Saturday, December 6, 2014

The Romans are Coming, The Romans are Coming

Long before the Russians were thus feared, a like warning echoed throughout the ancient world – everyone ran and hid. Except a Macedonian youth who himself then went on to conquer his known world. This is NOT his story.

Instead, Author Andrew Levkoff gives us a hitherto unknown namesake, The Other Alexander. Book 1 of Levkoff’s The Bow of Heaven Trilogy deals with Alexandros of Elateia, a young slave, his liege and master, the powerful Crassus of Rome. When Crassus becomes blinded by a desire for revenge, both owner and owned become slaves to a destiny that will topple the foundations of the Republic.


This from the author himself:

First things first.
Thank you, Inge, for helping to launch the completion of The Bow of Heaven trilogy. You’ve made me blush more than once.
(Now, he makes me blush)

“It is laughable how often good manners interfere with my survival.” So says Alexandros, the 85 year-old narrator of The Bow of Heaven, looking back on 30 years of slavery, bound to the richest man in Rome. I began writing the series in 2004, inspired by Ridley Scott’s “Gladiator”. Guess I got sidetracked, because in all the 1,400 pages of the trilogy, not one of the major characters ever suits up in the arena. I wanted to investigate the bad rap I believe Marcus Crassus has gotten from historians, but I soon became fascinated by the complex relationship between master and slave.

* * *
Andrew Levkoff came to my attention as both our books were shortlisted by the Historical Novel Society for the 2014 Best Historical Fiction Award; in essence, we were competing for the same coveted prize. Alas, both being left standing at the altar (or “honored to be a bridesmaid,” as Andrew put it afterwards), I took a closer look at his writing and realized just how tough competition had been (see my previous article on Helen Hollick, a staunch supporter of the Indie Writer – and a prolific author herself).



A Mixture of Madness is Book 2 of this Roman trilogy.


Selfishly, I picked Andrew’s brain trying to glean some pointers from this master of Historical Fiction:

People have asked, “Is writing fun?” For me, it’s about 20% inspiration, 80% perspiration. Breaking it down another way, it’s 90% thinking, 10% typing. (I do a lot of pacing.) But those few moments when a character surprises me, or I solve a thorny plot problem (this usually happens in the shower), make it all worthwhile.

I’ll be recording A Mixture of Madness as an audiobook. I don’t have a studio, and the only room in my home quiet enough for recording is my clothes closet. The sacrifices we make for art!

The Other Alexander is available to listen to here. That’s not my voice, but Andrew Randall reading. If he sounds familiar, it’s because he is the voice of the Geico gecko. Yes, folks, my book is being read by a lizard. And a fine job he did, too.

Andrew shares his next project with us (you heard it here first): 

After I come back out of the closet, so to speak, I’ll be publishing a prequel to the series:  Melyaket, a Tale of Ancient Parthia.







And now to the most exciting part:

December 6 is the launch of Book 3:

BLOOD OF EAGLES

(don't you just love these covers?)





Thank you, readers of Inge’s blog, for spending some time with me today. If you have any questions or comments, you can reach me from the website, www.andrewlevkoff.com

***
Andrew’s writings are available in various e-formats, in print and as audio books.

Andrew Levkoff Author Pages:

Books On Amazon:

Also check out his most interesting blog at http://www.andrewlevkoff.com/blog/ (note, the man does have a good sense of humor), and do watch the beautiful trailer as well. You may just want to fly to Rome and tread those ancient paths yourself.
In the meantime, the very next best thing is to start reading The Bow of Heaven Trilogy.


PSST!

The Other Alexander will be FREE December 8-10

Mark your Calendars for this author's gift to you.



Thursday, November 20, 2014

I've Gone Underground

Want to "get a piece of me?" Read the interview of yours truly by Underground Book Reviews Author and Co-Founder Brian Braden. He asked some interesting questions I almost had a tough time to answer. Of course, I enjoyed spouting off and much appreciated the opportunity to have my books highlighted on this reputable and Indie-supportive site.

You can read the entire interview here:
http://www.undergroundbookreviews.com/magazine/author-spotlight-inge-h-borg

 






You may also want to check out Brian's own Author Page on Amazon.
Black Sea Gods, 
is an amazing book, and so is the sequel:
Tears of the Dead


Saturday, November 8, 2014

25 Years Ago - A Wall Came Tumbling Down

Today's NBC news:


Berlin Wall Anniversary: Gorbachev Says a New Cold War Could Happen
(How scary is that?)


West Berliners peer through the Berlin Wall into the Eastern sector near Checkpoint Charlie on October 3, 1966.
(Picture: NBC News)

I may bore some of you as I had posted my poem about a divided Berlin only a month ago. If this bores you, I am glad for you - because then you have never had to experience the pain, the anguish, the suffering of being separated from your loved ones by an ideology, by armed guards, by a wall.

Think about it--and be grateful to live in a democracy; for it could all change overnight, you know.


Peace: War's Abandoned Grave

From its cache’d acorn womb
the seedling sprouts through pungent moss,
soon greened by a rambunctious spring’s exuberance.
The Westwind, taking pity, laughs and heaves
and trembles off the would-be devourer of tender leaves.

The sapling climbs toward the tranquil summer sky,
shading the meadow by the river,
until the Eastwind, cold and blustery,
defeats the balmy climes
and heralds in this city’s soon-to-come hart-breaking times.

Branches at half-mast, the tree holds silent vigil
against the rapings by lust-driven Ural-hordes.
Its meadow barren, flowers vanquished under iron treads,
the oak, denuded in the smoke-veiled morn’,
breathes acrid mist from the River Spree, forlorn.

Amber tears drip from the tree’s strafed bark
as the proud city, quartered by its raucous victors,
writhes in shredded ruin, a graveyard of the living dead.
A people torn apart, despaired,
as brother now must fear the brother whom war had spared.

A saw’s rasping bite takes hold;
the last tree topples at the cusp of dawn.
The oak’s green planks strain vainly toward freedom
from deep within the cursed Wall.
A fire-blackened church accuses, a grim reminder to them all.

The pendulum of time reverses.
Survivors hail their former foe.
To these living dead, abandoning their graves of war,
as if he were a citizen, but keener,
a young world leader avows peace with:
Ich bin ein Berliner!
* * *
(Excerpt from Moments of the Heart)



Wednesday, November 5, 2014

SIROCCO - First Time FREE

For a time, I am making an electronic copy of my SIROCCO, Storm over Land and Sea
(regular price $3.99) free on Amazon, B&N Nook, Kobo, and ITunes. If you need an epub or PDF, you can check it out on Smashwords (see links to my author pages below).

I think you will enjoy this second book in my Legends of the Winged Scarab series; while it stands alone as a modern-day archaeological thriller, you might then also like Books 1 and 3.

As always, a review would be greatly appreciated, but even a download will help. We writers work hard and heavily depend on visibility through reader reviews and the dreaded ratings for our works to be found by reader searches. And, please, tell your friends.

Also check out (also FREE) Edward and his machinations; before this bad boy becomes really dangerous in Sirocco.



http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/Search?Query=Inge%20H.%20Borg

I really appreciate the interest and downloads as I have never been #1 on Amazon-anything...so I am thrilled even if it is in two FREE sub-categories (of course, if it would be in the 'paid' column, that would be truly grand).

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #185 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
#1 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Action & Adventure > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Mystery
#1 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Action & Adventure > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Suspense

Of course, this changes by the hour...still, I'll wallow in vainglory as long as the glow lasts.

First Review from Free Download:
"An artful blending of greed, passion, ancient Egyptian antiquities, crosses and double crosses makes this a genuine page turner. Enjoy this intriguing read."

Thank you, and keep them coming.


Thursday, October 30, 2014

Diana Wilder goes South

Here is another superb writer of Ancient Egyptian fiction who went “South.” If this is a trend, it definitely is a worthy one, although Diana Wilder’s Egypt is something to behold.

While you are at it, don’t miss checking out The Memphis Cyclea four-volume saga set in New Kingdom Egypt after the time of Akhenaten—fascinating (and there is the promise of a fifth, Kadesh).



But, back to Diana and the American South:
(Here, Diana’s website has great background information)


Imagine Paris in the 1830's. If you can’t do so readily, Wilder’s colorful descriptions will carry you along as if you were there, listening for echoes of Napoleon's France, light, darkness, splendor and poverty, all blending into a stunning tapestry that is The Orphan's Tale.


Diana’s interest in the American South began when she wrote a story some years ago, then put it aside. Lately, and luckily, she retrieved and polished it until it became a story of hope, courage and love set in 1864 Georgia, told so beautifully in


If this hasn’t wet your whistle for some great reading, I don’t know what will. And, as always with Diana, she has two more Southern tales in store. Now, go check out Diana’s author page(s):



You know, this is where you can buy her books for Kindle as well as in print; and when you do and after you read them, please let her know how much you appreciate her talent, time and dedication to research – by leaving a nice review.


Of course you can, nay, must be honest; we wouldn’t have it any other way. Writers don’t mind working hard, getting up in the middle of the night to jot down that perfect turn of a phrase; we don’t even mind starving for our passion and craft – but, oh, how we do appreciate a reaction to all our sweat and tears (true-sometimes) from our readers.


Monday, October 27, 2014

In Between - A Little Shameless Self-Promo


http://ascribeme.com/



The kind folks behind this new site champion independent and self-published books. But they are picky-picky in order to present only the best to their readers. So allow me to crow just a little about the inclusion of KHAMSIN (and I promise, I won't put my happy-dance on YouTube...not that I would know how to, anyway).

Just knew you were dying to know...

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Review of Tidewater: A Novel of Pocahontas and the Jamestown Colony, by Libbie Hawker

In August, I featured the launching of Tidewater: A Novel of Pocahontas and the Jamestown Colony, by Libbie Hawker on this blog. 

I was fascinated that this fellow-writer of Ancient Egyptian history had not only changed to a different pen name, but had ‘come home,’ so to speak. With the haunting cover of a girl named Mischief (Pocahontas), I thought my interest with it was done.

Until I started reading the book. As a discerning reader, Tidewater took my breath away; as a writer, it left me humbled. Language is our extraordinary ability so often squandered and defiled these days. With Tidewater, Libbie Hawker has restored this precious gift to her readers. Those who might shy away from the word “lyrical” will sadly be missing out. There are a number of similes and at some time, I wondered if they would become a detractor; but soon, just like "Il Postino" craving the poet Pablo Neruda's metaphors, I savored the trompe l'oeil Hawker created for my mind.

We can be thankful that this—true, quite long—novel is self-published. I shudder to think that a publisher, eager to adhere to production-hemmed constraints, would have slashed and burned much of the descriptive and, yes, lyrical passages. It would still have been a terrific story; but it would have lost its soul. Of course, Libbie Hawker is no newcomer to writing. Under the pen name of Lavender Ironside, her historical fiction set in Ancient Egypt is highly successful.

Back to Tidewater: I am not prone to gushing. But this is by far one of the most beautiful, expressive novels I have read in quite a while. As I said, it is long; it demands care and attention. But the reward is deep involvement, from the natural settings to the people’s lives. You can feel the icy wind bite into bare skin, smell the last frozen berries being harvested, and sense dark eyes ghosting through the underbrush.

The clash of two cultures is insidious at first, ebbing back and forth like the sea washing into the mouth of the tidewater; its mudflats sucking at careless intruders. Timorous trading, bold demands, arrogance and unequal battles finally seal the fate of this New World. Caught up in it, through young curiosity and an inane desire to be recognized by her elders, is the girl-child aptly-named Mischief: Pocahontas.

As the well-adapted ‘Naturals’ and the befuddled English settlers continue to struggle against nature and each other, their survival becomes the focal point of the novel. Without unnecessary gore or heroics, you are placed squarely into the middle of the conflict, rooting for one then the other, wishing that none of it should have to be. Both sides need to stay true to their own culture. It was the only way they knew; their only way to live; their only way to die.


Tidewater is a novel I shall read again, if not solely for its story then for the enjoyment of its writing. As both are fused into this masterful novel, I will find new insights. I cannot recommend Tidewater highly enough. It is truly an outstanding example of the best writing there is.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Behind the Lime Kilns, Poems 2, by Jim Bennett

Almost a year ago, on November 28, 2013, I featured the Canadian poet Jim Bennett, and then began to read and review his work. For some reason, I read his volumes in reverse order from Poems 5 downward (possibly my pithy nod to controversy).
Now, that I arrived at Behind the Lime Kilns, Poems 2, I realize how much had changed over the course of this journey. Regressing, as you will, I find this earlier work gentler, albeit still suggestive–whereas the later volumes show a decidedly harsher side of dreams, of life itself.
What made this poet shed his inhibition? What emboldened him to share? Whatever it was, it works for Bennett and his poetry.

In his foreword to Behind the Lime Kilns, Poems 2, Bennett states: “Poetry is about Truth.”
Indeed. Plus, I think, it is about feelings, and awe; the awe I feel when I come across true poetry. Not words that rhyme in silly cadence, spouting mundane happenings (we’ve all done that); but poems that throng about your very soul, rattle your conscience, stab at your heart. Such is the poetry of Jim Bennett.
Origami, the first poem in Behind the Lime Kilns, is—to those who know, or those who have refused to forget—deliciously suggestive in its simplicity (and this poet definitely has not forgotten). Power Hits indeed hits hard those who are alone, whereas Keyboard and Toothsome Wishes lifts the corner on a bit of wicked humor as, at last, the theme poem Behind the Lime Kilns causes you to breath, “Oh, no.”

Jim Bennett’s later books may be more demanding, more sophisticated if you will, but all five volumes should go down in the annals of True Poetry. More importantly, they should be read, and savored, to make you feel that “Poetry is about Truth.”


Jim Bennett’s poetry books can be found at Amazon

Print versions are available from the Lulu Store in paperback and as e-pubs:

I urge you to visit Jim Bennett’s website where you will find some great images and also a few interesting observations about life in today’s Canada.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Slowly Vanishing - From View, From Memory?

Sold, Defaced or Bulldozed, the Berlin Wall is slowly Vanishing



Peace: War’s Abandoned Grave


From its cache’d acorn womb
the seedling sprouts through pungent moss,
soon greened by a rambunctious spring’s exuberance.
The Westwind, taking pity, laughs and heaves
and trembles off the would-be devourer of tender leaves.

The sapling climbs toward the tranquil summer sky,
shading the meadow by the river,
until the Eastwind, cold and blustery,
defeats the balmy climes
and heralds in this city’s soon-to-come hart-breaking times.

Branches at half-mast, the tree holds silent vigil
against the rapings by lust-driven Ural-hordes.
Its meadow barren, flowers vanquished under iron treads,
the oak, denuded in the smoke-veiled morn’,
breathes acrid mist from the River Spree, forlorn.

Amber tears drip from the tree’s strafed bark
as the proud city, quartered by its raucous victors,
writhes in shredded ruin, a graveyard of the living dead.
A people torn apart, despaired,
as brother now must fear the brother whom war had spared.

A saw’s rasping bite takes hold;
the last tree topples at the cusp of dawn.
The oak’s green planks strain vainly toward freedom
from deep within the cursed Wall.
A fire-blackened church accuses, a grim reminder to them all.

The pendulum of time reverses.
Survivors hail their former foe.
To these living dead, abandoning their graves of war,
as if he were a citizen, but keener,
a young world leader avows peace with:
Ich bin ein Berliner!
* * *

(Excerpt from Moments of the Heart)
"In Moments of the Heart, you are in for a strange and wonderful trip, a most interesting read. Many of the individual pieces are quite unique. This is a writer of wide range and strength. Recommended."
Jim Bennett, KBR Review Team member.
* * *

President John F. Kennedy, right, stands on tower at the U.S. Army's Checkpoint Charlie overlooking the barbed wire wall dividing East and West Berlin, June 26, 1963. In background is East Berlin, Germany. Standing next to Kennedy is West German Chancellor Konrad Adenhauer, back to camera, and standing beside Adenhauer is West Berlin Mayor Willy Brandt, back to camera. (AP Photo)



Monday, October 6, 2014

RUSSELL BLAKE Defies ODILE

One of the most dedicated - hence prolific and successful - Indie Writers is Russell Blake, a versatile and unstoppable author.

Not even Hurricane Odile, sending him scrambling from his home in Cabo San Lucas to the Mexican Mainland (with two large dogs, no less) could deter his publication schedule.

Despite the destruction around him, Russell has just released Books 1 and 2 of his new Young Adult Series, writing as R. E. Blake.



GOING LIVE on OCTOBER 7  are Books 1 and 2:

        Less Than Nothing















Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/1rnax8b





More than Anything



Check out R. E. Blake's Author Page on Amazon:












Available on Amazon as a Pre-Order is Book 3: 

Best Of Everything



And with that, Russell, 
your followers and friends wish you
The Best of Everything - you deserve it.

* * *
PS - Don't miss Russell Blake's books listed on his other author page on Amazon - You'll be amazed, I promise you.

http://www.amazon.com/Russell-Blake/e/B005OKCOLE


Did you know that Russell just co-authored a novel with the illustrious Clive Cussler?
I'd give my eye-teeth for a chance like that; oh, wait, perhaps I could offer something else to entice the great man? No worries, it won't happen - and I can just  dream on.