Monday, September 29, 2008

Hitler and Mars Bar by Diane Ascroft

‘Hitler and Mars Bars’, winner of Trafford Publishing’s 2004 Book Deal Contest, is the moving story of a remarkable child and era. It’s the story of a German boy's journey to manhood through loss, loneliness, fear, uncertainty, love and hope in war-torn Germany and post-war rural Ireland.

Erich's first home is Goldschmidthaus, a Children's Home near Essen. He lives for visits with his beloved mother and longs for the day he will live with her. He is distraught when, after a heavy bombing raid, her visits abruptly cease.

After the war he finds himself, with hundreds of other German children, transported across Europe to escape the appalling conditions in their homeland. Operation Shamrock brings Erich and his brother, Hans, to a new life in Ireland but with different families.

During the next few years Erich experiences the best and worst of Irish life. Living in a string of foster families, he finds love and acceptance in some and indifference and brutality in others. At Daddy Davy's he finds a loving home and is re-united with his brother. But his brief taste of happiness is dashed by circumstances he cannot control.

This is the story of a German boy growing up alone in Ireland. He dreams of finding his mother. He yearns for a family who will love and keep him forever. He learns his brother is his ally not his rival. Plucky and resilient he surmounts the challenges his ever changing world presents.

Set in Germany's industrialised Ruhr Valley during the Second World War and post-war rural Ireland this book evokes a little known episode in German and Irish history. It is a moving tale of a German child caught in war's vicelike grip and flung into a new land to grow and forge a new life.


"It's a riveting story...As a novel it is extraordinarily well researched.... Beautifully written with a strong human story running through it..."
Brian D'Arcy, BBC broadcaster, Sunday World columnist, author, journalist

"An endearing story...Ascroft is superb in telling the story from Erich's point of view...The story is both vivid and moving..."
News Letter (Belfast) 21 June 2008


Ascroft is a Canadian writer, living in Britain. She has been freelance writing since 2002. Most of her writing focuses on history, arts/music and human interest stories. Her articles have been printed in Canadian and Irish newspapers and magazines including the Toronto Star, Mississauga News, Derry Journal, Banbridge Leader and Ireland’s Own magazine. ‘Hitler and Mars Bars’ is her first novel.


Bredenscheid, near Hattingen, Germany
March 1945

“Wake up, Erich,” his mother said softly.

Leaning over him, she gently shook his shoulder. Shrugging away from her touch, he turned over in the narrow metal bed. She shook a bit harder and he opened his eyes, squinting at her silhouette in the moonlight.

“Mutti! You’re here!” Erich sat up and threw his arms around her neck.

“Yes. Get up, quickly now.”

“I knew you’d come!” he cried.

“Shh…don’t wake the other children,” she hushed him as she pulled back his thin, woollen blanket.

Shivering in the cold air, he jumped out of bed and scurried the few steps to the fireplace. The embers from the fire, set before bedtime, still glowed and occasionally crackled in the open grate. The waning fire radiated a modest heat and Erich savoured its warmth. The moon was low in the early evening sky, but its light streamed through the partly drawn curtains.

Erich’s mother pulled his white cotton nightshirt over his head and he hunched forward, shivering as cold draughts eddied around him. She quickly threaded his arms into his shirt. Erich squirmed against the prickly fabric which scratched at his back.

“It’s itchy! I don’t want to wear it!”

“You don’t have anything else so you must. Hurry now!” she urged him.

She pulled up his short brown trousers and leaned over to lace his boots. She pushed his arms into his ragged woollen coat, then pulled it firmly around him, noticing how baggy it was.

“You are so thin!” she exclaimed. “You must eat!”

“They don’t give us much. And it’s rotten! It makes me sick. And I’m so tired,” he complained.

The food shortage was severe as the war drew to an end. Everyone struggled to get enough to eat. Malnutrition and the poor quality of available food frequently made the children ill. To conserve energy they went to bed after their evening meal.

She frowned, looking at him. The waist of his trousers was loose and his bony knees seemed large on his thin legs.

Putting her arm around his shoulder, she ushered him out of the dormitory and down the stairs. At the foot of the stairs Erich stopped. “Mutti has come for me, T-T-Tante Gretchen!” he called excitedly to the staff member standing in the downstairs hall. Nodding to the woman as they passed, his mother said, “I will return him by breakfast. Good night.”

As they stepped out of the door the darkness enveloped them; no street lights lit their way. Their eyes adjusted to it as they walked briskly down the country lane. Erich held tightly to his mother’s hand. He pressed against her, almost tripping her in his eagerness to be close to her on this rare visit.

Title: Hitler and Mars Bars
Author: Dianne Ascroft
ISBN: 9781425145910
Format: Paperback, 340pp
Publisher: Trafford Publishing
Price: £11.99/$23.22/E15.86
Publication Date: March 2008
The book is available online from, and other online retailers.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Faith-Filled Fiction: An Educational Resource

If you're a fiction writer wanting to add a religious element to your characters and worlds, but aren't interested in preaching or promoting stereotypes, this FREE e-zine is for you. Each issue has tips on writing, an educational article about a world religion written by someone of that religion, and an testimonial about how faith influences one's writing. Totally non-denominational, the purpose is to learn to understand different religions before we write about them.

Quarterly magazine. Next issue comes out in October.

Don't fall back on stereotypes that may insult the reader or take them out of your story. Check out Faith-Filled Fiction.

Monday, September 22, 2008

CSFF Presents: Marcher Lord Press, a Christian Speculative Fiction Publishing Company

This month, rather than highlight a book, we're letting people know about a new publishing company, Marcher Lord Press, which is dedicated to bringing readers quality speculative fiction with a strong Christian worldview. Jeff Gerke, publisher, saw a need for the genre stuff that the usual Christian publishers and genre publishers generally won't touch, and is now providing those stories to you. So if you like horror, sci-fi or fantasy but don't want the usual Godlessness or witch/wicca angles, check out their bookstore.

This is a great time for it, too! Their grand opening is October first, and they are having drawings for great prizes (including a trip to ComicCon!) and free gifts with each purchase.

Marcher Lord Press:

What is it that sets Marcher Lord Press apart from every other Christian publishing company?

If you're curious about the industry—or you think you might want to become a Marcher Lord Press author—this is an essential question.

The most obvious thing that sets Marcher Lord Press apart is the kind of fiction it concentrates on. No other Christian publishing company is dedicated to nothing but Christian speculative fiction.

What is Christian speculative fiction, you ask? It's the "weird" stuff: fantasy, science fiction, time travel, spiritual warfare, alternate history, chillers, superhero fiction, near-future technothrillers, and supernatural thrillers. All the Christian stories that are off the edge of the map.

Marcher Lord Press: .
Jeff Gerke's Web site, WhereTheMapEnds: .

*Participants’ Links:

Brandon Barr
Tina Kulesa
Jason Waguespac
Justin Boyer
Keanan Brand
Kathy Brasby
Jackie Castle
Valerie Comer
Karri Compton
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
D. G. D. Davidson
Janey DeMeo
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
Karina Fabian
Kameron M. Franklin
Andrea Graham
Todd Michael Greene
Katie Hart
Timothy Hicks
Joleen Howell
Jason Joyner
Mike Lynch
Terri Main
Shannon McNear
Rebecca LuElla Miller
John W. Otte
Steve Rice
Ashley Rutherford
Hanna Sandvig
Mirtika or Mir's Here
Greg Slade
James Somers
Steve Trower
Speculative Faith
Laura Williams
Timothy Wise

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Would You Like to Join Me on Book Tour?

In addition to touring other people's books on this site, I tour my own books on other people's blogs. I have two book tours coming up in November:

Leaps of Faith
, an anthology of Christian Sci-Fi, comes out in November from The Writers Cafe Press. What's your vision of the future? Come explore worlds and futures where faith and science do not compete, but compliment each other. From travelers lost in space depending on faith to survive to a genetically engineered, yet divinely inspired miracle, Leaps of Faith is sure to satisfy the most discerning sci-fi and Christian reader.

Firestorm of Dragons, an anthology of fantasy stories with dragon themes, is already out by DragonMoon Press. Dragons like you've never seen them before—from an extreme sport to a down-and-out private detective to a door-to-door evangelist; or for the more serious, dragons as heroes, victims and the mysterious result of an obsession. This collection is secular and one story makes it inappropriate for readers under 16 IMHO. It's a great anthology for dragon lovers—super creative and fun.

Since these are anthologies, which means around over a dozen authors each, I've started Yahoo groups where I have the info posted and you can interview any author you wish. However, if you prefer to not use the group, you can simply work with me. I'd just like to get word out about these terrific new anthologies.

Remember, too, if you ahve a book you want to tour, contact me (karina(at) with the information!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Bubba & Giganto: Odds Against Them By Lea Schizas

Bubba hates it when his dad gets a contract for a new project. That means uprooting the family from one city and moving to another. Attending a new school is a major pet peeve of his. His smart alecky nature attracts the bullies in every school heʼs attended.

On the first day of school, Bubba bumps into this rather large student. Fearing a confrontation, he wears his tough guy attitude and waits for the punches to begin. Remarkably, the new student apologizes, and Bubba and David (aka Giganto as Bubba eventually nicknames him) become best friends.

Bubba and Giganto try out for the high school soccer team, and thatʼs when trouble begins. Bubba knew eventually heʼd meet the bullies of the school, and he was right.

In the first initial weeks, Bubba learns about a death that occurred the previous year; faces the bullies on several occasions; helps Giganto practice soccer before tryouts; and challenges the bullies to a scrimmage.

Little does Bubba know Giganto holds a secret - one that will place Giganto in a deadly situation.


4RV Publishing

Barnes & Noble

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Secret Lives of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

I've had to get tough on my guidelines, so I'm waiting on some authors to send me links and cover art for their books. (This is good news for you authors because I have several openings!) In the meantime, I bought Secret lives of Bees on a whim and adored it! Every sentence was beautifully written and the entire story was delightful to read. I highly recommend it!

Amazon Says: In Sue Monk Kidd's The Secret Life of Bees, 14-year-old Lily Owen, neglected by her father and isolated on their Georgia peach farm, spends hours imagining a blissful infancy when she was loved and nurtured by her mother, Deborah, whom she barely remembers. These consoling fantasies are her heart's answer to the family story that as a child, in unclear circumstances, Lily accidentally shot and killed her mother. All Lily has left of Deborah is a strange image of a Black Madonna, with the words "Tiburon, South Carolina" scrawled on the back. The search for a mother, and the need to mother oneself, are crucial elements in this well-written coming-of-age story set in the early 1960s against a background of racial violence and unrest. When Lily's beloved nanny, Rosaleen, manages to insult a group of angry white men on her way to register to vote and has to skip town, Lily takes the opportunity to go with her, fleeing to the only place she can think of--Tiburon, South Carolina--determined to find out more about her dead mother. Although the plot threads are too neatly trimmed, The Secret Life of Bees is a carefully crafted novel with an inspired depiction of character. The legend of the Black Madonna and the brave, kind, peculiar women who perpetuate Lily's story dominate the second half of the book, placing Kidd's debut novel squarely in the honored tradition of the Southern Gothic. --Regina Marler --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Buy it at Amazon.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Sam’s Quest for the Crimson Crystal by Ben Furman

Samantha Mae Costas “Sam” is nobody’s idea of a hero. She is constantly teased about her thick glasses, her small size, and her asthma attacks are embarrassing and difficult to control. When Sam is forced to spend the summer on her grandpa's farm she thinks things can’t get much worse.

Deep in the caverns below the farm, Prince Buznor, a young Awok, is on a life-and-death mission to save his world. He has to find Sam and prove to her that only she can find and control the Crimson Crystal... the one weapon that can defeat the evil threatening his people.

To reach the Crimson Crystal Sam must journey through the hostile Land of Geffen, face hordes of catacomb dwarfs, vicious vampire bats and deadly monsters. Can Sam overcome her fears, her doubts, and find the Crimson Crystal in time to save the Awokian world?

Get it at Amazon.

Monday, September 08, 2008

CFRB Presents: Come to Me by Laura Davis

Can you imagine what it would be like, to travel back in time to the moment Christ was born, or perhaps witness his childhood? What would you do if you could journey to the cross and watch Jesus die for your sins? Come to Me offers readers the opportunity to experience these events first-hand from the eyes of His mother.

It is eleven years after Jesus’ resurrection and his mother Mary waits for a visit from the Apostle Luke. Intent on hearing a personal account of Jesus’ life, Luke sets about recording Mary’s words. The Apostle Matthew soon joins them and the two men begin to record the foundations of their Gospels. Told in two parts, Mary reveals with humour and warmth what it was like to raise the Savior of the world. Did Jesus perform miracles when He was a child? Did He know He was the Son of God?
In part two, Mary is nearing the end of her life and meeting with Luke once again. Only this time Luke is accompanying her to Ephesus to spend her final days with the Apostle John. Mary begins to share her story once again, this time focusing on the ministry of Jesus, His relationships with His family and friends, and of course His death and resurrection. What were Jesus’ final thoughts as he hung on the cross? What happened to Mary in her final days?

Come to Me explores surrendering to God’s will when circumstances seem impossible. It will provide those who are seeking to know Christ with a better understanding of who He is and for those who know Him already, it will encourage their faith.

Laura Davis is a former singer/songwriter with over 25 years in Contemporary Christian Music. After a surgical mistake caused her to lose her voice, Mrs. Davis began to write. She has since appeared on the Canadian Christian Television program 100 Huntley St., where she shared her story on surrendering to God’s will when your dreams are shattered. She has received positive reviews on her debut novel Come to
and is currently working on a sequel. Laura and her husband Jim live in London, Ontario.

Get it at Amazon!

Check out these member blogs Sept. 7-13 for more info.


Thursday, September 04, 2008

Life Takes Detours by Julie McGlone

In Life Takes Detours, Julie McGlone invites us along on a spectacular joyride through the delightful and very different phases of her life, from her earliest memories of summers spent with her twin brother on her uncle’s farm, to her long, loving marriage to husband.

McGlone enthusiastically celebrates every experience as she allows the reader an intimate and revealing look into her private perspectives on successfully navigating life’s many demanding roles.

The seemingly ordinary story of an American family comes to life through the eyes of McGlone, who eventually traveled five continents with her husband and two daughters. Whether describing an important visit to Russia with her fellow teachers at the onset of the country’s new democracy or telling a simple story about tucking her pajama-clad grandchildren into bed, McGlone reminds us that life’s meaning is found not only in the notable occasions but in the tiniest moments as well.

Life Takes Detours is the poignant, at times hilarious, tale of one woman’s journey through a normal life made remarkable by the depth of her character and by the exceptional amount of love she has for her family, her friends, and for life itself.

Get it at

Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Borders

Monday, September 01, 2008

Shades of Gray by Jessica James

Winner of two Best Regional Fiction awards since its release in January 2008, Shades of Gray chronicles the clash of a Confederate cavalry commander with a Union spy as they defend their beliefs, their country, and their honor.

The Historical Novel Society called Shades of Gray "a sympathetic, loving
portrait," while Book Review Journals says it is "well written and expertly executed. You cannot leave this book unchanged in your understanding of the souls of the Civil War."

Shades of Gray is an epic love story that illuminates the fine line between friends and enemies at a time when traditions and principles were worth defending at all costs.

"...A beautiful story with a timeless message. It touched my heart and soul" Catherine Bennett, Amazon Reviewer

"If you want to read a book you will never forget and will think about fo=
r months after reading it, read Shades of Gray. The book took my breath away. Honestly, you will not sleep." A Bookworm's Dinner Blog

ISBN: 978-0-9796000-0-5
Available at, and all Internet retailers including Amazon and Barnes and Noble.