writing conferences or by other writers online or by those who have read my books. I was thinking about it, and my answer is deceptively simple: I write because I have stories to tell, characters to give life to, and because I love books.

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I believe in the power of words to communicate between the author and the readers as I believe in the connection of human beings. All stories, no matter the genre, speak to that connection. I remain an eternal optimist and see writing as an expression of that hope. I see the journey into the imagination as creating not only places of wonder but possibilities for the growth of empathy and compassion. I see writing as a way to question society as well as to show its strengths. Mostly though, I am able to tell the stories I have within me.
 

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So here is my question to anyone who might wish to answer: why do you write?

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Available on Amazon

GetthedraftdonepossEbookcover!-page-001

Get The Draft Done! is available here: Amazon.com

GallowsHillFinalCoverEbook

 

Gallows Hill can be found here in ebook.

Gallows Hill in paperback can be found here.

An interview about Gallows Hill can be found here.

 

32570160

Please follow the following links to find my novel:

ebook

Print book

Thank you!

The book trailer:

Maledicus:Investigative Paranormal Society Book I

My radio interview:

interview

coverIPScookbook

Available on Amazon

French On English

Available on Amazon

Quotations on First Drafts

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Here are a few quotations about creating first drafts to inspire all of us to keep writing:

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“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” 

                                                               Mark Twain

jodipicoult

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“You might not write well every day, but you can always edit a bad page.

   You can’t edit a blank page.”

                                                                 Jodi Picoult

William_Faulkner

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“Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it’s the only way you can do anything really good.”

                                                                      William Faulkner.

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“You can do it. You can write that first draft, so that you can go on to the act of revision. But the first draft must be completed before you can achieve your finished book, and you can do it. ”

(Get The Draft Done: Helping Writers Finish Their First Draft” Charles F. French)

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A New Review of Maledicus: The Investigative Paranormal Society, Book 1

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Maledicus

A Fresh Look At The Good Vs. Evil Story

There will never be a shortage of horror novels, both good and bad. Author Charles F. French enters the fray with his premiere offering, Maledicus, that thankfully falls into the former category. French has concocted a clever and intriguing tale of a very old evil spirit, who once lived life in Ancient Rome as Lucius Antony Caius (aka Maledicus). In present day, a trio of retired friends who have also lost loved ones, have formed a group called the Investigative Paranormal Society (IPS) partly as a way to cope with their grief, and also to stave off the boredom of retirement. Their leader is Roosevelt Franklin, the widower in the group, and as staunchly sound and American as his name implies. While these men investigate paranormal activities as a sort of hobby, their paths inevitably cross with that of the titular Roman spirit in a classic battle of good vs. evil. While this tale has been told innumerable times, French brings some fresh perspective to the subject. One can also see the influence of the master of this genre, Stephen King, but, fortunately, French manages to find his own voice in a straightforward style of the writing that fully engages the reader. He cleverly uses a back-and-forth structure in the chapters as the two adversaries work toward their anticipated confrontation. As a first effort, French has delivered a first-rate thriller, and established himself in the horror genre as a genuinely original storyteller with an excellent command of plotting and narrative. There are two more volumes in the IPS series, and I look forward to reading them both.

Available on Amazon

GetthedraftdonepossEbookcover!-page-001

Get The Draft Done! is available here: Amazon.com

GallowsHillFinalCoverEbook

 

Gallows Hill can be found here in ebook.

Gallows Hill in paperback can be found here.

An interview about Gallows Hill can be found here.

 

32570160

Please follow the following links to find my novel:

ebook

Print book

Thank you!

The book trailer:

Maledicus:Investigative Paranormal Society Book I

My radio interview:

interview

coverIPScookbook

Available on Amazon

French On English

Available on Amazon

A Promotion Post For Chris Hall: Chatting With My Characters

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Chatting with my characters

My characters often chat with me, usually in that sleepless hour between three and four in the morning, when they worm their way into my consciousness and strike up a conversation. Some of the principal players from my second novel, You’ll Never Walk Alone, are the most insistent. This recent conversation went the way they usually do, starting with a few flattering comments and then… well, you’ll see.

~~~

I’m sitting with Connor and Cynthia in the patch of garden behind Cynthia’s flat. It’s late summer and bees are buzzing lazily around the neglected rosebushes, echoing the hum of the traffic circling Sefton Park.

Connor fills our glasses and places the almost empty bottle on the peeling wrought iron table. He sits back,  takes a large mouthful of wine and beams at me. ‘I believe congratulations are in order, once again, Ms Hall.’

Cynthia winks at me. ‘Connor was rather interested to discover you’d branched out from writing novels to penning poetry.’

‘Being a poet myself, with several slim volumes of published work under my belt, I feel an even greater empathy with you, my dear,’ says Connor. ‘I’m looking forward to reading your contribution, indeed, I’m looking forward to reading all the work in this new anthology. What’s it called again?’

‘It’s called Creation and the Cosmos, isn’t it darling,’ says Cynthia, patting my arm. ‘We saw a picture of the cover. Beautiful! Like you could lose yourself among the stars.’ Cynthia throws out her arms in a theatrical gesture.

‘And hot on the heels of your latest novel, too!’ Connor picks up the wine bottle and tops up his glass. ‘We thought it was rather good, didn’t we, old thing?

Cynthia winces at the sobriquet. She turns to me. ‘Song of the Sea Goddess, such a lovely story, darling. Such colourful characters. I especially liked your Professor and his little monkey, and I do like the way your writing is developing, only…’ she fiddles with the stem of her glass.

Here it comes.

I pick up my glass and take a generous sip to fortify myself, savouring the taste of the cheap but pleasant Bulgarian Cabernet Sauvignon which, as always, throws me right back into the early 1980s.

Cynthia continues. ‘We know that you’re busy with the sequel to Sea Goddess, but there have been some recent …’ she makes air quotes with her elegant fingers ‘…developments here. Worrying ones.’ She glances over at Connor.

Connor returns his glass to the table and leans forward on his elbows, hands clasped. ‘I really wouldn’t like to say too much, Ms Hall; potential spoilers for your readers and all that. But would it be too much to ask for you to start giving some proper thought to our sequel?’

~~~

Creation and the Cosmos, edited by tara caribou and featuring poetry and artwork by 32 writers and artists will be released on 23rd March 2021. Available from:

lulu

Barnes & Noble

Amazon

Kindle

 

Song of the Sea Goddess is on Amazon: USA – UK – IND – AUS – CAN – ESP – Rest of the World
Or download from kobo

Catch up with Cynthia, Connor and the rest of the gang in You’ll Never Walk Alone through Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Youll-Never-Walk-Alone-Chris/dp/1797875809

 

Chris’s other books are also available on Amazon. Find the links via her website, Luna’s online: www.lunasonline.wordpress.com/books/

 

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Torn Between Worlds by Nancy Blodgett Klein: A Guest Post

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This post by Nancy Blodgett Klein is the first of the guest posts on my blog by authors promoting their books.

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My book is called Torn Between Worlds: An illegal immigrant’s journey to find herself.

This is the story of Isabel, a 12-year-old Mexican girl who comes to the United States illegally in search of a better life with her father. A story common to many Mexicans. She has to leave her mother behind and this makes her sad. People demand she speak English, a language she doesn’t know well. She doesn’t feel welcome living with her uncle and his family and is very lonely. How will she cope?

Her kind sixth-grade teacher suggests Isabel keep a journal, where she can pour out the feelings she used to share with her mother. She encourages her to take home the newspaper to read to improve her English and learn about world events and politics. Isabel is horrified by the events that take place on September 11, 2001 in the US, witnesses a political demonstration in Oaxaca, Mexico where people are killed, and is forced to flee to Madrid, Spain to keep her and her mother safe from harm. Will all this chaos prevent Isabel from finding a way to feel connected to the world around her?

This coming-of-age story is written in journal format, spanning three years and three countries. Follow Isabel as she grows from innocent child into confident young woman through turbulent times.

I used to be a bilingual teacher to many Mexican students, including some immigrants who had crossed the border illegally with one or both parents. When I was a teacher, I noticed there were very few books that told the story of these students so I felt compelled to write this novel for them. It is geared towards young adults between the ages of 12 to 18. However, adults have read this book and  enjoyed it. Published in February, the book currently has five reviews on Goodreads and all of them are five stars! https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/56912602-torn-between-worlds

Here are three of them.

  1. I love reading stories written in journal format as you really get to know the main character. Young people especially are very honest about their feelings and thoughts when writing in their journal. The author has done a great job of writing from the point of view of a young illegal immigrant girl sharing her innermost thoughts as she deals with trying to fit in, a new language and frightening current events. Isabel is living in the United States at the time of the 911 attacks. A scary time for all young people but even more so for immigrant children. She documents her fears, joys, ideas and hopes as she moves between Mexico, the US, and Spain. We learn about her friends, her first kiss and how she deals with her parents failing marriage. Growing up is never easy, but for Isabelle, it’s especially difficult. I highly recommend this book.
  • Torn Between Worlds tells the story of a Mexican girl who leaves her homeland to live in the United States and Spain. Told in journal entries, the girl’s story pivots around the economic and political realities that necessitate her moves. She must adapt to different lifestyles and languages as she grows into young womanhood. Her strength and insightfulness make her a heroine girls can look up to.
  • I loved this very unusual story. Spanning three countries, very informative. I most enjoyed the latter part, where there was so much history of Spain and its heritage.

It can be ordered on Amazon.com by clicking this link. Available in paperback and as an e-book. https://www.amazon.com/Torn-Between-Worlds-illegal-immigrants-ebook/dp/B08QZRTRSS.

About the Author

Nancy Blodgett

Nancy Blodgett Klein worked as a journalist as well as a magazine editor in the Chicagoland area for much of her career after receiving a Master’s degree in Journalism from Boston University. Later on, she went back to college and earned a Master’s degree from Roosevelt University in Education. Then she worked as a public school teacher for 12 years. This included eight years as a bilingual teacher to mostly Mexican students. In 2016, she retired to Spain with her husband Rick Klein. They are the proud parents of two adult sons named Alex and Andy. While living in Spain, Nancy keeps busy with yoga, singing in a choir, volunteering in a charity shop for hospice patients’ care and participating in a writers’ group and three book groups. She also writes a blog covering a wide variety of topics called spainwriter.home.blog.