Rather a Rave Review for Goddess of the Devil

The South African print version of the book is now available directly from myself to reduce costs.

I’ll let this up-to-date review, from highly respected USA screenplay consultant, journalist, critic and writer Nick Clement, speak for itself:

Book review:

‘. . . all of the classic ingredients in what has driven popular best-selling sensations . . .’

Mart Sander’s Evocative Novel The Goddess of the Devil Takes Readers On A Thrilling Journey

Nick Clement

Mart Sander’s hugely detailed and incredibly conceived historical novel, The Goddess of the Devil, which expertly blends startling fact with clever fiction, is one of those compulsively readable works that demands your attention and respect. Spanning nearly 40 years of world history, during a most turbulent period of social and governmental unrest, this epic yet intimate narrative is set against the German- European backdrop of World War II, and peels back the curtain on one particular story, which sets off a chain of dramatic events that can never be stopped. Sander’s robust writing style perfectly complements the ambitious nature of the material, and his sense for artistic flair within numerous passages feels inherently cinematic; this sprawling text is begging for the mini-series treatment from a premium outlet looking for their next water-cooler-buzz-worthy project.

Combining elements of science-fiction, occult-fantasy, and military-drama, The Goddess of the Devil hinges on the controversial life of Maria Orsic, who in actuality was a disarmingly beautiful member of the shadowy Vril Society, which prospered during the formation and rise of Germany’s Third Reich. Her interactions with Adolf Hitler begin to inform his already-burgeoning interest in the occult, and which helps to set the stage for events that of course changed the world forever. Orsic, a woman of great power, could never have fathomed what might have come of her dealings with members of the Nazi party, and Sander’s gripping storytelling methods help to craft a morally complex heroine/lead protagonist, a woman who felt compelled to act because of what she believed was buried deep within her, potentially emanating from another realm.

Sander takes the core items from Orsic’s over-sized life and gives them a fresh creative coating of sweeping adventure, weaving in events that have been documented by history, with exciting embellishment that takes the story into directions you can never predict. And that’s one of the other things about The Goddess of the Devil that’s so much fun – you can’t truly prepare for the twists and turns that Sander so effortlessly serves up for your reading pleasure, and it’s a testament to his belief in the story that he allows his creative energies to move back and forth between multiple genres, and is yet able to craft something that feels like a cohesive whole.

The Goddess of the Devil has all of the classic ingredients in what has driven popular best-selling sensations: a sense of true adventure, dangerous romance, volatile locale, and dynamic characters who all but urge you to keep turning the pages. Orsic’s telepathic claims were and continue to be explosive, especially when all of the information is fully considered. And because Sander fully understands – and then completely exploits – his fully-loaded premise, the final outcome is something that feels cut from a tangible space, and yet, there’s something otherworldly about all of it that brings about an added layer of storytelling dimension. It’s also just flat-out entertaining in a moment-to-moment fashion; you can never say that Sander isn’t a showman on the page.

© Nick Clement 2019


Nick Clement is a motion picture screenplay consultant and journalist for Variety Magazine, as well as a film critic for the websites We Are Cult and Back to the Movies, in addition to being a contributor at Hollywood-Elsewhere, Taste of Cinema, and Awards Daily. He wrote the introduction to the book Double Features: Big Ideas in Film, which was published by The Great Books Foundation. He lives in Connecticut, USA, with his wife and three year old son.

Launches and relaunches in Ireland and South Africa

A series of book launches and workshops was held over November, and there are plans to organise something similar in the new year, but in evenings when more people will find it possible to attend. It is also planned to join in with Ireland in the writing contest for schoolchildren, with a view to the winning stories being accumulated in a published book.

This report appeared in Bookseeker Literary Agency Blog:

By now you’re all well aware that P’kaboo Publishers has relocated from South Africa to Ireland, and is gearing up for big things. Amongst them is a writing contest for children between the ages of 8 and 18. So if you’re a young person living in Ireland, or you know someone who is, then take note and watch this space… because we’re watching their web site, and as soon as the rules are published we’ll let you know.
We do already know that amongst the prizes will be getting a story published in a book, along with all the other winning stories. And there will be a wonderful launch party in Cobh, Co. Cork.
Meanwhile, Pkaboo has retained an associate back in South Africa. Professional editor Les Noble, whom many of our clients have used, has taken over marketing and promoting their books in their ‘old country’, added to which he has started his own imprint – Noblest Publications. As you can see from the handbill below, he has planned a series of events in the city of Durban, including one that re-introduces Carmen Capuano’s excellent novel Split Decision.
poster-for-november-2018-launches

With My Mother, in a Ship, on a Trip, Another!

The whole family went to see the film last night. We had heard from young R’s godfather in England that when he saw the show shortly after the movie opened the audience clapped at the end. I found it hard to imagine a staid British audience doing such a thing after a movie. Well, it happened again, here. Never mind what critics may bleat about the movie; audiences love it.  Younger children may tend to become a bit bored, but for all teenagers and beyond it is ideal.
Be warned, though. It is awfully confusing to someone who hasn’t seen the first one, and even then if one doesn’t realise that the film is made up of jumps in time between the original young Meryl Streep character Donna (played by Amanda Seyfried) and her now-grown-up daughter Sophie (Lily James). These two are similar enough for one at first to think it is the same person in different scenes, and later to think they are sisters or something in different places. IF one goes to see the film fully prepared for jumps from past to present and back again it will be so less confusing and more enjoyable!
The two main characters are, both of them, stunning and charming and sing really well. The scenery is beautiful, the dances are spectacular, the Abba songs remain timeless,  and the entertainment is there in great quantities.
As my first big screen movie in nearly ten years, as far as I can recall, it was definitely worth the effort of driving across to far reaches of the Berea. It almost eclipsed that moon eclipse for which we had clear skies and perfect views. Pity I lack the photographic equipment to have captured that.

© July 2018 Colonialist

No Two Ways About it, even if there are!

        All readers owe it to themselves to grab this one.

On Christmas Day last year I announced that Split Decision by Carmen Capuano was now available as a South African print in addition to the UK one. At the end of March I stir-wrongly         (I mean, rightly agitated ) that this novel be read.
Perhaps after suitable fortification!Now, those without ready access to books in South Africa or UK, and who do not wish to go the online route, can pick up their own e-book on this link. At a minimal outlay, you will have a roller-coaster ride of note…book!

Circumstances beyond control have rather ridiculously delayed the official launch of the print version, but it is available pre-launch nevertheless.

 

As the back cover says:

How was Natalie to know that the decision she was about to make between two dates was at a pivotal point in her life; that either choice would mark the time when childhood innocence ended?
Could she even imagine that the wrong choice would send lives spiralling into the stuff of nightmare from which it would take a miracle to emerge alive?
A cruel twist of fate forces a completely average 16-year-old into a split-second decision — one with far-reaching implications beyond her wildest imaginings. Not only will it change her future, but also her perception of trust, love, and the realities of life.
A book of intensities, of sweet discoveries and of dark revelations, that locks you in and only allows release through the last page.

 

 I am now handling the South African end of P’kaboo Publishers, and other exciting things (lots of them) are due to happen soon.

 

THE BEST DECISION

A reversal of my previous action in posting here and reblogging under Colonialist. More correct, perhaps, because this is not a book I have authored personally. I am acting as an agent for P’kaboo in publishing locally.

Colonialist's Blog

Towards the end of last year I was involved in looking at the proofs of ‘Split Decision’ as I mentioned at the time.  The water running under that bridge ran into a few obstructions, and it is only this week that the flow has been completely cleared.

Thus, South African readers now have the pleasure of knowing that prints in this country are live and running.

In the latest review (one by UK radio, TV and sports personality Jack Woodward) it says,  ‘In fact, reading Split Decision is the best decision you can make.’ Just what I stated last year! So what are you waiting for?

In the interests of public health and safety, though, I am wondering whether to include a complimentary box of tranquilizers with each copy, bearing the instruction ‘TAKE TWO BEFORE OPENING COVER’. Nerves, heartbeat and fingernails  all tend to take a hammering.

Survivors do…

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A Merry Christmas Present on a Split Decision.

As a Christmas present to Carmen Capuano, the long-awaited proof for the South African print of Split Decision has finally been completed and was collected by me on Friday. It is looking really great, although with a few of the inevitable glitches one expects to find in a proof copy, and which are what such copies are for finding and correcting.
Anyway, it now available to be gone over thoroughly, and the printers give an assurance that it will be one of their top priorities when they open again on 11th January.
Compliments of the Season to everyone.

A Prints-ly Feeling

At last I have not just proofs, but my own supply of the latest P’kaboo prints for Tabika and Tabika Two, and the proper ones for Darx Circle. I am thrilled with the quality.

Strange that the excitement remains the same for the tenth book as it was for the first. Fingering through the pristine copies is like holding one’s own newborn child. The feeling comes through that it doesn’t really matter all that much if no interest arises, or if they become runaway best sellers. At that moment all that matters is that they exist — something that wasn’t there before is now a reality arising from one’s efforts. This even holds good for revisions/reprints where one knows that the result is now even better than before.

It is time Rufus appeared here as well as in Colonialist’s blog.

© October 2017 Leslie Hyla Winton Noble

Ill Literate

Guess which two authors the statements below refer to? 

(1)   Books sexist, racist and elitist and devoid of literary merit. (BBC)

(2)   Books with no literary merit; unsuitable for school libraries; promoting harmful or dangerous concepts; stealing from other cultures. (Numerous sources)

 The first set is to Enid Blyton. 

The second set is to JK Rowling. 

What does one need to do to gain the approval of such critics? How does one define literary merit?  Perhaps the answers to those two questions is to write books of utter tedium to do with dull, everyday lives, and to frame them in elegant but not pretentious phrases. Instant best-seller NOT! 

Of course, regurgitation of belief or value systems within the framework of a story will find instant approval from those who subscribe to those systems, and instant vilification from those who do not. Even then, the question is how they are presented. Narnia, the Rings and Potter all reflect religious themes and values, and yet come in for rabid renunciation by radical religionists.

Rufus the Eagle Owl

Purr, Tabika’s girlfriend


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Tabika books were doomed from the start. In particular, they presented, during Apartheid times, a picture of blacks and whites on equal terms, attending the same schools, and working on complex problems together. They also had magic, and ‘witchcraft’.  Instant disfavour from officialdom in South Africa. However, my agent of that time (who had launched Cry the Beloved Country) found considerable interest from major publishers in UK and Australia. They were on the verge of making offers. At this point sanctions against South Africa happened, and that was that.

 More recently came the ultimate irony. Schools who assessed the books when they finally came out in South Africa found them insufficiently slanted towards the African culture, and inclined to present a patronising attitude. I cant see it, myself. The stories are about a cat, for Petes sake! 

Or they regard them as too difficult for their little darlings, ignoring that I have proved they can actually lead to improved vocabularies.

Still, I am pressing ahead with the new editions and hoping that, ultimately, the readers themselves will make the critics look like ninnies as has been the case with Blyton and Rowlings. 

Second proofs are awaited, after which, hopefully, the editions will be heated to gallop (I was going to say hot to trot but apparently that can be misunderstood). 

© August 2017 Leslie Hyla Winton Noble

Finally Darx Emerges into Lightz!

Darx Circle has been the most difficult birth of a novel I have yet encountered. It was all-but ready for publication (or so I thought) when I made up the first proof in May, 2015. Then came all manner of circumstances to delay it yet further. I must say, though, that in the process it was given time to undergo some extra improvements and have a few subtle touches included. I truly believe that the novel is better now than it would have been if issued at that time.

At last have come the first professional proofs. I simply have to attend to a few more elements, and the South African printed version will be ready to go. While adjustment takes place regarding the tragic events affecting my publishers, I will be handling initial orders personally. A comment on this blog can start the ball rolling.

Overseas and e-book versions will be issued shortly — Amazon, Kindle, etc.

In due course, hopefully, it will again be under the P’kaboo Publishers umbrella.

© July 2017 Leslie Hyla Winton Noble

 

Overshare from an Edit

In a novel I recently edited set in 1930s, the main character asks another to stay in his home with a young girl while he is out, and is asked what they should do:

‘… “I don’t know,” he said sardonically. “She’s a girl. Overshare your feelings.” …’

Me, as editor: It is a good line, indeed. However, the word apparently dates from internet and social media times, so doesn’t quite fit the period.

Author: I did check the origin of the word (I was curious, myself), and it seems to have popular roots in the early 1800’s, as well as a strong reassurance in the online age.

I did more research without running to earth the earlier roots, but I did find:

1. Webster’s Dictionary Chooses “Overshare” as the 2008 Word of the Year.

     2. Described as “beautifully British”, the “subtle yet devastating” put-down “overshare” was today named word of the year 2014 by the Chambers Dictionary.

Note the irony of the ‘beautifully British’, when it was chosen six years previously by an American dictionary!

In view of the likely popular perception that the word is modern, I reluctantly suggested either that it be dropped, or that there be a footnote (not recommended, Terry Pratchett notwithstanding), or that something appear in the front or back matter to the effect that some words have been in currency for much longer than one realises. The writer decided to remove it.

Had you written that passage, would you have stuck to your guns? Or, had it remained, how do you think you would have received it as a reader?

© June 2017 Leslie Hyla Winton Noble