Please welcome Elaine Stock to my blog. Good morning, Elaine. Why don’t we get comfortable and have a chat?
Back of the Book Blurb:
We Shall Not Shatter
An unforgettable story of friendship, family and hope as two courageous young women face one of history’s most horrific tragedies.
Brzeziny, Poland, 1939 Zofia’s comfortable-lifestyle overturns when her husband, Jabez, who monitors Nazi activity, has gone missing. Rather than fleeing the country with her young son, as she had promised Jabez who is fearing retaliation, she decides to stay. She cannot possibly leave her friend, Aanya. Since their childhood they have amazed fellow Brzeziners that it does not matter that Aanya is Jewish and deaf, and that Zofia is Catholic and hearing. Now, more than ever with war looming, Zofia will do whatever is necessary to protect her family and Aanya.
As both love and war approach their Polish town, Zofia and Aanya must make choices that will change the meaning of family, home, and their precious friendship. The journey, decisions and the no-going-back consequences the women face will either help them to survive—or not—as Hitler’s Third Reich revs up its control of the world.
Inspired by the author’s paternal heritage from Brzeziny, this is a heartbreaking yet beautiful story of two women who are determined to remain united in friendship and to live freely despite the odds.
1. Please introduce yourself to those reading this blog post.
First, I’d like to thank you, Mary, for the opportunity to meet your lovely blog viewers and fellow book lovers. By nature, I’m a blend of a quiet, introverted person who transforms into an extravert on issues I’m passionate of, particularly human rights for all. A lover of the written word ever since I learned reading by reciting NYC billboards to my parents as we drove by them, perhaps it’s no surprise that I’ve always been drawn to stories. Growing up in a troubled family environment, I was also drawn to stories of how people throughout time have not only survived but thrived. Following the publication of a few contemporary inspirational novels, I’m now happy to say that I’ve found my true author voice and enjoyment in penning historical fiction. My first historical title, We Shall Not Shatter, Book 1 of the Resilient Women of WWII Trilogy, is releasing on May 15, 2022, by Amsterdam Publishers.
2. Has writing always been part of your life and when did you “know” that it was time to start writing your first book?
As I’ve said above, I’ve adored the written word/books ever since I can recall. Although I won a writing contest in 3rd grade (just don’t ask me the subject—LOL), and dabbled in writing fiction as a hobby in junior and senior high, it wasn’t until my mother’s passing when I was 26 that I took writing for publication seriously. My mother loved reading fiction as well, and wrote poetry, but her mental illness kept her not only reclusive but prevented her from pursuing the arts. At the time she passed, I realized that I didn’t want more time to race by until I pursued, on a serious level, my passion for writing. However, what I refer to as Life 101 (those unexpected bumps that come along and trip you) occurred, it wasn’t until much later that my first novel was published. Yet, during those years I learned more about the craft of writing, and about myself as far as what I can and can’t do and how far I can willingly push myself and put aside a good deal of my shyness, and have no regrets to a bit of a delay in publication.
3. How difficult was it writing your first book?
The writing part was easy-peasy! The real question is how difficult was it in learning how to edit a book, and more so, learning how to remove the stardust from one’s eyes and how to accept that *all* books need editorial help and improvement. I’ve come to absolutely love the editing stage and am convinced that is where the fun magical part of having a story becomes alive.
4. Have you ever wanted to give up and what stopped you?
Honestly—no. Never! Just the opposite: I am at the point in my life that I want to quit the day-job and solely work on my writing.
5. Who is the most supportive of you and your dream to be a writer?
Fortunately, through the years, it’s become a nice blend of support from my husband and close friends and fellow authors. With the upcoming release of We Shall Not Shatter, which was inspired by my paternal heritage from Brzeziny Poland, my father has become more of a champion of my writing than ever and I so appreciate his support!
6. Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
I hope readers, whether ones who have enjoyed my past novels or new ones to my books, will give We Shall Not Shatter a try and will be encouraged by the characters in their daily trials and joys in life. I’m encouraged that the novel has already garnered some publicity and an awesome review and contest placement (Finalist in the WWI-WWII category) in the Historical Fiction Company’s Book of the Year.
7. What is the best advice given to you (book or otherwise), and by whom?
It would be to 1) believe in yourself and 2) to never give up, and by countless of caring and wise people.
8. What is your target audience and what aspect of your writing do you feel targets that audience?
Although We Shall Not Shatter is in the historical fiction genre, and slants toward Women’s Fiction (each book of the Resilient Women of WWII Trilogy is a tale of how women connect and together can overcome obstacles), I believe it will appeal to both female and male readers who appreciate that historical era.
9. Did the cover evolve the same way, or did you work with someone to make it come together for you?
I wanted a cover that depicted Brzeziny on the eve of the German invasion. Considering that the Polish town, before WWII, was once the center of fine tailor craftsmanship in Europe, but was virtually wiped off the map during the war, I hoped for more of a scenic, atmospheric cover that would showcase the place and time and hint at the danger ahead, rather than a display of characters. My publisher, Amsterdam Publishers, was extremely enthusiastic and supportive of my choice.
10. What are you working on now? Can we get a peek, an excerpt?
I just finished editing Book 2 of the Trilogy, Our Daughters’ Last Hope, which will be out in Fall 2022. While I cannot share an excerpt, here’s a glimpse: This is Herta Weber’s story, the woman that Zofia (one of the main characters from Book 1) befriended on the St. Louis ship. It’s a story of unexpected friendship across enemy lines, when two mothers seek to save their children’s lives. It’s set in the Netherlands.
11. Any last words before we wrap things up?
Once again, thank you, Mary, for hosting me!!
And, I look forward to meeting future readers. They can subscribe to my Author Newsletter without concern of spam or a bombardment of newsletters: https://elainestock.com/for-readers
Elaine Stock writes Historical Fiction, exploring home, family and friendships throughout time. She enjoys creating stories showing how all faiths, races, and belief systems are interconnected and need each other. A member of the Women’s Fiction Writers Association and The Historical Novel Society, she wrote We Shall Not Shatter, Book 1 of the Resilient Women of WWII Trilogy, inspired by her deaf great aunt who was left behind in Poland and perished in the Holocaust. The novel has earned the Historical Fiction Company 5-star and “Highly Recommended” Review and won the Finalist Award in the Historical WWI-WWII category of the Historical Fiction Company 2021 Contest.
Website: https://elainestock.com Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/ElaineStock
Goodreads: http://goodreads.com/ElaineStock BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/elaine-stock Amazon: amazon.com/author/elainestock Amazon: getbook.at/WSNSes1
From Amazon: How far would you go to save strangers in need? A platoon of Marines and their military working dogs, MWD, are about to find out. An educated woman makes the ultimate sacrifice to teach girls to read. She leaves behind a daughter and a son whose lives become intertwined with those of the U.S. Marines. But the Taliban is infiltrated everywhere and is hard to differentiate between friend and foe. As vivid as a movie, you will share the life of the Marines deployed in an Afghan military base; climb the breathtaking Hindu-Kush Mountains to a secluded Taliban camp; dive in the belly of ancient Qala-e-Bost fortress in the middle of a battle, and experience the culture of the Afghan people. Silent Heroes is a race against time, “an emotional rollercoaster of a read,” a page-turner, a thrilling contemporary story with a vivid sense of the place, history and politics that shines a light on the humanity of the Marines and their special relationship with their canine buddies. The utterly thrilling war fiction read inspired by true events from a Historical Fiction bestselling author – it will keep you gripped until the final page. Chosen one of 5 Books Everyone Should Read in Their Lifetime. From the author of the Amazon Historical Fiction Bestseller Joyful Trouble comes Silent Heroes, When Love and Values Are Worth Fighting for – ‘a book not to be missed. (Mandie Griffiths, Book Reviewer) For readers of Kite Runner, A Dog’s Way Home and The Operator. Readers are loving Silent Heroes: ‘Although this is a work of fiction there are truths to it that will tug at your heart. For anyone who has not read one of Patricia’s books then I would recommend this one.’ (5 stars) Mandie Griffiths ‘Have you ever read a fiction novel but felt as if you were reading a true account of events instead? This was my experience while reading Patricia Furstenberg’s Silent Heroes. Regardless of your usual preferred genre, this is an excellent read … will stay in your heart and mind long after finishing.’ (5 stars) Dandelion Inspired ‘If you’re looking for a fast paced read I really can’t recommend this book highly enough. It’s a definite must read.’ (5 stars) Mani’s Book Corner ’I strongly recommend this book to EVERYONE!’ (5 stars) Bunny’s Pause ‘A fantastic, action packed, captivating and emotional tale then will take you on a rollercoaster. Definitely recommended by me!’ Curled Up With a Good Book ‘The writing is wonderful… Great book to experience something different than a traditional suspense or mystery read.’ (5 stars) Goodreads Reviewer ’I recommend this book to anyone … who wants a novel with plenty of action and great characters.’ (5 stars) Goodreads Reviewer ‘Incredibly well researched, and provides many edge of the seat moments… Highly recommended.’ (5 stars) Goodreads Reviewer ‘It was also very interesting to read about the important role Military Working Dogs played in the US Marines’ war against the Taliban insurgents.’ (5 stars) Goodreads Reviewer ‘A story that uplifts with its portrayal of people who continue to care for others despite the dangers they face every day. A great read. (5 stars) Goodreads Reviewer ’The entire story feels urgent, totally against the clock.… A well-researched, thought-provoking and ultimately insightful consideration of life in the military.’ (Goodreads Reviewer)
My Review: This was a difficult book to read due to the nature of the subject matter. That said, everyone should read this story. The novel brings home the issues with military life in an Afghanistan war zone. I don’t think the Taliban will ever stop their crazy murderous ways in which they kill regardless of age and innocence. Sure. We can help build schools or a hospital but who would teach??? Girls not allowed to learn. The horror of children used as weapons such as exploding IED’s, or grenade and explosive liquid in hand, crying because they know they will die, but doing what was drilled into their brain, is more than heart-rending. Five stars.
From Amazon: Rhapsody Hastings finds herself in the arms of a ruffian, Cavanaugh Blackledge, when her carriage breaks down on a dark country road. Wedding him stills the scandal of their late-night tryst while soothing the guilt she holds of her first husband’s untimely death. So, she accepts the arrangement as her own personal penance. Yet, an unexpected mission wakens her dead heart despite the fact that a high society lady shouldn’t be involved with such…dangerous illegal conspiracies. Using his new marriage to shield his clandestine operations proves to be an unanticipated godsend for Cav. And how could he not appreciate the fetching Rhapsody’s presence, creating the perfect buffer when he must face his former true love, now his smug brother’s wife. But their artificial life turns ugly when information surfaces, putting both Rhapsody’s and Cav’s covert efforts in jeopardy. Secrets reveal even more scandalous secrets, and the skeleton discovered in Rhapsody’s closet may not only undo her, it may make them both very dead.
My Review: No one is “lowborn” in my view. This novel really brings home status and slavery in 1800s America. The first beautiful romance will snag you right away. The depth of the main characters love continually grows. I can only imagine how the underground railroad worked back then, and the fear of the slaves and those who helped the slaves no matter their race. Slavery is wrong. This book brings out many emotions and is a true must read book. Above all is love, love from God. He is the one who delivers. Five shiny gold stars.
Thank you for looking. As always, my gallery is found here.
From Amazon: If a gold medal was awarded for ‘Worst Day Ever’ Laney Calderone would win it today, hands down. She’s just discovered she’s pregnant, her fiancé abruptly dumps her when she tells him, and her new car refuses to start as a brutal snowstorm hits Toronto. Good Samaritan Tyler Hammond offers to take her home; however, with the heavy snow falling and his patience dwindling, Laney’s gold medal day isn’t over yet. Storms intensify both outside and in as Laney finds herself inexplicably attracted to this tall, dark and very handsome but infuriating stranger. Can Laney fight her unwanted yet increasing desire for this man long enough to get through the relentless storm? And will Tyler let her walk out of his life as easily as she came into it?
My Review: This is the second book that I’ve read by this author. It is also the second book I’ve read with the Calderone family. Technically, this is book one in series, but I think each book is fine to read as a standalone book. Love, true love, real love, the deep in your soul love abounds in this novel. This kind of love and snowy weather is a perfect fit. Five stars.
From Amazon: These inspirational/spiritual quotes about love, peace, hope, joy, encouragement, spirituality and universal messages were channeled to Brenda Rachel by the angels so that she could share words of support, guidance, motivation, and inspiration with you. Brenda Rachel became a messenger for the angels when she was on disability and unable to walk due to excruciating spinal pain for several months. During this period, Brenda Rachel asked God and the angels, What do you want me to learn from this experience?, How can I serve you?, and What messages do you want me to bring to others? The answer was the birth of these quotes. These quotes are for anyone who desires to be inspired.
My Review: Amazing doesn’t begin to describe this book. The poetry and prose contained within will fill you spiritually. I’ve never read more beautiful words and quotes on love, hope, loss and more. Five stars. I pray the angels and Jesus speak to me from here on out.
From Amazon: ‘… a unique and emotionally charged historical romance novel’ Amazon review. In 1950 Australia, Raine believes her unplanned marriage to the volatile Teddy is working out fine. They have their own place, humble though it is. Their baby thrives. But when Teddy abandons his young family, a grieving and furious Raine faces hard choices – made harder when she discovers she’s bearing their second child. Are the words of the telegram the real reason behind Teddy’s desertion? Was there ever a future for them, or had his harridan mother been right all along? And what about the faithful, devoted Alf? He’s always looked out for Raine. He’d love to do so forever. With her baby nearly due, Raine sets out on a punishing journey to face the truth. And make the most important decision of her life. What readers say ‘…women’s fiction at its best. I was kept guessing till the end. I loved every bit of this book.’ Amazon review. ‘When a seemingly perverse choice is made, the repercussions of that slowly evolve and the consequences leave the reader gasping. Each time. Right to the end.’ Goodreads review. ‘Everything seemed REAL: the immigrant camp environment, the problems prevalent in early 1950s, and especially the relationship problems. Ordinary people’s problems, that you and I might have.’ Amazon review.
My Review: This is the first book I’ve read by this author. I found a great romance within, a love triangle if you will, and all that happens in the early 1950s in Australia. Life is hard, and hearts break, but the will to go on doesn’t give out. Surroundings are perfectly written in a manner in which the reader feels they are right there, in the thick of the scenery, weather, terrain, and life at the time this story is set. This book is highly worthy of five shiny gold stars.
The Prisoner of Paradise by Rob Samborn
March 2, 2022
The fire and untimely death that led to Paradise.
The Prisoner of Paradise is my debut novel, published by TouchPoint Press.
When Nick & Julia O’Connor, an American couple, travel to Venice, Italy on vacation, Nick comes to believe that his true soul mate is not his wife, but a woman trapped in the world’s largest oil painting.
Though Julia worries he suffers from delusions, Nick discovers a secret society that has developed a method of extracting people’s souls whom they deem to be evil. They imprison those souls in Paradise, painted by Jacopo Tintoretto in the 16th century. Nick goes on a quest to save his soul mate from eternal purgatory but liberating her means freeing all the souls—something the secret society will never let happen.
In real life, Paradise (Il Paradiso in Italian), is located in The Doge’s Palace (Il Palazzo Ducale), a thousand-year-old building located on the edge of St. Mark’s Square.
Now a museum, it was once the seat of government for the Venetian Republic. It was home to the doge (the elected leader) as well as the meeting place for senators, making it a combination of the United States Capitol Building and the White House—but four times as old.
Salvatore della Porta, the antagonist of the book, is the director of the museum. He takes his job incredibly seriously and treats the building like his treasured home—if not castle.
Spanning an entire wall of the Great Council Room, what used to be the largest room in all of Europe, Paradise is seventy-five feet wide by forty feet high, situated twelve feet off the floor.
The massive room is covered in Renaissance art and enthralls Nick and Julia, who have never seen anything like it.
But it’s Paradise—or more specifically, a woman in Paradise—who mesmerizes Nick.
Completed in 1592 by Jacopo Tintoretto, Paradise commemorates the coronation of Mary in Heaven. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of people on the canvas. Many of them are depicted as flying angels (so we can see When Angels Fly 😊). The breathtaking painting is enormous. It’s impossible to view it all at once and even with multiple viewings, you’ll always find something new in it.
In the image above, the orange lines illustrate where the actual top of the door is at six feet off the floor. For a reference of scale, you could fit three adult men shoulder-to-shoulder beneath each orange line.
This painting of Heaven has its roots in unsolved mysteries. Where Paradise hangs now was once a Gothic style fresco by Guariento, created in 1365. The subject matter was similar and the title was Coronation of the Virgin. In 1577, a fire demolished part of the Doge’s Palace, including the fresco. Nobody knows how the fire started.
Once the Doge’s Palace was restored, the Great Council held a competition for the replacement painting. The commission was granted to Paolo Veronese, the most famous Venetian painter and a rival of Jacopo Tintoretto’s. To this day, Veronese is more renowned.
In 1588, Veronese contracted a fever and died a few days later at the age of sixty.
The commission was then granted to Tintoretto, who took four years to complete the work. Tintoretto was a remarkably pious and generous man. It’s unlikely he was engaged in any nefarious acts. But that doesn’t mean it’s not a great background for a story.
To learn more about The Prisoner of Paradise or to find purchase locations, visit www.robsamborn.com.
Book Title: The Prisoner of Paradise
Series: The Paradise Series, Book 1
Author: Rob Samborn
Publication Date: 30th November 2021
Publisher: TouchPoint Press
Page Length: 333 Pages
Genre: Commercial Thriller, Historical Fiction, Magical Realism
Twitter Handle: @robsamborn @maryanneyarde
Instagram Handless: @robsamborn @coffeepotbookclub
Hashtags: #HistoricalFiction #MagicalRealism #Thrillers #tintoretto #venice #UnlockThePast #BlogTour #CoffeePotBookClub
The Prisoner of Paradise
(The Paradise Series, Book 1)
By Rob Samborn
The world’s largest oil painting. A 400-year-old murder. A disembodied whisper: “Amore mio.” My love.
Nick and Julia O’Connor’s dream trip to Venice collapses when a haunting voice reaches out to Nick from Tintoretto’s Paradise, a monumental depiction of Heaven. Convinced his delusions are the result of a concussion, Julia insists her husband see a doctor, though Nick is adamant the voice was real.
Blacking out in the museum, Nick flashes back to a life as a 16th century Venetian peasant swordsman. He recalls precisely who the voice belongs to: Isabella Scalfini, a married aristocrat he was tasked to seduce but with whom he instead found true love. A love stolen from them hundreds of years prior.
She implores Nick to liberate her from a powerful order of religious vigilantes who judge and sentence souls to the canvas for eternity. Releasing Isabella also means unleashing thousands of other imprisoned souls, all of which the order claims are evil.
As infatuation with a possible hallucination clouds his commitment to a present-day wife, Nick’s past self takes over. Wracked with guilt, he can no longer allow Isabella to remain tormented, despite the consequences. He must right an age-old wrong – destroy the painting and free his soul mate. But the order will eradicate anyone who threatens their ethereal prison and their control over Venice.
Violence, a rape scene, a torture scene.
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09F8RYG2M
Amazon CA: https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B09F8RYG2M
In addition to being a novelist, Rob Samborn is a screenwriter, entrepreneur and avid traveler. He’s been to forty countries, lived in five of them and studied nine languages. As a restless spirit who can’t remember the last time he was bored, Rob is on a quest to explore the intricacies of our world and try his hand at a multitude of crafts; he’s also an accomplished artist and musician, as well as a budding furniture maker. A native New Yorker who lived in Los Angeles for twenty years, he now makes his home in Denver with his wife, daughter and dog.
Social Media Links:
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Rob-Samborn/e/B09FQ4HCBYGoodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/21829341.Rob_Samborn