Author E. D. Bird (Zimbabwe-Southern Rhodesia-Southern Africa)

E. D. BirdQuote: “I was born in Scotland during 1955 and married in 1975. My parents immigrated to Zimbabwe (Southern Rhodesia as it was then) in 1957 and I have lived here ever since. I have two adult sons, the eldest of whom lives in New Zealand while the youngest, who has provided me with two grandsons, resides in England. I was divorced during 1987, but remarried the same person on the 20th anniversary of our original wedding date and we remain together living happily in Bulawayo with our two rescue dogs.

I am an animal lover and have over the years had a variety of pets including horses, dogs and cats, but I have to admit that dogs are definitely my favourites and at one stage had eight different breeds in my household.

I worked for a firm of attorneys for thirteen years and during the final three of those I studied law by correspondence, but was forced to give up my lessons after my divorce when I returned to my parents and joined the family business, a gold mining enterprise. Having been brought up in a rural mining environment and having been primarily involved in mining almost my entire adult life I have a sound base for the fictional events I have created in my books.

My favourite pastime is writing, but I am also an avid reader.”

Featured Book: Digby’s Diary by E. D. Bird

A delightful adventure set in the African bushveld of Zimbabwe.

The tale revolves around a gang of clever animals and two very brave young boys who make a daring rescue. The reader journeys through a series of exciting exploits before the experience ends with a twist in the tail.

The story is told by Digby, a standard French Poodle, using his very own style of writing.

Book Review: If your furry friend could journal, what adventure would be told?

In this charming story, a standard French Poodle named Digby begins his narrative by describing his homeland in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, southern Africa. He reminisces in a nostalgic way about his birth and early life with his mom and being part of a litter of five.

With both human and animal characters in this adventure the reader needs to be aware of doggy language usually kept private between furry friends. It is fun to mentally log the use of the dog’s conversation about human hands (paws) human man (two paws) and boys (young pups), etc. For an example I quote Digby. “Later that day I was sitting down at the bottom of the garden in front of the gate wishing it to open; I knew the young pups would not be back to clean the fish’s home for quite some time.”

A story for all ages as curiosity leads Digby beyond the gate. This adventure lends to new friends, danger, survival and heroism as these canines must work together with two young boys (pups) to rescue a kidnapped girl.

Author E. D. Bird uses the knowledge and love of furry friends to write this fast paced, hard to put down adventure that will warm the hearts of all animal lovers with an ending that will surprise you in keeping with the nature of Digby. I look forward to reading more adventures from Digby’s Diary in the future.

Theodocia McLean endorses Digby’s Diary by E. D. Bird as an animal tale that gives a dog’s perspective of the world on the other side of the gate. I purchased and reviewed this book from a Kindle format. This review was completed on December 18, 2015.

Genre: Action & Adventure

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Author Maggie Tideswell (South Africa)

Cold Coffee Press Spotlight Interview With Maggie Tideswell

Maggie Tideswell is a South African author with a passion for romance. All over the world people are falling in love, even the birds and the bees are doing it. Ghosts just can’t seem to leave her alone and she combines things that can’t be explained, sweaty bodies and rumpled beds in a way that will make your toes curl and your hair stand on end.

Maggie just can’t do without perfume, coffee and the internet. She is nearly as passionate about food as she is about creating alpha heroes every woman will fall in love with, just as she does, every time. The strangest thing is that cats have never played any kind of role in her stories, as she is owned by three of them. That might change soon.

Cold Coffee Press Interview Questions:

What makes you proud to be a writer from South Africa? I’m a South African author – and believe me, there are many of us! To the world, South Africa is a unique and exotic place to visit and I like to bring a bit of the beauty of my country and the diversity of the population to the world in my books. I write from a South African perspective in that my stories are set in my home country, which gives me a unique voice readers have commented positively on.

What or who inspired you to become a writer? The love of books. As a young child I was fascinated by the idea that someone sat down and wrote so many words to tell a story. >From early on I was always thinking up stories of my own, but it was only when I was in my 40s (2002) that I thought to actually write then down. I still love the feel of a book in my hands, the smell of the paper, the solidity of it.

Did your environment or upbringing play a major role in your writing and did you use it to your advantage? Not really. I grew up protestant and at the age of 16 shocked the family when I wanted to become a Nun. I did convert to Catholicism after I left school and later became interested in the Craft and Paganism, which plays a large part in my writing.

When did you begin writing with the intention of becoming published? I started writing in 2002. I remember the day well. I was working in catering on a weekend and, because there was nothing for me to do, I started typing a scene on work’s computer. I rushed home after my shift and wrote another scene. I gave it the title of An Absolute Bargain, which grew into Moragh, Holly’s Ghost. I suppose from the beginning I had an eye on becoming a published author, but I didn’t know how to go about getting published. It wasn’t until 2011, after writing 7 more full novels that my dream became a reality. I actually published my 2nd novel, Dark Moon, first.

What has been your most rewarding experience with your writing process? Holding my first published book in my hands. It was a profound moment complete with tears, racing heart and sweaty palms.

How many published books do you have? 9 of which 3 are out of print

Please list the titles of all your books:

Bridesmaids, Weddings & Honeymoons Series
1) Runaway Couple
2) He’s Married
3) You’re Wrong
2 more books to come in this series

Moragh’s Ghost Saga
1) A Convenient Marriage
2 more books to come in this series

Roxanne’s Ghost Saga
1) Goodbye, My Love
2) PS: I Love You – out 23 October

Moragh, Holly’s Ghost I self-published under the title A Convenient Marriage when the contract ended and the rights reverted back to me, so I’m not promoting Moragh, Holly’s Ghost. Dark Moon’s rights also reverted to me when the contract ended and is now a duology titled JJ:  book 1- True Colors and book 2 – Unleashed. I am self-publishing then next year March and May. I have the covers ready if you’d like to add them to the website in a Soon to be Released section? Oh, and Silent Night, a fantasy novella set at Christmas time – it doesn’t have a Christmas theme. I withdrew this book because I want to work on it. I want to work it into full-length book.

Please introduce your genre and why you prefer to write in that genre? I write paranormal (ghost) romance. I always specify that hauntings play a large part in my stories as opposed to what people normally expect paranormal to mean – vampires, zombies, creatures with tentacles and many rows of teeth. Ghosts create a fear of what cannot be seen – and let’s face it, everyone likes to be scared. Doors creaking open, sounds there are no explanation for, these are the stuff of true goose bumps. I am fascinated by ghosts, why some people rest in peace after death and others not. I’ve made a study of the different types of hauntings. Sometimes there is no way of interacting with a ghost as their appearance is more like a recording of a past event that merely plays over and over again in a specific place. The ghost in A Convenient Marriage is mostly this kind. Poltergeists – noisy ghosts – throws things around, slams doors and can interact with the living – the ghost in Roxanne’s Ghost Saga.

What one positive piece of advice would you give to other authors? My advice is two-fold: write every day and Never give up. Writing is a craft that has to be practiced to be perfected. By writing every day, be it a blog post, an article or work on your WIP, you practice your own individual writing style to become good at it. And the second part, if we had to go weak in the knees under criticism, not books will ever be written. Always bear in mind what you write won’t appeal to everyone, but for every story there IS an audience. Therefore, never give up your dream – it is achievable.

Who is your favorite author and why? I enjoy Barbara Erskine’s books, because she writes similar stories to mine – set in the present but going back in time.

Goodbye, My Love (Roxanne’s Ghost Saga Book 1)
by Maggie Tideswell

A love that cannot be denied ~ and a love that cannot be. Who will win? It’s only a matter of time.

Jessica James needs a new job and her only prospect as a nanny is with a remotely located veterinarian who only wants a “mature” candidate. But youthful Jess has faced tougher challenges, and she is determined to show the very handsome yet rude widower that she is the perfect choice to care for his autistic 4-year-old daughter, no matter how much he scowls.

Dr. Ben Arnold is still grieving, and not only about the recent death of his beautiful wife. He is still coping with the knowledge his profound love for her was unreciprocated. The demands of working and taking care of Amber, his autistic young daughter, have Ben overwhelmed and the last thing he needs is an insanely strong physical reaction to a nanny who is the first to seem to connect with his beloved delicate daughter – and the last he thinks he can handle in his life.

Jess is an unseasonal storm to suddenly sweep through Ben’s life, and may be the balm he needs. While strange occurrences all around them defy answers and explanations, the unexpected arrival of Ben’s late wife’s sisters, including her identical twin, on the one-year anniversary of her death does nothing to help dispel the intense and instant desire between Jess and Ben – and Jess’ glimpses of a life long past only adds to the surreal sense of the estate called Weltevreden.

Cold Coffee Press Book Review: Goodbye, My Love by Maggie Tideswell starts with a poem titled Goodbye My Love by Demis Roussos.

Chapter one opens with main character (heroine) Jessica James standing outside a spooky deserted house on Friday the 13th with lightening flashing in the distance. She was there to meet Amber who lives in her own autistic world and consider becoming her next caretaker.

With strong characters and twenty eight well written chapters the reader is engaged when an elderly woman comes to the door. Jumping ahead to chapter eight Jessica (Jess) was nearly killed when a huge chandelier crashed to the floor just missing her. What else would this old house scare up and why?

Here is a brief example of Maggie’s writing style. “The blue light of daybreak was just beginning to lift the gloom in the room, yet Jess was already bathed and dressed, her face shining without makeup. She had to finger comb her hair again, leaving it fluffy and wild, framing her face. When she pulled the drapes aside, she was greeted by a breathtaking sight. The mountains, a deep, crisp blue in the early light, looked almost close enough to touch.

But she was exhausted. If that was what Friday the thirteenth was like, she would avoid the next one by spending the day in bed with a book and her phone switched off. Yet she knew there had to be a perfectly logical explanation for everything that happened, and she was going to find it before she left this strange house. If she didn’t, she would be wondering about it forever.”

If you enjoy romance, time Travel, paranormal and ghosts, like me you will find it a suspenseful and satisfying read. Maggie is a well-established paranormal romance writer with the Bridesmaids, Weddings & Honeymoons Series, Moragh’s Ghost Saga (series) and the Roxanne’s Ghost Saga (series).

I invite you to open the door and keep turning the page. I leave you with this quote titled Friday, 13 November by Soraya: “To my candle burning bright Protect my secret here tonight None shall listen, none shall see Just the candle flame and me”.

I, Theodocia McLean endorse and encourage you to enjoy Goodbye, My Love by Maggie Tideswell. I purchased this book in Kindle and this review was completed on August 2, 2017.

Genre: Romance, Time Travel, Paranormal, Ghosts

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A Convenient Marriage: A Paranormal Romance
(The Moragh Saga Book 1) by Maggie Tideswell

A marriage of convenience, helpful fey friends, hidden agendas, and a haunting—can love blossom? Set in the beautiful winelands of the Southern Cape in South Africa, strange things start happening from the moment Holly accepts Joshua’s offer of marriage—in response to an advert placed in the newspaper by Holly’s ‘helpful’ friends. They meet for the first time on the steps of the chapel where they are to be married.

Holly has to solve a thirty-year-old mystery before the ghost that is haunting her will be at peace. Over and above everything that is taking place, Holly and Joshua do battle with her ex-husband over their two children, as well as Joshua’s fiancée who is not the least bit happy about his marriage to another woman and gets up to all sorts to show her displeasure.

Risky as the marriage between strangers is—is it possible for Holly and Joshua to fall in love?

Genre: Romance, Paranormal, Ghosts, Literature & Fiction, Horror

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Bridesmaids, Weddings & Honeymoons Series
Runaway Couple
He’s Married
You’re Wrong
2 more books to come in this series

Runaway Couple: A Passionate Paranormal Romance
(Bridesmaids, Weddings & Honeymoons Book 1) by Maggie Tideswell

It is said that the maid of honor and the best man are the most likely to have sex on a wedding night. Add a love-hate relationship and throw a couple of ghosts into the mix, and you have the runaway couple.

Eloise chose a Gothic themed wedding for her and Dane, complete with remote setting, flickering candles, flaming torches and shadows, all geared toward scaring the guests. The stormy weather and swirling mists were a bonus.

But the person most scared is the maid of honor, the bride’s elder sister, Piper. She didn’t do creep. Added to that, she’s been lumped together with Marcus, the best man and the bane of Piper’s teenage life. He was a prankster of renown when they were growing up. As the boy-next-door, he singled Piper out for the best he could come up with. She didn’t trust him then, and she certainly didn’t trust him now.

As the runaway couple, will they follow the traditional path? Or will Piper’s dislike and mistrust of Marcus win out?

Set in South Africa, the Runaway Couple is the first book in a set of steamy romances about bridesmaids, weddings and honeymoons that will appeal to the young and the young at heart alike.

Genre: Literature & Fiction, Romance, Erotica, Paranormal

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He’s Married: A Passionate Paranormal Romance
(Bridesmaids, Weddings & Honeymoons Book 2) by Maggie Tideswell

Eloise had the wedding of her dreams—all arranged and finalized within a month.

Now that the wedding night was upon her, her fears reared their ugly heads. Dane, her new husband was really a stranger to her. In hindsight, Eloise realized she shouldn’t have insisted they wait for their wedding night to have sex. It wasn’t that she was inordinately traditional, only that Dane should have been given a choice in the matter.

Because Eloise had a secret.

Dane and Eloise left for the beautiful Maldives on a two week honeymoon. In this idyllic setting, life threw her a curve ball.

Because Dane had a secret, too.

She would have put up with a number of things, but this particular secret could shatter her belief in fairytale weddings.

How was she supposed to deal with another wife?

Genre: Romance, Paranormal, Ghosts, Literature & Fiction, Erotica, Paranormal

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You’re Wrong: A Passionate Paranormal Romance
(Bridesmaids, Weddings & Honeymoons Book 3) by Maggie Tideswell

Assumptions are invariably incorrect. Yet, people will stick with what they believe. Just as Rubi believed herself to be married for six years, until it was proven that she’d never been married at all. Finding herself a free agent again after years of waiting for her elusive husband, Rubi needed a man.

Upset by the echoes of her sordid past, Nathan walked into her life at precisely the right moment. Handsome, hot, and gay, he could only be a temporary distraction, or so she assumed. But what she didn’t take into account was that Nathan might have other plans for her. Even so, she wanted the real thing—a relationship, stability, and love—and Nathan couldn’t give that to her. Or so she assumed.

To prove her wrong about him, he abducted her and took her to the place where they first met, at Dane and Eloise’s wedding the week before. Back at the lodge, they find themselves in the same haunted room. Between the ghosts and Rubi’s insistence that he is gay, would Nathan succeed in changing her perception of him?

To add to her doubts, there’s also the matter of a certain secret he’s not ready to share.

Genre: Romance, Paranormal, Ghosts, Literature & Fiction, Women’s Fiction, Contemporary Fiction

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Dark Moon – by Maggie Tideswell

A spellbinding novel of love, murder, and the supernatural.

Chance meetings can have far-reaching effects. Loved ones may not be who they seem. The line between comprehension and confusion is thin ~ particularly when one’s thoughts are being manipulated by another.

In Dark Moon, the eternal triangle takes an innovative twist into the occult as dark magic fights against those who serve the Light.

The prize? A woman’s soul.

Genre: Literature & Fiction, Horror, Occult, Audible Audio Books, Romance

 

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Moragh, Holly’s Ghost – by Maggie Tideswell

A marriage of convenience, helpful fey friends, hidden agendas, a custody battle that cannot be won and a haunting – could love blossom? Set in the beautiful wine lands of the southern Cape in South Africa, strange things start happening from the moment Holly accepted Joshua’s offer of marriage.

Genre: Literature & Fiction, Horror, Ghosts, Romance, Audible Books, Paranormal

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Fiona Ingram (Johannesburg, Gauteng-South Africa)

Fiona-IngramFiona Ingram’s earliest story-telling talents came to the fore when, from the age of ten, she entertained her three younger brothers and their friends with serialised tales of children undertaking dangerous and exciting exploits, which they survived through courage and ingenuity. Haunted houses, vampires, and skeletons leaping out of coffins were hot favourites in the cast of characters.

Although Fiona Ingram has been involved in the theatre and journalism, writing a children’s book–The Secret of the Sacred Scarab–was an unexpected step, inspired by a family trip to Egypt.

The tale of the sacred scarab began life as a little anecdotal tale for her two nephews (then 10 and 12), who had accompanied her on the Egyptian trip. This short story grew into a children’s book, the first in the adventure series Chronicles of the Stone. The second book in the series–The Search for the Stone of Excalibur–a huge treat for young King Arthur fans, is now available with Book 3, The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper, on the way. Although Fiona Ingram does not have children of her own, she has an adopted daughter, from an underprivileged background who has discovered the joys of reading for pleasure.

Naturally, Fiona is a voracious reader and has been from early childhood. Her interests include literature, art, theatre, collecting antiques, animals, music, and films. She loves travel and has been fortunate to have lived in Europe (while studying) and America (for work). She has travelled widely and fulfilled many of her travel goals. She was born and educated in South Africa, and has worked as a full-time journalist and editor. Her interest in ancient history, mystery, and legends, and her enjoyment of travel has resulted in the multi award winning The Secret of the Sacred Scarab, the first in her exciting children’s adventure series—Chronicles of the Stone. Fiona has recently completed the second book entitled The Search for the Stone of Excalibur, a treat for young King Arthur fans. She is busy with Book 3 entitled The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper.

Featured Book: The Secret Of The Sacred Scarab (The Chronicles Of The Stone Series Book One) by Fiona Ingram

The-Secret-Of-The-Sacred-Scarab-Book-One-The-Chronicles-Of-The-Stone-u2013-by-Fiona-IngramA 5000-year-old mystery comes to life in this exciting Middle Grade adventure set in Egypt!

A scruffy peddler gives Adam and Justin Sinclair an old Egyptian scarab on their very first day in Egypt.

Only when the evil Dr. Faisal Khalid shows a particular interest in the cousins and their scarab, do the boys realise they are in terrible danger. Dr. Khalid wants the relic at all costs.

Justin and Adam embark upon the adventure of a lifetime, taking them down the Nile and across the harsh desert in their search for the legendary tomb of the Scarab King, an ancient Egyptian ruler. They are plunged into a whirlpool of hazardous and mysterious events when Dr. Khalid kidnaps them.

They learn more about the ancient Seven Stones of Power and the mysterious Shemsu-Hor. They must translate the hieroglyphic clues on the underside of the scarab, as well as rescue the missing archaeologist James Kinnaird, and their friend, the Egyptologist Ebrahim Faza, before time runs out!

The Secret of the Sacred Scarab is the kind of adventure book boys and girls love!

The fast-paced action, the evil villain readers delight in hating, the secrets of the past, and the mysterious ancient setting make this novel a sure-hit favorite for all the young and adventurous at heart.

Ingram’s impeccable and fascinating research into Egyptian history illuminates the adventure and makes the secrets of Egypt’s past as thrilling to the reader as the boys’ dangerous encounters.

Book Review: A family holiday with Aunt Isabel and Gran to Egypt ignites cousins Adam and Justin’s quest for teenage adventure when a peddler who was showing the boys his wares, gives Adam several scarabs when he notices police. Unbeknownst to the boys, one of the scarabs has mystical importance in Egyptian mythology. With the scarabs stored away in Adam’s rucksack, their imagination tells them that there is treasure to be found.

With Eleven Book Award Nominations & Wins, enjoy outstanding story telling with realistic dialog that will draw middle grade and young adult readers into this action, adventure packed, suspenseful, historical fiction that rivals Indiana Jones. Boys will be boys and soon trouble will find them. Careful not to spoil the story, I quote a passage to whet your appetite.

“Quick as a flash, they dashed behind a marble pillar, trying to smother their giggles. “Now what?” Adam said.

Justin grabbed his arm. “I noticed a room leading away from the main hall. It was full of boxes and crates. The lights were off so no one was in there. Let’s go back and see if we can find something interesting.”

They retraced their steps to the small display hall Justin had seen. It contained several cabinets holding statues, and a few stone sarcophagi. Stacks of boxes and wooden crates lined the far wall. They wandered around, looking at the Arabic-inscribed labels and trying to guess what was inside the boxes. It wasn’t long before the sound of echoing footsteps sent them scuttling behind a large sarcophagus.

Two men walked in, speaking Arabic in low voices. Over the next few minutes, the voices floated around the room and then right past Adam and Justin’s hiding place, before finally disappearing near the back. After a moment of silence, they looked at each other, puzzled, and then listened a bit longer to make sure the men had gone. Then they peeked above the sarcophagus to check that the coast was clear before creeping out. They both looked toward the back of the room, where the voices had disappeared.

Adam pointed to a door standing ajar. The door was labeled with an Arabic inscription. “What do you think it says?” he asked, as they walked quietly to the door, giving occasional sideways glances to check they were still alone.

“Um … I have no idea,” Justin said. “It’s probably a notice for the museum staff. That door looks like a fire escape. I think those men we heard went down there.”

Justin pushed the door all the way open. A set of stone steps disappeared into inky darkness. If the men had gone through the door, then there was only one way to go—down.

Frightened and excited, they hesitated on the top step, unsure of whether to investigate.

Justin turned to Adam. “We should follow and see what they’re up to, but you know we’ll get into the worst kind of trouble if we’re caught.”

Adam gave a nervous nod.

Justin grinned. “Then let’s go. We just have to risk it.”

The Secret Of The Sacred Scarab (The Chronicles Of The Stone Series Book One) by Fiona Ingram is well researched. The book cover art and nine exquisite hand drawn graphics within the book are by South African Artist Lori Bentley.

Thirty-four riveting chapters packed with adventure will keep you turning the pages. Author Fiona Ingram continues the history lessons at the end of the book with a Readers’ Guide to Ancient Egypt that includes “Endnotes that will help book-lovers enjoy the story even more while reading. This additional material will increase your knowledge of the world of ancient Egypt, and help you uncover the meaning of the Stone of Fire and the secret of the sacred scarab. In this glossary, you’ll be able to look up information on words or ideas that you read about in The Secret of the Sacred Scarab. It will add to your enjoyment of Adam and Justin’s incredible adventure because there are clues everywhere!”

Theodocia McLean endorses The Secret Of The Sacred Scarab (The Chronicles Of The Stone Series Book One) by Fiona Ingram as a fictional story illuminated with history that brings Egypt to life for young readers. This first book in The Chronicles Of The Stone Series should be included on summer reading program book lists. The Search for the Stone of Excalibur (The Chronicles Of The Stone Series Book Two) is also available at Amazon. I purchased and reviewed this book from Kindle format. The review was completed on January 24, 2016.

Book Award Nominations & Wins for The Secret of the Sacred Scarab

  • Finalist Children’s Fiction 2009 Next Generation Indie Book Awards
  • Finalist Juvenile Fiction 2009 National Best Books Awards
  • Winner Pre-Teen 2009 Readers’ Favorite Awards
  • No: 2 in the USA Children’s & Teens Book Connection Top Ten Favorite Books of 2009 for Kids, Tweens & Teens
  • Winner Silver Medal Teen Fiction 2010 Nautilus Book Awards
  • Finalist Children’s Fiction 2010 International Book Awards
  • Winner Bronze Medal Pre-Teen Fiction 2010 Moonbeam Book Awards
  • Finalist Children’s Fiction 2011 Rubery Book Awards
  • Winner Gold Award Mystery Pre-Teen 2011 Children’s Literary Classics Awards
  • 2nd Place in the 2011 YA Sharpwrit Book Awards
  • Gold Medal 2013 Wise Bear Book Awards Winner

A Young Explorer’s Companion Guide For Book One is available as a free download.

Genre: Children’s Books, Middle Grade fiction (juvenile fiction)

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