Kaffir Boy by Mark Mathabane

After quite a long break, what with one thing and another, I will be catching up on reviews of books read for Feed My Reads. My latest review is up on Amazon.

This was not an easy read. I did a lot of research into apartheid when I wrote African Me & Satellite TV, and just reading about some of the history of some of the things that were done to black people hurts badly. But even though you cringe in shame for the insanely barbaric doings of other whites, you can never feel the shame of millions of people for being classified as sub-human because of the colour of their skin. This book does a good job of getting you a little closer to that feeling than the any of the history books I’ve read.

I grew up smack bang in the middle of apartheid. Where even little white children expected “respect” from adult black people. I always found it weird how many people suddenly had stories about their black “friends” during the struggle after having seen very few real white activists when the abuse was actually happening. But even though I saw a lot of the torment, I have never had a clue how bad it really was in the townships until I read this book.

I found myself staring at some of the sentences in utter horror and disbelief. And shame. Lots and lots of shame. The fact that Mark managed to escape and share his life with the world highlights for me the many, many others who did not escape. As I read the last few pages of this book, I wanted there to be more pages with happy words about how all of his family and friends got to leave the hell that they existed in too. But that’s not how real life works.

Even though apartheid is officially over, its effects are still alive and well. Racism is alive and well. Poverty is alive and well. You don’t get to just push a button and cancel the pain inflicted for so long overnight. You don’t get to fix things by simply saying that you never personally abused anyone.


I’m adding some editorial commentary from others for this book.

“This is a rare look inside the festering adobe shanties of Alexandra, one of South Africa’s notorious black townships. Rare because it comes from the heart of a passionate young African who grew up there.” — Chicago Tribune

Mark Mathabane was weaned on devastating poverty and schooled in the cruel streets of South Africa’s most desperate ghetto, where bloody gang wars and midnight police raids were his rites of passage. Like every other child born in the hopelessness of apartheid, he learned to measure his life in days, not years. Yet Mark Mathabane, armed only with the courage of his family and a hard-won education, raised himself up from the squalor and humiliation to cross the line between black and white and win a scholarship to an American university.

This extraordinary memoir of life under apartheid is itself a triumph of the human spirit over hatred and unspeakable degradation. For Mark Mathabane did what no physically and psychologically battered “Kaffir” from the rat-infested alleys of Alexandra was supposed to do – he escaped to tell about it.
“Powerful, intense, inspiring.” — Publishers Weekly

“An eloquent cry from the land of silent people, where blacks are assigned by whites to a permanent role of inferiority.” –John Barkham Reviews

“Compelling, chilling, authentic…an emotionally charged explanation of how it felt to grow up under South Africa’s system of legalized racism known as apartheid.” –Milwaukee Sentinel

“Despite the South African government’s creation of a virtually impenetrable border between black and white lives, this searing autobiography breaches that boundary, drawing readers into the turmoil, terror, and sad stratagems for survival in a black township.” –Foreign Affairs
“Told with relentless honesty…the reader is given a rare glimpse behind the televised protests and boycotts, of the daily fear and hunger which is devastating to both body and soul.” –The Christian Science Monitor

“A chilling, gruesome, brave memoir…Mathabane provides a straightforward, harrowing account of apartheid as it is practiced.”

Kaffir Boy won a Christopher Award for being inspiring and is on the American Library Association’s List of Outstanding Books for the College-Bound and Lifelong Learners. It is the first widely published memoir written in English by a black South African. When it first appeared in 1986, the book stunned readers in much the same way the Frederick Douglass’ 1845 slave narrative had, forcing many to rethink American support of South Africa’s white political regime.

Kaffir Boy was written in the United States, where for the first time in his life Mathabane felt free to express his thoughts and feelings without fear of imprisonment. The author-narrator, Johannes, is trapped in a terrifying world that robbed him of his childhood and forced him into the role of protector and provider for his younger siblings at an early age.

What gives Kaffir Boy its unique place in world literature is its central message that we are all human beings, and that the suffering of one individual leads to the suffering of humanity as a whole. Without bitterness or anger, Mathabane presents the facts of his life in a way that celebrates the power of family bonds and the value of a strong community.

A sought-after lecturer, Mathabane was nominated for Speaker of the Year by the National Association for Campus Activities. He continues to write about mankind’s pressing need to abolish, once and for all, racial injustice, intolerance and prejudice of any kind. He currently lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife, Gail, and their three children.

Also by Mark Mathabane: Kaffir Boy in America, Love in Black and White: the Triumph of Love Over Prejudice and Taboo, African Women: Three Generations, Miriam’s Song, available at Amazon.


Mark Mathabane touched the hearts of millions with his sensational autobiography, Kaffir Boy. Telling the true story of his coming of age under apartheid in South Africa, the book won a prestigious Christopher Award, rose to No. 3 on The New York Times bestsellers list and to No. 1 on the Washington Post bestsellers list, and was translated into several languages. Today, the book is used in classrooms across the U.S. and is on the American Library Association’s List of “Outstanding Books for the College-Bound.”

Born of destitute parents whose $10-a-week wage could not pay the rent for their shack or put food on the table, Mathabane spent the first 18 years of his life as the eldest of seven children in a one-square-mile ghetto that was home to more than 200,000 blacks.

A childhood of devastating poverty, terrifying police raids and relentless humiliation drove him to the brink of suicide at age ten. A love of learning and books and his dreams of tennis stardom, inspired by Arthur Ashe, carried him from despair, hate and anger to possibility and hope. His illiterate mother believed that education was the only way out of the ghetto. Her courage and sacrifice turned Mathabane’s life around.

Mathabane did what no physically and psychologically battered “Kaffir” from the mean streets of Alexandra was supposed to do — he escaped to tell about it. Tennis was Mathabane’s passport to freedom. In 1978, with the help of 1972 Wimbledon champion Stan Smith, Mathabane left South Africa to attend an American university on scholarship. In 1983 Mathabane graduated cum laude with a degree in Economics from Dowling College in Oakdale, New York, where he was the first black editor of the college newspaper.

After studies at the Poynter Media Institute and the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, Mathabane completed the manuscript of Kaffir Boy and went on to write several more books. He has appeared on “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” “Today,” CNN, NPR, “The Charlie Rose Show,” “Larry King,” and numerous other TV and radio programs across the country. His provocative articles have appeared in The New York Times, Newsday, U.S. News & World Report and USA Today. He has been featured in Time, Newsweek and People magazines. A sought-after lecturer, he was nominated for Speaker of the Year by the National Association for Campus Activities.

In 1989, Kaffir Boy in America, which continues the story of Kaffir Boy, was published by Scribner’s and became a national bestseller following Mathabane’s second appearance on Oprah. In 1992, Love in Black and White, a non-fiction book about interracial relationships and race relations in America, co-authored by his wife, Gail, was published by HarperCollins. In 1994, Mathabane’s fourth book appeared — African Women: Three Generations, which describes the struggles, relationships and triumphs of three South African women who were heroines in Kaffir Boy — his grandmother, mother and sister Florah. In Miriam’s Song, published in 2000, Mathabane tells the true story of his sister Miriam’s coming of age during the turmoil and violence that preceded the end of apartheid and Nelson Mandela’s election. His first work of fiction, Ubuntu, is a thriller set against the politically and racially tense backdrop of post-apartheid South Africa. His second novel, It Can Happen Here, tells the story of how a political candidate’s daughter thwarts the deadly plans by white supremacists to elect Hitler’s son president of the United States so he can usher in the Forth Reich.

In September 1997, Mark completed a one-year assignment as a White House Fellow at the Department of Education in Washington, D.C., where he helped implement several education initiatives, and led a fellows mission to Southern Africa.

In his latest work of non-fiction, The Lessons of Ubuntu, published by Skyhorse Publishing in 2018, Mathabane draws on his experiences with racism and racial healing in both Africa and America, where he has lived for the past thirty-seven years, to provide a timely and provocative approach to using Ubuntu, our shared humanity, to find solutions to America’s biggest and most intractable social problem: the divide between the races.

The movie based on Kaffir Boy is set to begin filming in 2020 in Alexandra, South Africa. Mark continues to lecture and be involved with his charity, the Magdalene Scholarship Fund, which pays for books, school fees and uniforms for students at Bovet School in Alexandra, South Africa. His website is http://www.mathabane.com.


Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New book on the shelves – Amie: Savage Safari (Amie in Africa Book 5) by Lucinda E. Clarke

Happy New Year!

Wishing you all a wonderful 2018 filled with great books to read, old and new, and of course, happiness, prosperity, and joy especially for you!


Resolution by Andrew Joyce


Click on the cover image to buy the book on Amazon

It is 1896 in the Yukon Territory, Canada. The largest gold strike in the annals of human history has just been made; however, word of the discovery will not reach the outside world for another year.

By happenstance, a fifty-nine-year-old Huck Finn and his lady friend, Molly Lee, are on hand, but they are not interested in gold. They have come to that neck of the woods seeking adventure.

Someone should have warned them, “Be careful what you wish for.”

When disaster strikes, they volunteer to save the day by making an arduous six hundred mile journey by dog sled in the depths of a Yukon winter. They race against time, nature, and man. With the temperature hovering around seventy degrees below zero, they must fight every day if they are to live to see the next.

On the frozen trail, they are put upon by murderers, hungry wolves, and hostile Indians, but those adversaries have nothing over the weather. At seventy below, your spit freezes a foot from your face. Your cheeks burn—your skin turns purple and black as it dies from the cold. You are in constant danger of losing fingers and toes to frostbite.

It is into this world that Huck and Molly race.

They cannot stop. They cannot turn back. They can only go on. Lives hang in the balance—including theirs.

Andrew Joyce



My Review




I never realised that Resolution was part of a series until after I finished reading it. It’s a perfect standalone novel, although now I do want to read the first two as well. Andrew Joyce writes a story that is pretty much impossible to put down once you get started.

Resolution’s heroes are none other than Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer, in fabulous incarnations that I can believe would be heartily approved of by Mark Twain himself. Tom doesn’t have a major part on this book, but the fabulous Molly – Huck’s love, makes up for that and then some.

Molly and Huck head off to Alaska on a grand adventure, and happen to be right there when the biggest gold strike of all time is made. They’re not interested in panning for gold though. Instead they find themselves up against both man and nature as they race across the snow in deadly sub-zero temperatures on a dog sled to get a man home by a certain very important date.

I was mostly on the edge of my seat – the action doesn’t stop, but there is so much wit, love, and just plain fabulous life in this story, I loved it all the way through. Andrew Joyce is the real deal, and an awesome storyteller in his own right, right up there with Mr Twain.

Smorgasbord Open House – Australian Author Fiona Tarr -Covenant of Grace Series

Just an Odd Job Girl by Sally Cronin

The Book:


* Click on the cover to find the book on Amazon Stores.

At 50 Imogen had been married for over 20 years, and was living in a big house, with money to spare. Suddenly she is traded-in for a younger model, a Fast-Tracker.

Devastated, she hides away and indulges in binge eating. But then, when hope is almost gone, she meets a new friend and makes a journey to her past that helps her move on to her future.

My Review:

Fabulously Real
By Jo Robinson on 4 Dec. 2015
Format: Kindle Edition

Just an Odd Job Girl is the uplifting story of Imogen. Cast aside aged almost fifty by her husband who chooses a younger wife to replace her she faces beginning life all over again. A new and most cool phrase totally to me in this book – the fast tracker – a great name for those gorgeous young women who forego the whole long term working to succeed in life together as a couple in favour of swiping an already successful older man from the woman who has put in all the years to gain the success.

Imogen’s self-confidence is low as it can be, but she heads off to a personnel agency that specializes in placing the more mature job seeker to see if they can help her find work in spite of her not obviously stellar curriculum vitae. Twenty four years of “only” housewife and mother. There she is interviewed by Andrew Jenkins, who rather than dismiss her on the basis of her tiny CV, encourages her to tell him what she liked or didn’t like about the few jobs she did have many years back before she stopped working in exchange for being a stay at home wife and mother. And then the fun begins!

I laughed so hard I almost cried a few times reading Imogen’s memories of former jobs and employers. She’s crazy in the most wonderfully inspiring way. Chasing thieves and fabulousness in a funeral parlour and dentist’s office to name only two of the places she showed her wonderful character and savvy in on her Odd Job Girl trip. The apprehending of the shoplifter just has to be read! In the telling of her own life, Imogen realizes her value though. While this book is a really fun romp, it’s also very poignant and touching. So many women around the globe really do get kicked to the kerb after years of thinking that they married their true love, and would be together forever. Generally they feel old and ugly, all used up and not much use for anyone or anything, let alone a meaningful career and life.

This is a book with a happy ending, and an inspirational happy ending at that. It shows that all is never lost until the very last breath that you take. It shows that everyone has fabulousness within us, and all it takes is to recognize it, grab it, and have a ball with the amazingly wonderful person that you are. It’s not all about age, it’s all about feisty and real. Five out of five stars and a very hearty one hundred percent recommendation. A nice one for the guys out there too – especially if you have ever been a target for a fast tracker. There’s a whole lot more to life than a little bit of nubile.

The Author: Sally Cronin

Sally Cronin

My name is Sally Georgina Cronin – I include the Georgina bit because a couple of my books were written back in the beginning as Georgina Cronin – it was my grandmother’s name and as a child I fancied it more than I did Sally – I announced at school age 9 and a little portly that I wished to be called that and instead I was saddled with Georgy Porgy until I went to secondary school as a very definite Sally.

However, on writing my first book-Size Matters – I thought I would give it another go but it has reverted to Sally Georgina Cronin especially as my books have evolved into E-versions.

I have spent a number of years in each of the following industries – Retail, Advertising and Telecommunications, radio and television and taken a great deal from each.

I have written short stories and poetry since a very young age and when I went ‘Indie’ in 1996 I combined my retraining as a Nutritional Therapist with this love of writing. I began with columns in the media in the UK and Spain, my own monthly newsletter and my first health book Size Matters which told the story of my journey from a very overweight 24 stone – 330lbs to a slimmish and healthier individual.

Over the last ten years this love of writing has developed into another eight titles, my blog and also into Indie Publishing in 2004.

Over the last ten years I have managed to fit radio and Internet television both in front of the microphone and camera and behind in a producing and directing role. So whilst I never became the UK Esther Williams I did get to perform without getting too waterlogged.

All my books apart from Just Food for Health are now in Eversions for Kindle and Epub and available here on Amazon as well as Smashwords and Moyhill Publishing http://www.moyhill.com bookshop.

My next projects are in process – a health book focused on care of the elderly at home, a people management development programme (in preparation for my return to work as a trainer when we get back to the UK) and a novel.

Connect with me on my blog.


The Bone Wall by D Wallace Peach – Interview with Author @Dwallacepeach

I finished my latest read much faster than I usually finish a book, considering my tendency to be the slowest reader on the planet, only because I couldn’t put it down. I had to find out more about the author who wrote the book that now sits way up there in the lofty favourite TWO dystopian fantasy books I’ve ever read. Not only does it speak of humanity, what we’ve become, and where we might go, it’s a fabulously addictive tale, told in that magical way that only the literary masters have, of sucking you right in to their worlds. Many thanks to author D Wallace Peach, for graciously allowing us access into her life and for sharing some of her fascinating thoughts with us here today. I’ll share my review of The Bone Wall first, and my strongest suggestion for you all to head right over to Amazon and buy it, directly after reading the thoughts of a truly awesome writer and person. This is one of those books that really opens your heart and eyes to our reality in the most enjoyable way. By the way – this is the first book I’ve ever read so far that has brought on an undeniable urge to create some fan art. I’ve already started on it, so watch this space for my vision of Rimma and Angel’s world.

Bone Wall Cover

Blue light ripples and crackles as the shield walls fracture. The remnants of a doomed civilization stand vigil outside, intent on plunder and slaves, desirous of untainted blood to strengthen their broken lives. With the poisons, came deformities and powers, enhanced senses and the ability to manipulate waves of energy—lightbenders and fire-wielders.

For those who thrived for generations within the walls, the broken world looms, strange and deadly, slowly dying. While the righteous pray for salvation, Rimma prepares for battle, fueled by rage and blinded by vengeance. Her twin, Angel, bound to her by unbreakable magic, seeks light in the darkness, hope in the future, and love in a broken world.


Amazon.com  Jo Robinson s review of The Bone Wall



Now meet the fabulous author herself, and much gratitude to D Wallace Peach for taking the time out of her very busy (and also extremely interesting by the way) life, to answer my nosy questions.

Author D Wallace Peach

1. The Bone Wall is the first of your books that I’ve read so far, and it blew me away with the imagery of possibility. What inspired you to write this particular story?

First, Jo, thanks so much for giving me a chance to chat with your readers. I love talking books and writing.

I’d describe myself as a happy, peaceful person with a despairing streak that occasionally demands a voice. Since I started writing, my books have become increasingly pessimistic and violent. I know it’s in response to the disheartening world news and a fatal case of denial when it comes to the health of our planet. I worry about the way our obsession with money reduces people to objects, statistics, and impediments to success versus intrinsically valuable, one-of-a-kind lives. The idea of being our brother and sister’s keeper seems a thing of the past, disregarded through manipulative reasoning and self-serving righteousness.

As an author, I often ask the question “what if?” and then follow that through, sometimes into very dark corners. The Bone Wall was a journey I personally needed to take; I needed to purge myself of all that anxiety and anger by laying out that dire vision of the future.

2. You have an obvious deep understanding of the human psyche, and while the setting for the book is so dark, there’s a definite undercurrent of hope. I’m hoping that this story isn’t prophetic like those of Jules Verne. Do you think that humanity can avoid an outcome like Rimma and Angel’s terrifying future?

At times, I think human beings are hell-bent on annihilation, and I truly do believe our current trajectory is unsustainable. We can’t kill our way to peace, or expect a poisoned world to sustain us.

That said, there are incredible people, ordinary people all of the world with amazing vision, whose hearts are led by compassion, who don’t make decisions based on personal gain. I read their stories every day in blogland and feel heartened! I have hope that when things get bad enough, reason will prevail. I honestly believe love is a more powerful force than fear.

3. The Bone Wall seems to be just a title until you read the book, when those three words take on a much greater significance. How did it come to you?

Titles are easy; they just pop into my brain. The book plays with the idea of “brokenness:” physically, mentally, morally, and spiritually, in human beings, communities, and the world. Bone walls became the tangible, psychological, and metaphorical graveyards we build when we act without compassion.

4. When did you write your first book, and what was it about?

I’m going to skip off on a little tangent here to describe how my first book came about.

Everyone knows that on September 11 two jets flew into the World Trade Center. I was working in Connecticut, about 2 hours from ground zero, and I remember sitting in a conference room, watching the second tower fall. That tragedy initiated a process of redefinition for me, an evaluation of what was important. Life felt short and precarious, and after 18 years in business, I started to wonder if it might be time to do something that actually mattered.

I quit my job and went back to school for a Masters in Pastoral Counseling and a mountain of debt. I worked for peanuts – but, Jo, they were chocolate covered! The human experience was sweet and rich. I had the pleasure of working with people who cared deeply about the challenges facing children and families, and I came to understand how the power of relationship, in all its myriad forms, can change the world. In my first book, Myths of the Mirror, it’s called the Belonging.

Then life got in the way again, and I made a move to Oregon. In a moment of loving kindness, my husband suggested that I write a book rather than work, and Myths of the Mirror poured onto the keyboard. It was a story I needed to tell, for myself and for the young women I counseled, and for that reason, it remains close to my heart.

It’s a sweet tale about choices and how our choices define who we are and who we want to be. I believe we have the capacity to write our own stories, and can often change the narrative if we are brave enough to do so.

In Myths of the Mirror, two young people, Conall and Treasa, face their fears, make new choices, and ultimately create the space in their lives for love. This all occurs in the context of saving dragons from their imprisonment in the lair. It’s low on violence and appropriate for YA and adult readers.

5. Do you write in more than one genre?

No, not at this point. Some of my books might border on science fiction, but it’s soft science.

6. Do you believe that writers have a responsibility to share their own truths with readers?

Not really. I feel called to do that, but there are so many different kinds of writers and readers. I love getting caught up in my stories and value the freedom I have to write what speaks to my heart and conscience. I want all writers to have that freedom. There are millions of readers out there for all kinds of books.

7. What are you working on now?

I have four books coming out this summer! Yes, four! The Dragon Soul Trilogy is a sequel to Myths of the Mirror. It’s been with my publisher for well over a year and is chomping at the bit for release. It takes the concept of choice to the next step with far more at stake.
I also have a lighter book, The Sorcerer’s Garden, set for late July. This one is a combination urban/medieval fantasy that was really fun to write and is full of adventure and sassy humor. I wrote it after The Bone Wall when I really needed a break from all that doom and gloom.

8. Do you have a writing den? Share your process with us, and any tips for those just starting out on the writing path.

I have a lovely writing room above my husband’s workshop where I’m surrounded by little bits of inspiration: pieces of nature and art. I need large chunks of quiet time to rummage around in my imaginary worlds and the heads of my characters, and I find nesting in my loft is just the thing.
I write from a fluid outline with plenty of room for the characters to tell their stories. It’s all loosey-goosey until the first draft is finished. Then I whip that manuscript into shape with a 7-step methodology for rewrites and edits that a drill sergeant would be proud of. After that, I take six months to run the whole thing through my critique group.

Tips for starting out? Oh, write what you love. Read, read, read. Learn everything you can about the craft and then follow your instincts. Join a critique group and embrace constructive criticism; it’s a writer’s best friend.

9. Tell us about the person behind the writer. What are your loves, and what are your loves not so much? What do you do when you’re not writing?

When I’m not wandering around inside my imagination, I’m a granny of a two-year-old overload who makes me laugh. As a volunteer, I support the arts in my town, and I would love more time to garden. I loathe housework and I’m a miserable cook.

Recently I’ve become an activist, fighting plans for the installation of a huge natural gas pipeline through the forests of my mountain home and through my town’s drinking water supply. I often put my characters in situations where they have to take a stand for what they believe in. It’s only right that I do the same; they wouldn’t let me live it down if I didn’t.

Told you all it was fascinating stuff! Thanks again Diana for joining us today, and off you zoom to buy this truly wonderful book. Hook up with D Wallace Peach from the links below, and check out her other books – I will be reading all of them and any more that arrive later.


Myths of the Mirror Cover Final



Christoph Fischer – Author Feature


This week I asked a favourite author of mine a couple of questions, which he kindly answered even while in the middle of moving house. Christoph Fischer was born in Germany, near the Austrian border, as the son of a Sudeten-German father and a Bavarian mother. Not a full local in the eyes and ears of his peers he developed an ambiguous sense of belonging and home in Bavaria. He moved to Hamburg in pursuit of his studies and to lead a life of literary indulgence. After a few years he moved on to the UK where he now lives in a small town in West Wales. He and his partner have three Labradoodles to complete their family.

Christoph worked for the British Film Institute, in Libraries, Museums and for an airline. ‘The Luck of The Weissensteiners’ was published in November 2012; ‘Sebastian’ in May 2013 and The Black Eagle Inn in October 2013. “Time To Let Go” , his first contemporary work was published in May 2014, and “Conditions” in October 2014. His medical thriller “The Healer” was released in January 2015 and his latest historical novel “In Search of a Revolution” in March 2015.

He has written several other novels which are in the later stages of editing and finalisation. I recently read one of his novels, Conditions, and loved it!

kindle cover

When Charles and Tony’s mother dies the estranged brothers must struggle to pick up the pieces, particularly so given that one of them is mentally challenged and the other bitter about his place within the family.

The conflict is drawn out over materialistic issues, but there are other underlying problems which go to the heart of what it means to be part of a family which, in one way or another. has cast one aside.

Prejudice, misconceptions and the human condition in all forms feature in this contemporary drama revolving around a group of people who attend the subsequent funeral at the British South Coast.

Meet flamboyant gardener Charles, loner Simon, selfless psychic Elaine, narcissistic body-builder Edgar, Martha and her version of unconditional love and many others as they try to deal with the event and its aftermath.



My Review


While Charles does have a mental condition in this story, the story itself is more about the human condition. So true to life Conditions is an intricately woven tale that shows how we often see the opposite of what is true, and how whole lives can be destroyed by believing only what we see on the surface of things. I love Christoph Fischer’s warm and easy style – he brings to my mind Joanna Trollope whose tales of real life issues and the things people do to each other without meaning to are favourites of mine.

Mothers are behind much of what goes wrong in the lives of brothers Tony and Charles. One wanting to be at her daughter’s wedding more than wanting for her daughter to have what she wants, and the other concealing a shameful truth. From the first page I was instantly immersed and invested in the lives of the characters in the story. Every one of them have enormous and distinctive ways. I loved sweet Charles all the way, and I pretty much hated Tony and Claire for most of the way – which definitely points at my own very human condition. From blindly hating on behalf of friendship to blindly loving a hateful man, this book explores the ways people see, and react to what they think is true.

Every incident in this book was great – they were all real to me. A beautifully crafted work of literary fiction, that I can find not a single fault with. I loved it, and I’m looking forward to reading all of Christoph Fischer’s other books. He has prodigious talent and a warm heart that shines from every page.


What inspired you to write Conditions?

The central conflict between brothers came from a funeral I once attended – not unlike the one in Conditions. I was shocked and fascinated by the hate and anger I witnessed there. It was a stark contrast to my family where sharing grief over a loved one has always reunited people and made everyone forget stupid arguments.

The characters in the story are so vibrant and real. Charles has some fabulous friends, each one of them now friends of mine too – especially the larger than life Sarah. I loved the way some of the others really made me REALLY angry, but in the end I warmed to them as well. Are any of the characters in this book based on real people, or did you make them all yourself?

Thank you. Some of them were initially inspired by real people but then the characters took on their own shape as the plot continued. For me this is one of the most enjoyable parts of writing: seeing how the story and the characters develop. Larger than life Sarah is based on a lovely woman whom I met only briefly on an airplane. She left a memorable impression on me and became Sarah without me even thinking about it. Unfortunately, I’ve met a few couples like Clive and Martha or Clare and Tony and although the characters are not based on any of them in particular they could easily be.

Will there be a sequel? (I hope so)

Yes, there will be. I’ve begun work on it and hope to release it in 2016.


How much of “you” goes into your stories?

Conditions was the first book that I ever wrote, so a lot of me went into the first few drafts (and a lot of editing work went into cutting that back out and bringing the focus onto the story itself). Friends who read the first draft said I was most like Simon (I disagree lol) and that influenced later versions, as I gave him his own life and different issues. All characters probably have something of me. Whenever I write a scene I try to think like that character and as a consequence of this they in turn will think l as I do.

What are you working on now?

I am in the last stages of editing my next book, a thriller called The Gamblers, which I hope to release in June. It is the story of an accountant with an obsession for numbers and gambling. After winning the Lottery his life changes, but not only for the better. He falls under the spell of a charismatic gambler and finds love with a stewardess but he develops deep suspicions about both of them and finds himself trapped between paranoia and trust.

Share a little with us about your writing life. How and where do you go about producing your stories?

How: Inspiration usually comes from an odd historical fact or a topic that gets me interested. I do some research and the plot starts to form during that process. As soon as I have the basic idea for the story I start writing (feverishly and consumed until I have finished the draft). The characters and plots often change throughout the process, so there are usually a lot of re-writes involved.

Where: I write in a small office overlooking the garden, with peace and quiet and sometimes a dog or two at my feet.

I know that you read a lot. How many books do you read on average every month, and how does this help you as a writer?

I guess that I read about 15 – 20 books each month. I meet so many talented writers, my list of books to be read is never ending. If I had the time I’d read even more.

Since I have started writing I pay more attention to how a book is written instead of being consumed by the story alone. This hopefully helps me to learn from the strengths and weaknesses of others and reflect on my own writing. But if a story is very good I get carried away and won’t even notice typos.

What is your opinion of self-publishing today, and do you have any advice for new writers not sure whether to go traditional or Indie?

Self-publishing is a very valid option these days. Although it is hard work for a one-man operation, traditional publishers don’t offer the same kind of deals as they used to and the author can lose their artistic freedom and control. By going indie (at least initially) you can prove yourself and you might eventually attract the attention of publishing houses. Both approaches can bring success and sales.

What are your loves, and your loves not so much, in general, and also about the world of books today?

I love that books can be published on demand or electronically. It removes a layer of control and limitation, enabling the consumer to choose what they like and what they don’t like. I think we need better and direct links to the readers, though. There are still a lot of unnecessary obstacles in the way. I would like to have more keywords registered on Amazon for my books for example.

I read fantastic books every week that somehow didn’t find support from traditional publishers, while I occasionally read others that are really awful who did get published.

I miss the feeling of holding a printed book in my hands and smelling it but I appreciate that electronic books are the way forward for the environment (and storage).

My loves outside the book world are the outdoors, exercise, meditation, eastern philosophies, sunshine, beaches, mountains, comedy TV programmes, my fantastic dogs, my amazing friends and my wonderful partner.

Thank you for being with us today Christoph!

Find Christoph Fischer at:


Easy Links to All C Fischer Books:

THE LUCK OF THE WEISSENSTEINERS (Three Nations Trilogy Book 1)

On Amazon: http://smarturl.it/Weissensteiners
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/527811
On iTunes: https://itun.es/i6LL9CF
Nook Book Link: http://ow.ly/LMhlm

SEBASTIAN (Three Nations Trilogy Book 2)

On Amazon: http://smarturl.it/TNTSeb
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/528300
On iTunes https://itun.es/i6LB9M3
Nook Book Link: http://ow.ly/LMhr1

THE BLACK EAGLE INN (Three Nations Trilogy Book 3):

On Amazon: http://smarturl.it/TBEI
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/528451
On iTunes: https://itun.es/i6LS63d
Nook Book Link: http://ow.ly/LMhvM


On Amazon: http://smarturl.it/TTLG
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/529334
On iTunes: https://itun.es/i6LB9MT
Nook Book Link: http://ow.ly/LMhyY


On Amazon: http://smarturl.it/CONDITIONSCFF
Smahswords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/529337
On iTunes: https://itun.es/i6LL8nt
Nook Book Link: http://ow.ly/LMhGM


On Amazon: http://smarturl.it/thehealerthriller

AT ODDS WITH DESTINY (Multi Author Box Set)

On Amazon: http://BookShow.me/B00SHYGG7C/


On Amazon: http://smarturl.it/SearchofRevolution

Banker’s Draft by Clive Mullis

Clive Mullis (1958 – and still going) spent his formative years in Hemel Hempstead and moved to Bedfordshire shortly after getting married. After thirty years as a paramedic he developed an emergency worker’s type sense of humour; a little bit black and a little bit off the wall. The consequence of this is that he enjoys writing quirky stories. And gorgeously quirky they are indeed! He is presently writing a second novel about Gornstock and its inhabitants, and I for one can’t wait to get my hands on it. In the meantime, below is more about the first – Banker’s Draft, and my review.

Clive Mullis

Private Investigators Jocelyn Cornwallis and Frankie are enjoying a quiet pint down their local when life suddenly becomes interesting; they meet Rose – and then they get a case.

A murder has been committed, and Cornwallis is brought in to solve the crime; but at the same time the secret police have got an eye on proceedings, so maybe things aren’t quite as they seem.

Full of quirky and whacky individuals, Banker’s Draft grabs hold of reality then turns it upside down before spitting it out sideways. A tongue-in-cheek look at life; but maybe not as we know it.

Bankers Draft

Buy from:

My Review


In an alternate universe out there, on a planet named Twearth, some brilliant sleuths solve a convoluted crime. Several crimes actually, involving dodgy, thieving and murderous bankers, politicians, and a vengeful dominatrix.

A couple of my favourite authors are Terry Pratchett and Tom Sharpe, and I’m a harsh critic when it comes to humorous tales – very few authors can get it as right as those two can. But as I read this book, I gleefully realised that I had found a new favourite author who easily slots in beside them as far as being able to write the funny, clever books that I love.

Jocelyn (Jack) Cornwallis III, together with his friend and sidekick Frankie, and gorgeous Rose (with ninja like abilities to defend herself), take on the case of the murdered cleaner in the accountants office, opening up a can of worms that leads them on some crazy dangerous trips to get to the bottom of the crime.

I loved the characters, especially the animals. On Twearth animals sometimes speak, and have jobs too. Polar Bear dock workers, and Fluffy the cat. I think I have a crush on that cool cat hero. The law enforcers and the psychic. I laughed all the way as our heroes worked their way through all sorts of hilariously dangerous situations, and grinned too at the ghoulish endings some of the bad guys met. I loved the love story within, and all of that naughty, the science of the Collider, and the risqué humour. It takes a genius comedic writer to get that right – the naughty bits, without being at all offensive.

All in all I loved everything about this perfectly crafted story – it was a crazy, funny, wild romp of a tale, and I highly recommend it to anyone with a funny bone.

Connect with Clive Mullis:

Amazon Author Page
Google +

#Read about Guest #Author Jennifer B. Graham

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

Jennifer B. GrahamMy name is Jennifer B. Graham, author of a memoir, An Immoral Proposal. My book recounts my growing up as a person of colour under South Africa’s apartheid regime. The story culminates in a forbidden, illegal romance with a white man – a big no-no under apartheid for which there was a stiff prison sentence of 7 years if caught and arrested.

Having all the elements of a good read, conflict, plot, intrigue, beautiful setting, colourful characters, An Immoral Proposal really wrote itself – it was a story begging to be told. In fact, I started writing it as a novel, but it rang hollow. I thought as the narrator I could hide behind the story, so that I didn’t have to get emotionally involved, but it didn’t work.

JBG 02When I ran it by a publisher friend of mine, she told me very gently and diplomatically that it stank!…

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