My New Book – Historical Crime Thriller – Black Danube

I have finished a labour of love. It took me months of exhaustive research to be able to write my new novel, Black Danube. I am trying to get an agent/publisher interested in it, so I am prepared for a long slog of pitching and being rejected. I posted some articles about my research a while ago, you can view them here:

https://nicolajmcdonagh.wordpress.com/2019/03/08/forgotten-women-madam-dora-part-one/

https://nicolajmcdonagh.wordpress.com/2018/09/05/the-man-behind-the-mug-shot/

https://nicolajmcdonagh.wordpress.com/2018/09/12/the-inventor-of-crime-scene-photography/

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A bit of blurb 

To escape an abusive marriage Sophia Jäger becomes Leo Katz, a shy young man with a camera walking the streets of Vienna in 1899. Mingling amongst other immigrants, he successfully passes for a journalist and crime photographer until pathologist in training Lucy Strauss becomes the object of his affections.

When a series of macabre killings thrusts them into Vienna’s sordid underbelly of secret societies and corrupt officials, Leo risks revealing his true identity to save an innocent woman accused of the murders. Now, exposed and in mortal danger, Leo struggles with a choice. Should he confide in Lucy, telling her he is a she, hoping Lucy will love the person behind the disguise? Or, should he keep his dark secret, ending their passionate relationship forever?

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Anyway, I thought I’d post an extract from the first chapter. Hope you enjoy it. Please feel free to comment.

Black Danube

I stood on the platform of the Kaiser Franz Josef Railway station in bare feet. I had no luggage or hat. People ambled past taking side-long looks, shaking their heads as if to say, ‘Ah, another penniless immigrant. Vienna is going to the dogs.’

The top two buttons on my dark brown waistcoat popped open. I clutched at my chest, hunched my shoulders, and pulled my gaberdine tight to hide my defective attire. A high-pitched whistle blew and a cloud of light grey smoke surrounded me. Metal wheels scraping along the track screeched so loud I thought I would never hear again. Gradually, the noise faded. I wiped mist left by the steam train from my face and tried to focus. But my eyes were fuzzy as though I had indulged in an excess of alcohol.

I unfastened my stiff shirt collar to let in some air and scuttled to the exit. Once outside I halted in front of the grand pillared entrance. Not daring to move, in case I loosened more buttons on my constrictive garments, I observed the washed out faces of men and women walking along the street. They stared ahead not looking at anything or anyone. I blinked rapidly. They shimmered and faded becoming nothing more than ghost-like figures floating above the raised wooden pavements.

A swirling wind blew the phantoms away. It caught at my coat-tails, whipping them up and down so fast I almost took to the air. I held onto them until the gusts decreased and glanced down the steps. At the bottom lay my black shoes. Heels broken, soles ripped off halfway, they gaped open like the mouths of dying fish.

I stumbled down the stairs and crouched by my broken footwear. Rain pelted my neck and shoulders. I raised my head, and through the rippling water that slid down my lashes, saw gigantic eyes appear in every window of the massive grey station that loomed over me.

Standing quickly, I ran across the road, tripping over the newly installed tram lines. I stepped into a deep puddle, it splashed my trousers with blood-red water. I tore at the stained fabric with my elongated fingernails and ripped the garment from my legs, revealing white bloomers that flapped in the wind like an injured bird trying to take off. I attempted to cover the girlish underwear with my hands, but my fingers turned into dumplings and melted.

‘Kazab!’ Yelled an old flower seller dressed in a voluminous white high-necked blouse and billowing black skirt. Her face was so wrinkled it caught the water that fell in the deep crevices of her cheeks. She grasped a bunch of dead roses, held them before me and shouted louder than before, ‘Kazab!’ I put my hands over my ears but her cry of, ‘Kazab!’ was deafening. My knees buckled, and I fell to the ground. ‘Kazab!’  She screeched the word over and over. It pounded my head like rocks being thrown. ‘Kazab! Kazab!’

They say the truth hurts, and it does, for I am indeed a liar.

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If you want to know more about my books you can visit my website where you can download a FREE copy of Changeling Fog. A short story from The Song of Forgetfulness Sci-fi/Dystopian series.  http://oddlybooks.moonfruit.com/

Or my amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Nicola-McDonagh/e/B00D4NAH0S/

 

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BRAND NEW – AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT

This is my first Author Feature on this blog and it is my great pleasure to introduce the talented author – Y. Correa.

Her Interracial Medieval Romance: MarcoAntonio and Amaryllis  is available to purchase from February 13th. Just in time for Valentines Day.

I have included my review of her novel, which you can read at the end of this Spotlight.

About the author:

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Y. Correa is a proud Hispanic-American mother of four, daughter, teacher, mentor, author, and advocate, among other things. Early on in life Y knew how to multitask and juggle a million and one things. To this day he still doesn’t know how she does it. About 3 years ago, Y embarked on the adventure of her life: she opted to write a book. Though a late bloomer, the task came to her naturally, as if it were something that was hidden in her all of that time.

Today,Y has published several short stories and a hand full of full-length novels and still has many works in progress. Apart from writing,Y realized that there was a need for a strong support group that would unite all authors, of all walks of life. Quickly she realized that life in this industry was difficult and that there was lots of segregation within the literary ranks. Just as quickly she decided that she’d make it her mission to change that. Thus the Self-Published/Indie Authors Support Group was born.

Through time Y realized that the fight she’d embarked on was rather one sided: traditionally published authors needed advocating and support too. With that, the All Authors Support Group was born. Like bees to honey, authors from all walks of life came. From the All Authors Support Group, the All Authors Blog Blitz was born, and like an avalanche, in a series of unexpected events the All Authors Magazine was born.

Today however, Y would like to present to you the launch of her newest full length novel “MarcoAntonio and Amaryllis”

Blurb:

The year 1585. The Anglo-Spanish War. England’s greed for Spain’s crops, land, and supplies gives birth to the inertia of intolerance on both sides. Yet, even then, Love surges forth. MarcoAntonio, a Spanish gentleman and knight, defied all boundaries of color and culture, when setting eyes on the English lady Amaryllis. Although to others, he may be a bit reserved, he dares to lower his defenses solely for her. Amaryllis is an English lady. One with an open heart, gentle spirit, and shining eloquence. She knew that she should not desire MarcoAntonio. Still, a love feeling so right couldn’t be so horribly wrong! Travel with MarcoAntonio and Amaryllis as they duel with internal and external forces threatening to tear their powerful love apart. In the midst of troubles the likes of which have no compare, MarcoAntonio and Amaryllis find themselves having to fight the most unexpected of adversaries, just for the right to love each other. Discover why their LOVE is the result of ALL things conquered!

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Excerpt:

MarcoAntonio’s throat was dry, so he cleared it with merely a scraping hum, and asked only two questions. “Where am I? And who are you?”

“I, my good fellow, am the person that saved your life. I go by the name, Rye,” the voice without a face declared with absolute pride.

Marco only had one thought. Oh, no. A gypsy! Hearing footsteps walking towards him, he sat upright in the bed. There was no hiding the fact that no one trusted gypsies, so Marco prepared himself.

“It appears that you are not much of a talker,” the voice spoke, this time obviously closer than before. From the corner of the bed, MarcoAntonio saw nothing but a hand extend with a cup of water within it. “Here, take it before I change my mind,” Rye spoke with decision. Carefully, Marco reached out for it, and then pulled it to his lips to sip. It wasn’t until then that Rye peered out from behind the bed curtain to stand in front of MarcoAntonio.

He was a puny, tiny, little man, Marco observed. Without a doubt the runt of the litter. His mouth was far too big for his little, scrawny size. After taking the third sip of water, MarcoAntonio said, “You have yet to answer my first question.”

“Ah! Yes, my good sir.” Extending both hands outward to his sides, introducing his surroundings, Rye answered, “This is my humble abode.” Then like a flash, lowered his hand to his waist and took one quick, skipping leap forward. “I saved your life!” Rye said with pride, making it notable that a “thank you” was in order.

MarcoAntonio pondered with a bit of self-contained humor. “Wow! Big deal!” yet verbalized nothing—his poker face, unchanged. With that, Marco set the glass of water on the floor, and stood. His covers fell to the ground and it was only then that he realized that he was completely undressed, yet it meant nothing to him. They were both men. There was nothing showing that they both hadn’t seen before, he was sure.

Rye’s eyes quickly fell to the ground. His face went red, heated with embarrassment. “Would you please put some clothes on?” he demanded. “We gypsies are not the kind to walk around naked before each other.”

Marco marched forward, standing in nothing but his birthday suit, right beside Rye. He asked in a rather monotone note, “Where are my clothes?” Rye, still trying extremely hard to not look at the naked man, merely lifted his hand and pointed to a chair where Marco’s clothes were set, clean, repaired, and dry.

Rye mentioned with inconvenience, “You could have at least warned me first,” a comment that Marco merely ignored and then moved forward to dress

Links:

Facebook Launch Party:

https://www.facebook.com/events/569019483181277/

Facebook Author Page:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Y-Correa/292580497432168?ref=hl

Twitter

https://twitter.com/YCorreaFB

My Review of:  MarcoAntonio and Amaryllis

This is not your average star-crossed lovers saga. The medieval setting and supernatural elements raise this story above the usual period romances. It is action packed throughout and there are some quite erotic sections that will satisfy those with a thirst for something more ‘adult’ in their books.

Some of the descriptions of place and action are tremendous and there is just enough humour, in the form of my favourite character, Rye, (the feisty gypsy sidekick) to keep the narrative alive.

I was particularly taken with the ending. I thought it was beautifully written and very tender. I confess I shed a tear or two.

There are twists and turns and action all the way through this tale. If you like romance and the supernatural, then you will love this book.

I wanted to give this book a 5* review but I thought that there were too many flashback scenes that cut into the action and stilted the wonderful fast-paced narrative. A very minor detail that is just me being pedantic☺
If I could have given 4.85 I would!

So please do support Y. Correa!!!