Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Art Crimes as Inspiration for a Thriller - Marked for Revenge by Jennifer S. Alderson



Today, I have the lovely Jennifer Alderson sitting round my pool talking about her latest book, Marked for Revenge. If you have not read Jennifer’s art crime series, then do take a look at them. Jennifer weaves a wonderful story that threads through the dark side of art collection and the ruthlessness of acquiring valuable artifacts by theft at best and evilness at worst. So please help yourself to a glass of bubbly, settle on a comfortable recliner and meet my lovely guest. 






When you think about art crimes, I bet the image that pops into your head is of a suave, refined thief in a tuxedo slipping in and out of a well-guarded museum without being detected.



In many ways, art crimes are glorified in films and television shows. Classics such as The Thomas Crown Affair, the Ocean Eleven series, and Entrapment, as well as new shows on subscriber channels such as NetFlix and Videoland, portray art thieves as sophisticated gentleman robbers who are more interested in outsmarting the police and museum security than keeping the artwork for themselves.

These representations are worlds away from the real-life criminal masterminds behind most art thefts. These aren’t art lovers or smooth criminals, but members of underworld organizations who couldn’t care less about the artist’s skills, painting technique, or importance to art history.

Clervaux Castle in Luxembourg.
According to Interpol, the majority of paintings and sculptures stolen from private homes and museums in Western Europe make their way to Eastern Europe, where they are further handled. These pieces are resold to louche dealers who sell it on to unsuspecting clients, are sometimes forged and resold as two originals, or used as a down payment for a drugs or arms deal.

Ironically, the skyrocketing value of modern art in the 1990s is to blame. When record-breaking auction sales of Picassos, Van Goghs, Monets, Warhols, and the like began making international news, criminal organizations took note. Quite soon the same kinds of paintings earning millions at auction were being stolen from European and American museums.

Marmaris Castle in Turkey.
As a mystery author passionate about art history, using this connection between the Eastern European criminal underworld and Western art museums as the basis for my latest novel, Marked for Revenge, was an obvious choice.

While writing this thriller about forgeries, museum thefts, and organized crime, I didn’t have trouble finding real world examples from which to draw inspiration for my characters. When searching for underworld organizations specializing in art crimes, I discovered several known gangs existed. Scary gangs with silly names such as Group Amerika and Arkan’s Tigers topped my newspaper and internet searches.

Canal in Venice, Italy.
One stood out among the rest – a gang Interpol has dubbed the ‘Balkan Bandits’ and ‘Pink Panthers’. Why two names? The first is because Interpol suspects most of the criminals in this network are based out of Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro, and Bosnia and Hertzegotava. The group earned the second name after they successfully executed a robbery they copied from a Pink Panther film.
Interpol suspects this ring of jewel, art and antiquities thieves of committing more than two-hundred audacious crimes during which they stole around four-hundred million euros worth of jewels, antiques, and artwork from private homes, museums, galleries, and monuments spread across Europe. And when I say audacious, I mean it. Think speed boats, hang gliders, helicopters, rappelling, and the like.

Interpol believes Pink Panther’s network consists of twenty to thirty experienced thieves, with facilitators in various cities providing logistical assistance. Other sources estimate there are up to two-hundred and fifty members active in this criminal organization. Who exactly these criminals work for – and whether the Balkan Bandits is really one or several of the crime families based in the Balkans – is still a mystery.

This group provided the perfect example of how Robber Hood, my fictional gang of art thieves, would operate.

As long as artwork fetches millions, art crimes will be big business. As an art lover, I am saddened by this situation. As a mystery author, these kinds of thefts provide endless inspiration for future, art-related mysteries.



Marked for Revenge: An Art Heist Thriller

An adrenaline-fueled adventure set in the Netherlands, Croatia, Italy, and Turkey about stolen art, the mafia, and a father’s vengeance.

When researcher Zelda Richardson begins working at a local museum, she doesn’t expect to get entangled with an art theft, knocked unconscious by a forger, threatened by the mob, or stalked by drug dealers.


To make matters worse, a Croatian gangster is convinced Zelda knows where a cache of recently pilfered paintings is. She must track down an international gang of art thieves and recover the stolen artwork in order to save those she loves most.

The trouble is, Zelda doesn’t know where to look. Teaming up with art detective Vincent de Graaf may be her only hope at salvation.

The trail of clues leads Zelda and Vincent on a pulse-pounding race across Europe to a dramatic showdown in Turkey that may cost them their lives.

Available for purchase as eBook and paperback on Amazon: http://getbook.at/MarkedForRevenge




About the Author

Zelda’s home in Amsterdam, a monumental building named Het Sieraad.

Jennifer S. Alderson was born in San Francisco, raised in Seattle, and currently lives in Amsterdam. After traveling extensively around Asia, Oceania, and Central America, she moved to Darwin, Australia, before finally settling in the Netherlands. Jennifer’s love of travel, art, and culture inspires her award-winning, internationally oriented mystery series—the Zelda Richardson Mystery Series—and standalone stories. Her background in journalism, multimedia development, and art history enriches her novels. When not writing, she can be found in a museum, biking around Amsterdam, or enjoying a coffee along the canal while planning her next research trip.


Social media link:




Monday, 13 May 2019

A True Story - Running Kind by Christine Stovell

Am I the running kind? I'm not sure, but I would like to think I am. I started running around five years ago at the tender age of sixty. I’m not, yet, into marathons or even half marathons, though I would like to think, one day, I could run the London Marathon. So far I have ran in several 10km races. My PB in a race was 1 hour 13 seconds. I think this will remain my PB for a very long time…! Today I am honoured to have the lovely Christine Stovell sitting round my pool talking about how slipping on a pair of trainers changed her life. Her latest book, Running Kind, is a true story, and at times, an emotional one, but more importantly it is an inspirational story for everyone and demonstrates no matter what life throws at you, you can find a way back. So please make yourself comfortable, help yourself to a glass of bubbly and meet my wonderful guest, Christine



I know I’ve said it before and I’ll definitely say it again, but the biggest favour I ever did myself was to become a runner. That’s the reason why I try to encourage other people to become the running kind.



I was at my absolute rock bottom when I attempted my first run… I’d like to say everything changed at that point, but, sadly, that first run was a complete disaster! I never lost the feeling though that I could become the running kind and when a friend inspired me to join a women’s running club, The Epsom Allsorts Ladies Running Club, I gradually grew in confidence and rediscovered my self-esteem. The club brought me laughter, friendship, joy and instilled a love of running which, over twenty years, has taken me from running scared to running half marathons. Running has carried me through some of the most difficult moments of my life and enhanced the happiest times.


It’s not just me though; when a parkrun was set up in my part of West Wales, I joined in and became part of the growing parkrun movement. These free, weekly 5k timed runs are open to everyone. People of all abilities are encouraged to take part; you can walk, run at whatever pace suits you or help out by volunteering for any of the tasks which make a parkrun event possible. It’s an absolute joy to watch people who certainly don’t think of themselves as runners, blossoming, growing and becoming more confident every week - their smiles say it all.


That’s all very well, you might say, but what if I don’t have a parkrun or can’t get to it? There were no parkruns when I started running, I gradually found my own feet, and that’s part of the reason I decided to write, Running Kind. By sharing my very personal story of my enduring love affair with running, I’m hoping to encourage others to lace up their trainers and give it go. My message is that running really doesn’t have to hurt; listen to your body, run when you can and when you want to and discover what works for you - all you have to do is take one step, and then a second.


Blurb:
Christine Stovell didn’t think she was the running kind. Running, she believed, was for elite athletes and hardcore fitness freaks. Then, after causing a local scandal, she found herself hiding in her parents’ loft with her two young daughters and decided to try running as a means of escape. That attempt ended so painfully it was four years before she felt brave enough to try another run.

Christine's story takes her from running scared to running half marathons. In twenty years, she’s run through sad, bad and good times and dealt with everything from territorial pheasants to scary loos. 
Above all, she’s discovered not only that running doesn’t have to hurt, but that it has a great capacity to heal

If you’ve ever been tempted to try running but think it isn’t for you, Christine’s experience might just convince you that you too can become the running kind.



About the author: Christine Stovell
Setting sail, with her husband, from a sleepy seaside resort in a vintage wooden boat provided Christine Stovell with the inspiration for her ‘Little Spitmarsh’ series of novels, but never cured her seasickness although she continues to sail.

Christine lives on the beautiful west Wales coast where long-distance running helps her plan her plots and inspired her to write her running guide, 'Running Kind'. Half marathons, she thinks, especially when the going gets tough, are like the writing process; both begin with small steps.


Here is the link to buy your Kindle copy...

As well as writing long and short contemporary fiction and poetry, Christine has written features for various magazines and is a regular contributor to The English Home magazine.
Twitter: @chrisstovell
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/chrisstovell/

Saturday, 11 May 2019

Saturday Poster

Whilst I'm working on the edits of my latest book, The Birthday Card, I thought it would be great to share some of the posters I've created for my other six books. 

This week I'm showing off a video which I hope will bring out the sunshine... shades on!










Until next time, take care and I hope the sun is shining on your face and in your heart.


Pauline x 

Saturday, 27 April 2019

Saturday Poster

Whilst I'm working on the edits of my latest book, The Birthday Card (working title), I thought it would be great to share some of the posters I've created for my other six books. 

This week I'm showing off a few of the street posters ...








Until next time, take care and I hope the sun is shining on your face and in your heart.


Pauline x 

Saturday, 13 April 2019

Saturday Poster

Whilst I'm working on the edits of my latest book, The Birthday Card (working title), I thought it would be great to share some of the posters I've created for my other six books. 

I Hope you enjoy these as much as you enjoyed the photos on Saturday Snap!


Sometimes turning a page is emotional...





Until next time, take care and I hope the sun is shining on your face and in your heart.


Pauline x 

Sunday, 7 April 2019

On Tour - Dyed Souls by Gary Santorella

Sometimes you meet someone who goes that extra mile to be kind and thoughtful, someone who stands out against the crowd and makes all the hard work running an Award Programme worthwhile, Gary Santorella is one of those persons. I first met Gary when he submitted his book, Dyed Souls to Chill with a Book.  This is what Chill readers had to say about Dyed Souls…





Absolutely brilliant!!!

I would give this novel 100 points if it were possible.
Superbly written though very disturbing. I loved the quotes from Darwins theories and Charlie’s thought about God, his knowledge learnt from his Grandfather and simply the boy himself.

This novel is so authentic that I am 100% certain it is not simply non-fiction. As stated above extremely disturbing but a book that everyone should read. I doubt very little it maybe people will see what damage is done to young souls by such treacherous crimes.
Being an avid reader it will take a long time to find a book that is up to the standard of Dyed Souls.

CONGRATULATIONS!!!!

I really enjoyed this one. I very much liked the characters and felt their pain throughout the reading of it.  I liked the writing style, the story went deep, obviously very well researched – or very autobiographical. It caused me to think which is always a welcome outcome of any book. I like being thought provoked and this one did that for me. It shows you a different view of life and causes you to look more kindly at people who don’t follow your own way of doing things, of what you think is right. I recommend this book.




Running an Award Programme is hard work and takes far too many hours to keep it all running smoothly, sadly not all authors who submit are polite, some are down right rude. Thank you again Gary for all you kind words and thoughtfulness and encouragement. Wishing you a fabulous time with the tour.



Dyed Souls is now on tour and I know it will be an outstanding success. You can catch up at these fabulous Blog spots…





Tour Dates Blog Name Blog URL

06-Apr northernreader www.northernreader.wordpress.com

06-Apr Splashes Into Books http://splashesintobooks.wordpress.com

06-Apr In de Boekenkast https://indeboekenkast.wordpress.com

07-Apr Reflections of a Reader https://reflectionsofareader.blogspot.co.uk 

07-Apr Radzy Writes vainradical.co.uk

07-Apr Seansbookreviews Seansbookreviews.com

08-Apr Cup of Toast https://cupoftoast.co.uk

08-Apr The Spoonie Mummy www.thespooniemummy.com

08-Apr donnasbookblog https://donnasbookblog.wordpress.com/

09-Apr B for bookreview Bforbookreview.wordpress.com

09-Apr Cheryl M-M's Book Blog https://mmcheryl.wordpress.com/

09-Apr The Divine Write www.thedivinewrite.co.uk

10-Apr A Bookworms view https://orlando-books.blog

10-Apr Books and Geekiness Booksandgeekiness.co.uk

10-Apr A Story About a Girl csheldonblog.wordpress.com

11-Apr The Magic Of Wor(l)ds https://themagicofworlds.wordpress.com/

11-Apr OBC Mini Reviewers https://obcminireviewers.wordpress.com/

11-Apr Wall-to-wall books https://wall-to-wall-books.blogspot.com/

12-Apr Thebigfatbookworm Https://Thebigfatbookworm.wordpress.com

12-Apr Jazzy Book Reviews http://bookreviewsbyjasmine.blogspot.com

12-Apr WWBB https://louisewise.blogspot.co.uk/

13-Apr foundinwords www.foundinwords.wix.com/site

13-Apr Jessica Rachow Jessicarachow.wordpress.com

13-Apr Audio Killed the Bookmark https://audiokilledthebookmark.com/

14-Apr Mai's Musings https://maitaylor567291325.wordpress.com

14-Apr Becca’s Books http://www.beccamcculloch.com/blog

14-Apr Chat About Books chataboutbooks.wordpress.com

15-Apr Joyful Antidotes Joyfulantidotes.com

15-Apr Doublestackedshelves https://doublestackedshelves.com

15-Apr From Under the Duvet https://fromundertheduvet.wordpress.com/


Thank you for stopping by and finding out about Dyed Souls.
Until next time, take care and I hope the sun is shining on your face and in your heart.




Pauline x 

Saturday, 6 April 2019

Saturday Poster

Whilst I'm working on the edits of my latest book, The Birthday Card (working title), I thought it would be great to share some of the posters I've created for my other six books. 

I Hope you enjoy them as much as you enjoyed the photos on Saturday Snap!





Until next time, take care and I hope the sun is shining on your face and in your heart.


Pauline x 

Saturday, 30 March 2019

Saturday Poster!

Whilst I'm working on the edits of my latest book, The Birthday Card (working title), I thought it would be great to share some of the posters I've created for my other six books. 

I Hope you enjoy them as much as you enjoyed the photos on Saturday Snap!





Until next time, take care and I hope the sun is shining on your face and in your heart.


Pauline x 

Wednesday, 6 March 2019

The End!


I've just typed, THE END on my latest novel.

Phew!

Now beings the real work, edits edits edits....

Saturday, 2 March 2019

Saturday Snap!

On this week's Saturday Snap - now that is what you call a diamond!






You can also keep up with my pictures on Instagram @paulinebarclay

Until next time, take care and I hope the sun is shining on your face and in your heart.


Pauline x 

Saturday, 23 February 2019

Saturday Snap!

On this week's Saturday Snap this seagull is as large as a small dog!




You can also keep up with my pictures on Instagram @paulinebarclay

Until next time, take care and I hope the sun is shining on your face and in your heart.


Pauline x 

Saturday, 16 February 2019

Saturday Snap!

On this week's Saturday Snap a photo I took many years ago...




You can also keep up with my pictures on Instagram @paulinebarclay

Until next time, take care and I hope the sun is shining on your face and in your heart.


Pauline x 

Saturday, 9 February 2019

Saturday Snap!

On this week's Saturday Snap I'm sharing a poster I designed using Photoshop Elements 13




You can also keep up with my pictures on Instagram @paulinebarclay

Until next time, take care and I hope the sun is shining on your face and in your heart.


Pauline x 

Saturday, 2 February 2019

Saturday Snap!

On this week's Saturday Snap it's Seagulls wheeling in the February sunshine






You can also keep up with my pictures on Instagram @paulinebarclay

Until next time, take care and I hope the sun is shining on your face and in your heart.


Pauline x 

Saturday, 26 January 2019

Saturday Snap!

On this week's Saturday Snap it's Barney...






You can also keep up with my pictures on Instagram @paulinebarclay

Until next time, take care and I hope the sun is shining on your face and in your heart.


Pauline x 

Saturday, 19 January 2019

Saturday Snap!

On this week's Saturday Snap a view over Oulton Broad






You can also keep up with my pictures on Instagram @paulinebarclay

Until next time, take care and I hope the sun is shining on your face and in your heart.


Pauline x 

Saturday, 12 January 2019

Saturday Snap!

On this week's Saturday Snap it's a picture taken in Lowestoft, Suffolk






You can also keep up with my pictures on Instagram @paulinebarclay

Until next time, take care and I hope the sun is shining on your face and in your heart.


Pauline x 

Saturday, 5 January 2019

Saturday Snap!

On this week's Saturday Snap it's a picture taken in Utrecht, the Netherlands






You can also keep up with my pictures on Instagram @paulinebarclay

Until next time, take care and I hope the sun is shining on your face and in your heart.


Pauline x