Day 15 – Mark Fine

***UPDATE***

Here are the winners from Day 14 with Harmony Kent!

*1st Prize – Kim Cox – 1 year subscription on Jacquie Lawson e-cards

*2nd Prize – Beth Hale – copy of ‘Finding Katie’

*3rd Prize – Stephen Geez – copy of ‘The Glade’

*4th Prize – e-copy of ‘Slices of Soul’ – for EVERYONE who commented on her post! Isn’t she awesome??

(Michelle Abbott, Jennifer Hinsman, Jason Zandri, Clynsg, Nadege Nicoll, Bette A. Stevens, Yvette M. Callerio, Michael Lynes, Kathy Golden, Dianna Slowey, and NataCllie Ducey)

Winners, if I DO NOT have your email address on file, please email me at tsanderspublishing@yahoo.com to claim your prize.

Congratulations to you all! Now let’s keep the party going with today’s guest author!

 

***

When I joined BooksGoSocial on Facebook (an awesome group of readers and authors), my world of reading and authorship was burst wide open. I met incredibly talented authors, such as today’s featured one. 

I was blown away by the reviews I’d seen coming in for his novel, ‘The Zebra Affaire’, (read my 5-star review here), and just had to read it for myself. I was not disappointed!  The love story within is fiction, but many of the other events in this story are, sadly, very real reminders of just how far we’ve come as humankind. The writing is intense, riveting, and beautiful.

It’s my pleasure to welcome…

       

Mark Fine!!!

Mark Fine (300dpi) Print

Mark Fine was born in Johannesburg, South Africa. He has made the United States his home since 1979, living in New York, Minneapolis, and Los Angeles.

For four decades he has worked alongside world famous recording artists. He eventually launched his own award-winning record label, Hammer & Lace, with a mandate to produce benefit albums in support of such causes as breast cancer awareness, at-risk children, and wildlife conservation.

For these philanthropic initiatives Mark was voted by Variety magazine as the “Music Executive with 20/20 Vision.” He has also contributed articles to entertainment industry publications, and conducted public speaking engagements at multimedia events.

Now he resides in the South Bay, where he lives with his two sons, his “significant other” and Charlie, a neighborhood dog that drops in from time to time. There he wrote the historic romance novel, The Zebra Affaire. Set in apartheid South Africa, Mark brings an insider’s perspective to the gripping account of a bi-racial couple’s forbidden love.

Accomplishments

Launched anti-poaching campaign called “You! Yes you can be a Rhino Protector!” with the #RhinoProtector and this graphic:

rhino

 

 

ZEBRAAFFAIRE Cover613
(CLICK ON IMAGE FOR LARGER VIEW)

 

BLURB:

IT’S THE SPRING OF ‘76. For Elsa, her affair with Stanwell may prove lethal, as she’s white and he’s black, and they dared to fall in love in apartheid South Africa. The terrified lovers are the prey in a deadly hunt from the golden city of Johannesburg to the exotic but dangerous wilds of the African bushveld.

The Zebra Affaire is a thrilling fusion of romance and suspense—laced with rich South African history. The tension is palpable as the persecuted couple race against time and bigotry. Reviewers rave about this intimate, yet dangerous love story; that’s set against a canvas that is both vividly authentic and powerfully provocative.

 

WHAT READERS ARE SAYING:

“INTENSELY DAZZLING…NOT A BLACK AND WHITE STORY, A RAINBOW STORY WITH THE RICH COLORS OF LIVES IN TURMOIL.” – Elizabeth Newton, author of ‘View from the Sixth Floor’

 

“Profound, provocative and powerful — a book EVERYONE must read!”

– Michelle Medhat – author ‘Connected: The Call & The Shift’

 

“I can’t find words to express how deeply reading this book affected me. I would have given it ten stars if I could.”

– Gloria Antypowich – author ‘The Second Time Around’

 

“A book to savor slowly…appreciating each moment. I found myself re-reading sentences and whole paragraphs; such was the quality of the writing. One of the best books I’ve read this year.” – Jean Gill, author of ‘Song at Dawn’

 

“The story of Stanwell and Elsa really touched me. Racial discrimination was so dehumanizing. This book took me to the days of the liberation struggle, and I experienced the hurt as I read. It was a real privilege to read the history, a period of pain and hope, as seen through Mark Fine’s eyes.” – Thandi Lujabe-Rankoe, Former Freedom Fighter & Senior South African Diplomat

 

“More than a daring, multiracial romance set in a racist 1976 South Africa, that nation on the turbulent cusp of collapsing due to apartheid; The Zebra Affaire grips your soul and won’t let go. Never mind zebras, think lions, raw and roar.” –  Geoff Nelder, author of ‘ARIA: Left Luggage’

 

EXCERPT:

EARLY MORNINGS IN MID-JULY on the Highveld were gripped in the bracing chill of a Southern hemisphere winter. White frost dusted the parklands and lawns. These tiny ice crystals were destined to thaw as they faced a warming sun. However, in Pretoria’s corridors of power, matters had heated up considerably. The nation’s administrative capital was at full alert as a consequence of the Soweto upheaval. Though the mob violence had been contained, the threat still simmered.

The Soweto Riots had eroded the certainty of the ruling regime. They feared for their way of life. Despite their apparent insensitivity to the plight of other humans, the Afrikaners were great champions of wildlife conservation—and similar to the white rhino, a victim of senseless poaching, they too felt as if they were an endangered species.

An endangered animal is desperate. A cornered animal is dangerous. The ruling regime was both desperate and dangerous as they felt their grip over the nation loosening. The Soweto Riots invoked a regime dictate of zero tolerance. From on high, directives to the nation’s security apparatus adopted an apocalyptic tone—the end of the volk was imminent, and all threats must be stopped, now. No deviation from the law by anyone would be tolerated.

The Security Branch considered Stanwell and Elsa’s romantic entanglement a matter of national security; what was once considered a tawdry “domestic affair” became a public symbol of rebellion and had to be crushed. The couple had undermined a key principle of apartheid; the white minority’s dominance could not be eroded by the intermingling of the races. Another outrage was Stanwell’s status as a business executive. His authority over white employees signaled to the Bantu that they were the white man’s equal, and that was unacceptable.

The Security Branch’s first act in their campaign against the couple was plagiarism. They lifted the “Zebra Affaire” headline from the newspaper article that publicly exposed them, and made it the operation’s code name.

Their second action was to classify Stanwell as an enemy of the state.

⧑⧒

Malan Zander was delighted. Finally he had his marching orders. The mixed-race couple was now fair game, and it was time they suffered the consequence of their actions. He felt the buzz of anticipation. Others chose to be doctors, teachers, or builders in order to heal, impart knowledge, or create. Zander never understood that mindset.

As a child he found it more gratifying to demolish things, and as an adult, annihilation was his guiding light. Fortune shone on him when he found an employer that regarded the destruction of people’s lives a virtue.

For Zander restraint was an anathema; he’d much prefer bludgeoning the miscreants into submission. But his orders were clear: the Zebra Affaire must be handled subtly, as the world was watching. No killings, no public trial, no questionable disappearances—just make it go away. But for now just one problematic life required his immediate attention; he would deal with the girl later. As Stanwell’s crimes against the State were twofold, in business and in the bedroom, Zander had fertile grounds to create mischief.

⧑⧒

Stanwell initially dismissed the disruptions, strange repeated hang-ups or silence on his telephone at work, as a nuisance. But paranoia grew when he heard mysterious clicks and echoes on the company phone. It could only be the State’s Security Branch meddling in his business.

Then the threats started, and Stanwell’s worst fears were confirmed. Vulgar in content and vicious in implication, faceless voices with rasping accents vowed public exposure. All Stanwell’s claims of innocence to his invisible attacker were brushed aside with merciless laughter until he began to plead. At that point he was given a specific warning: Miss Elsa Marais would soon receive something in the mail. After that the calls stopped, but the pressure continued.

Two white men arrived unannounced at the warehouse facility. Their ill-fitting suits were a signal to Stanwell’s staff that they were members of the Security Branch. The visitors were seen speaking with Stanwell through the executive office’s glass wall. The three men leaned toward each other in a conspiratorial fashion. Their body language was clear—they wished not to be overheard.

After the men left, the warehouse swirled with rumors that Stanwell was a snitch working for the apartheid regime. In that cesspool of tribal mistrust, Stanwell’s coworkers happily accepted the allegations as fact. This placed Stanwell’s life in potential danger. A revenge killing by embittered colleagues was now a real threat.

Understandably, Stanwell was terrified.

 

Mark’s book is available for just $2.99 on Amazon Kindle!

EXTRA CHANCE TO WIN A GREAT PRIZE!

Don’t miss an opportunity to win a $10 Amazon gift card by subscribing to my blog. It’s quick and easy. Just scroll to the bottom of the page and enter your email address. Thanks! I appreciate the support. The winner will be announced at the end of the tour.

 

Interview with Mark:

What/who inspired you to become a writer?

My paternal grandmother owned a private book library in a suburb of Johannesburg. Her shop was always busy with clients scrambling dibs for the latest read, as she (a copious reader) gave brief synopsis of new releases–all the while stamping return dates on the front leaf of the book in front of her. And I helped, opening boxes of new releases, or bringing some order to disheveled shelves. Only is such an environment, where the written word was so revered, would my first notion of becoming an author take seed

Where do you get your ideas from?

My unofficial mission is to make history come alive, by been relevant again, as there are lessons to be learned (and repeated mistakes avoided). Strangely the events of recent history seem to be the first forgotten, so I don’t tend to forage beyond 50 years from today, now. I specifically enjoy the African continent; it is so easily misunderstood (or written-off), but it’s a fertile source of inspiration for a writer such as me that delights placing fictional characters in the midst of real events and people from another time. 

Do you have any tips for aspiring writers (writing, getting published, etc.)?

A topic I do have an opinion or two. When writing, I have two basic rules. First, prepare a three page outline. This is the map that provides direction, keeps you on topic, and defines the universe you are creating. Second, write the closing of the book FIRST. Sounds counter intuitive, but I think of it as the “closing argument” by the prosecutor in a court case. It has to be tight, concise, clear, and dramatic. With that strategy in mind, the writer will have a final destination, a finish to write towards. Without it, the author will inevitably wander down extraneous paths; and this is the biggest obstacle that causes many to never complete their book.

Is there anything you know now that you wish you’d known prior to getting published?

You must create an author platform by the date your book is released. This includes setting up a website or blog, garnering sufficient reviews, preparing your media kit with bio and book synopsis, readying the components for you Amazon Author Page, etc. etc.  Unfortunately, I only began addressing these issues late in the process when “The Zebra Affaire” was going through the final editing process. It has certainly cost me wasted time and some opportunities. I’d suggest (though easier said than done), try wearing both your writer’s hat and entrepreneur hat simultaneously. This way I could have allowed fans to witness the writing process; the research, book jacket design, before and after drafts of the manuscript, and type setting in real time.

What’s next? Are you currently working on anything?

“The Zebra Affaire” remains in part a living document to me. No, not because of mistakes, but my interests have grown since the book’s release. The story’s big showdown takes place during a safari in the African veld. I would like to add an anti-poaching theme as a subset to the main narrative. I believe it would play very well. And fit elegantly in the story with the tragic, sad focus on a rhino, hacked to death for its horn. (More pathetic and pitiful knowing that alleged mystical/medical benefits of a rhino horn are no greater than the cuticles on our hands). Being an independent publisher, I am free to make this adjustment—and insert these passages—without requiring consent from a cast of thousands. As for the page or so added to my novel, I will feel so much better about the cause-driven component it will add to my historical novel, “The Zebra Affaire.”

Do you have a book tour planned? Will you be appearing anywhere?

I am a fan of Book Clubs. Really enjoy the conversation with readers whom are already well acquainted with my work. It makes the nature of our engagement more intimate, as, instead of trying to pitch the book, I’m able to get down to the emotional, political, and societal issues that influenced the actions of my characters. And most of all, relish the personal feedback they kindly provide.

That said, I’ve never attempted a book tour. Frankly, I’m not sure how to go about it–but I’m eager to try. Any suggestions?

What are you currently reading?

 Alan Furst “The Spies of Warsaw”

 

BOOK LINKS:

Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B011PXSEWG

Paperback: http://www.amazon.com/Zebra-Affaire-Apartheid-Love-Story/dp/1512321028/

 

Connect with Mark:

Twitter: @MarkFine_author or https://twitter.com/MarkFine_author

BLOG: https://markfineauthor.wordpress.com

FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/ZebraAffaire

PINTEREST: https://www.pinterest.com/markfine37/the-zebra-affaire/

LINKEDIN: https://www.linkedin.com/in/markfineauthor

WEBSITE: http://www.markfinebooks.com/

 

I would like to thank Mark Fine for joining us today! Go check out ‘The Zebra Affaire’!

Be sure to come back tomorrow to see which author will be next! It could be your favorite

 

Here are our prize winners so far on this tour: (many have won multiple prizes!)

*Tamie Dearen

*Beth Hale

*Albina Hume

*Kim Cox

*Dianna Slowey Thomas

*Jason Zandri

*Karen Ingalls

*Michael Lynes

*Harmony Kent

*Jennifer Hinsman

*Bette Stevens

*Joan Woods

*Stephen Geez

*Kathy Golden

*Jennifer Stinger

*Nadege Nicoll

*Yvette M. Callerio

*Natalie Ducey

*Michelle Abbott

*Clynsg

 

YOU COULD BE NEXT!

 

 

Leave a Comment

(58 Comments)

  • Kathy Golden

    Hi Mark. Welcome to the tour. It’s great that you point out the importance of building some book buzz before the book is release. Traditional publishers know the importance of this practice, and more and more indies are starting to catch on.

    • Traci Sanders

      Thanks for stopping by, Kathy!

    • Mark Fine

      Kathy, honestly I constantly feel as though I’m trying to build a plane while flying it…from a marketing perspective. I do wish Indie Authors received greater regard from the traditional media though. There should be an Indie Author chart in every major publication to shine a spotlight on the terrific talent that’s emerging. That’s when all that early buzz can be truly leveraged.

      • Kathy Golden

        Mark, I don’t know if you’ve heard about it, but http://self-e.libraryjournal.com/ offers a chance for indie authors to get their books in public libraries. The authors aren’t paid for borrows, but it is a chance to reach a larger audience. If an author’s book includes an invitation to a newsletter or email list, readers can join these and become followers and paying customers for the author’s next or other books.

        • Traci Sanders

          That’s so nice of you to share, Kathy, thanks!

        • Mark Fine

          Wow, thank you, Kathy. No I had no idea. Will certainly check it out. 🙂

          • Kathy Golden

            You’re welcome, Mark and Traci. Kindle Scout is also an option worth looking into if you have a manuscript that hasn’t been published yet. I thought books were only selected if they were popular with people who previewed the required sample. But I read lately that Amazon does have the final say as to which books end up being selected. The main requirement seems to be a well-written and edited book. A book accepted into Kindle Scout receives a $1500 advance and is published by Kindle Press–to name a few of the perks.

            https://kindlescout.amazon.com/about#how-it-works-authors

        • Mark Fine

          Kathy, Appreciate your Kindle Scout suggestion. I looked into it, but alas, as I have already self-published THE ZEBRA AFFAIRE and derived money from sales, it apparently no longer qualifies. A pity…

  • Dianna Slowey-Thomas

    Having read your book it still is with me for its poignant portrayal of a country torn apart by bigotry and racial divide. Like our country during the racial upheaval it is frightening what man is capable of when their place of power over others is threatened. The timing was right to remind all people that color has no bearing on the way a person should be treated. I like the idea of moving to poaching as a continuation for the last of the great animals will not be here for my young grandchildren to be able to see in the wild. With your ability to make life come alive on the page you would be the best author to bring this to message to people who don’t realize how desperate the situation is. Thank you for your time, it was an honor to meet you. Traci, you keep outdoing yourself! Thank you.

    • Traci Sanders

      Well-spoken, Dianna! Thanks for joining us on this tour 🙂

    • Mark Fine

      Dianna, So very kind of you to share with me your thoughts on the book, and your belief in the anti-poaching effort moving forward. You have certainly motivated me to keep writing. Thank you so much.

  • Beth Hale

    Mark, The Zebra Affaire sounds amazing. The book seems filled with tense drama, romance, and political upheaval. I can’t wait to add it to my kindle.

    • Traci Sanders

      Thanks for coming by today, Beth!

    • Mark Fine

      Beth it is all of that, but it’s provocative too. It places the reader back in the late 70s at the tip of Africa, and in morally challenging times. I found it stimulating to write, and hopefully as a reader you will find it equally intriguing.

  • Harmony Kent

    Hi Mark, It’s great to meet you today and learn about you and your work 🙂 I have connected up with you on your social links, and wish you the very best of luck with everything. The Zebra Affaire sounds like another must read for me 🙂

    Traci, what wonderful author friends you have! 🙂 And I’ve gone over to Books Go Social on FB now and have signed up 🙂

    • Traci Sanders

      Yay! Glad to hear it, Harmony! Books Go Social is definitely a supportive group of folks.

    • Mark Fine

      Harmony I look forward to linking back to you. Sorry for my tardiness, but my pc chose to expire. Old Vista machine just gave up the ghost so “broke into” my son’s Windows 7 to catch up with you all.
      Traci is correct about the the cover change. Not really a change, as much as an effort to appeal to two separate readers; there are those that enjoy Romance/Suspense, and others are fans of Historical Fiction. I simply couldn’t find a single cover that appealed to both. So I decided to sleeve them differently (though the content remains the same). This was a trick we used in my old profession, the record business. Hope this doesn’t confuse anyone…

    • Mark Fine

      Hello Harmony,

      Looking forward to catching up with you. Thanks for reaching out on all my social links.

  • Jennifer Stinger

    Good Morning, Mark. Thank you for stopping by and sharing your work. I think I remember seeing the cover of The Zebra Affaire being discussed on FaceBook. I’ve added so many fantastic novels to my Kindle lately, I can’t wait to add this one to the list as well!

    • Traci Sanders

      Thanks for returning, Jennifer! Yes, Mark has done some recent construction on his cover, but the great content remains 🙂

    • Mark Fine

      Hello Jennifer, Frankly I’ve been both humbled and overwhelmed by the response The Zebra Affaire novel has received. I’ve especially enjoyed one comment that described the book in cinematic terms: “Romeo & Juliette” meets “To Kill A Mockingbird” in “Out of Africa” with a twist of “Born Free.” Personally, I believe that sums it up rather well. Hope you enjoy reading it.

  • Jason Zandri

    Hi Mark, It’s great to meet you today. I am a member of BooksGoSocial (although I am not as active there as I’d like to be).

    Great to see you here on the tour!

    • Traci Sanders

      Thanks for coming by, Jason! Books Go Social is a great place to network and gain new perspectives for sure 🙂

    • Mark Fine

      Appreciate “meeting you” virtually Jason. BGS has been a wonderful way to connect and collaborate with peers within this world of manuscripters.

  • Mark Fine

    Thanks Traci, and Harmony I look forward to linking back to you. Sorry for my tardiness, but my pc chose to expire. Old Vista machine just gave up the ghost so “broke into” my son’s Windows 7 to catch up with you all.

    Traci is correct about the the cover change. Not really a change, as much as an effort to appeal to two separate readers; there are those that enjoy Romance/Suspense, and others are fans of Historical Fiction. I simply couldn’t find a single cover that appealed to both. So I decided to sleeve them differently (though the content remains the same). This was a trick we used in my old profession, the record business. Hope this doesn’t confuse anyone…

  • Mark Fine

    Hello Jennifer, Frankly I’ve been both humbled and overwhelmed by the response The Zebra Affaire novel has received. I’ve especially enjoyed one comment that described the book in cinematic terms: “Romeo & Juliette” meets “To Kill A Mockingbird” in “Out of Africa” with a twist of “Born Free.” Personally, I believe that sums it up rather well. Hope you enjoy reading it.

  • Traci Sanders

    Mark has been experiencing technical difficulties this morning, everyone. He will be dropping in soon to answer any questions you guys have about his work. Thanks!

    • Mark Fine

      Back in action! Thanks for your patience, and thank you for dropping by. I’m ready for any questions you may have for me, about the writing process, about the experience of living in South Africa during apartheid, or anything else you may conjure up 🙂

  • Traci Sanders

    Wow, Mark! You are one speedy guy. When you catch up, you really catch up quickly 🙂 Glad to have you here today!

    • Mark Fine

      Thank you Traci. I’m impressed by the magnitude of your effort. And the generosity of spirit you’ve displayed. Clearly you value the notion that “all boats rise with the tide” and that if we support each other, we all benefit. I for one totally subscribe to the 3 Muskateer mantra, “All for one, One for All” so please count me in.

      • Traci Sanders

        I love that analogy, Mark (the tide)! Yes, that sums up my feelings about the industry quite nicely. I feel that I’m just as much of a success if I help others reach their goals, as if I had reached my own. Success is all about timing and making each moment in my day be productive, in my perception. Thanks!

        • Mark Fine

          Traci, I’ve been driven by the notion of doing at least one or two things a day to promote Zebra. I was able to sustain that for a long time. But recently I realized it would be great to take a vacation from it, so I took a week off. Turned out to be an excellent idea. I was getting stale. So my suggestion is to be good to oneself, and be self-forgiving, and take that break from time to time…without guilt!

  • Jennifer Hinsman

    Hi Mark, Great to meet you and learn about your accomplishments, along with your new book! Sounds like a great read. I’ve connected with you on Twitter and Facebook. Hope you have a great time today with Traci!

    • Traci Sanders

      Thanks for stopping by, Jen! You would love this book.

    • Mark Fine

      Jennifer, I will make it my mission to connect back via twitter and facebook. Thanks for dropping by, and your kind words.

  • Michelle Abbott

    Hi Mark. Nice to meet you and to learn about your book. I like your tips of writing a 3 page outline and writing the end of the book first. I would never have thought of doing that, but I can see how that could be useful and will put it into practice with my work in progress. I have followed you on twitter.

    • Mark Fine

      Michelle, pleasure meeting you. I have one additional tip to prevent an author from getting mired in their work. The initial instinct is to get everything down and into your book. For me this made sense, because I assumed that The Zebra Affaire would be the ONLY book I would ever write. So I felt compelled to throw everything in, including the proverbial kitchen sink. Then one day I had the realization that there was indeed another book inside me. I felt so much joy going back into the manuscript and removing massive chunks…and pasting them in an OUTTAKES file to be re-purposed at some later date. Nothing was wasted. I found myself with tighter, more focused manuscript, and momentum to go into my next project. Hope this is helpful…

    • Traci Sanders

      Thanks for stopping by, Michelle. Glad I could introduce you to Mark. He does have great writing advice to share.

  • Joan Woods

    Hello Mark. It was nice learning a little bout you. Sounds like a very good book.

    • Mark Fine

      Thanks for dropping by Joan. In some way THE ZEBRA AFFAIRE is a throwback (in the best sense of the word). My style was shaped by Alan Paton who wrote the seminal anti-apartheid book “Cry, The Beloved Country.” It was a searing heartfelt story about apartheid, but it was written in 1948! I felt the need to update the narrative, and as such Zebra is set in 1976. A lot had transpired between ’48 and ’76, and that made the story well worth telling.

    • Traci Sanders

      Thanks for stopping by, Joan!

  • Elizabeth Horton-Newton

    I cannot say enough good things about “The Zebra Affaire”! I was impressed with the beauty of the writing from the first page. A remarkable story!

    • Mark Fine

      Thanks Lizzy, really lovely of you to drop by. And say those kind things about Zebra Affaire. I’m still enamored with your “View from the Sixth Floor” — such a touching, and brilliant twist on the events of November 22, 1963.

    • Traci Sanders

      Thanks for dropping by, Elizabeth!

  • Bette A. Stevens

    Hi, Mike. Definitely adding THE ZEBRA AFFAIRE to my TBR. When you are ready to take your book on tour, I would be delighted to host a stop on my blog http://www.4writersandreaders.com Congrats on the fantastic reviews and thanks for sharing an excerpt and your interview. Best wishes. 🙂

    • Mark Fine

      Bette, that’s most gracious of you. Thanks! I need to educate myself a little further about these blog tours before I squander your hospitality. Warm wishes 🙂

    • Traci Sanders

      That’s quite generous of you, Bette! Thanks for being an amazing supporter of this tour 🙂

  • Mark Fine

    Hi, All,

    Sorry to be MIA for the past couple of hours. Broke a tooth and now sitting in the dentist chair with my maw stuffed with cotton. As for the assault of the drill, that thankfully has abated. The moral of the story is that popcorn is evil…and the cause of the damage. Keep comments cominh…
    Cheers

    • Traci Sanders

      Wow, Mark! So sorry for your luck today. We understand if you need to bow out for the day and recover. You’ve been a great blog guest. Take care of yourself first 🙂 Thanks for joining us today!

      • Mark Fine

        Traci,

        A new morning and my new tooth feels quite excellent! Amazing that in the dentist office, using extraordinary software and a kind of high speed lathe device, they could create my new tooth then and there! It was a two hour process but I walked out better than new, but with a thick, numb lip.

        Enjoyed myself yesterday. Wonderful meeting new friends and connecting on social media. Please count me as one of your fans.

        Thank you!

        Warm wishes, Mark

  • Michael Lynes

    Hi Mark!

    Very interesting subject and a great way to make it relevant and approachable for an audience that might otherwise never consider reading about apartheid South Africa. I have a very good friend, business associate, who is a native of SA and he and I have talked about those times (he is in his fifties and remembers them well).
    I am sure things are much better now but it is always good to keep history alive and give it a face and a voice.

    Best regards and good luck with the book!

    ML

    • Mark Fine

      Hello Michael,

      I’ve enjoyed all your comments on social media. Glad we roam in similar circles. I do think the topic is germane, but it goes beyond intolerance and enters the realm of valuing freedom of speech. The South African apartheid regime either owned the media or applied stringent censorship and security dictates to keep the population in line (both blacks and whites). Not having access to television, and only hearing the government narrative, we all too easily accepted the status quo.

      Ironically the new South African government is now doing the same thing. Oppression is no longer based on skin color, but on tribal affiliation and greed for power. Free South Africa is ironically an equally unhappy place. Such a pity.

      A truly free press and the freedom to truly express oneself (something us writers revere) is vital to a dynamic democracy. This freedom is now eroding in South Africa due to censorship and, ironically, political correctness.

      Keep well and let’s keep in touch.

      My best,

      Mark

  • Kim Cox

    I’m a bit tardy today. Nice to meet you, Mark! Your book sounds amazing.

    • Mark Fine

      My apologies to getting back to you a day late. See I’m also a tad tardy 🙂 Thanks for your kind words, and I do believe Zebra is a worthwhile read.

      My best,

      Mark

  • Stephen Geez

    Greetings, all! I support most of what appears above so well-said. All I’ve read so far is the sample, but Zebra is now in my Kindle app where it’s prancing about like a restless equine demanding attention. I liked your comments about outlining, as I often seem to be the outlier, an advocate of writing the book in one’s notes before committing to actually writing the book. I notice you’re still revising, though, so maybe next time you’ll discover the value in expanding your three-pager into a page or two per chapter as you keep refining. Your sample presents great POV, compelling narrative, savvy character motivation, and a dramatically interesting subject. I’m very intrigued, and I like what I’ve seen. Good luck on the tour and your ever-expanding promotional efforts, and thanks to you, Traci, for bringing another most-interesting-author to the party. I’m having a good time.

    • Mark Fine

      Hi Stephen!

      Loved your prancing equine Kindle app…you better show some attention to that demanding striped horse, soon.

      Regarding the outline, you have reminded of something I failed to do, but will certainly implement next time; To do character profiles or outlines. I had no problem creating interesting protagonists with fully fleshed out legends as I went along BUT I struggled with giving them their respective true voices until late in the process.

      It was only after each character was organically fully rendered was I able to complete writing each character’s dialog. I now realize that with well developed character profiles upfront, the dialog would have then formed organically.

      Thanks for reminding me.

      And thank you for your kind comments on the excerpt you read; most encouraging.

  • Tamie Dearen

    Hey Mark! You’ve sold me on Zebra Affair. it’s going on my TBR, for sure. Best of luck to you.

    • Mark Fine

      Hello there, Tamie,

      Thanks for dropping by. Sorry I’m responding to you a day late but I had this popcorn inflicted dental emergency that got in the way. All better now 🙂

      Glad you have added Zebra Affaire to your TBR list. Please let me know what you think of it…?

      All the best to you.

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