Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Viva La Print Books with Astraea Press Author: Zanna Mackenzie

Meet author Zanna Mackenzie 
today at the Book Boost!

**All month long at the Book Boost we're featuring my fellow Astraea Press authors. Come back each day for more and be entered to win a Digital Reader Prize Pack (see below for details)!**

When I found out it was National March Into Literacy month, quite naturally it set me to thinking about books. I love, love, love books and have done since I was a child. The trip to the shops as a kid to spend my pocket money/allowance always ended up with me choosing a comic or a book–remember Enid Blyton’s The Famous Five and The Secret Seven? Nowadays when I want a little pick-me-up treat I don’t go for chocolate, clothes, shoes, wine or make-up, I still go for books–just a few pounds spent and all that excitement of a new world and new characters to discover, truly amazing value for money I always think.

If a book has an ultra-pretty cover which I can gaze upon as well as having the excitement of discovering the story inside it, then ever better! I love that new book smell and the feeling when you first open a book and "crack" the spine to get the pages ready to start reading. I love perusing my book shelves to choose which book I want to read next, taking in all the colours of the covers, their designs, the books grouped into my favourite authors.

All of which brings me to e-books, now I know this is probably a bit controversial but I still prefer to hold a "real" paperback book in my hands any day rather than an e-book on Kindle, etc. I know e-books have revolutionized the world of books and publishing and they offer many advantages over a conventional book such as:
  • Instant downloads, brilliant for those who are impatient (me included!)
  • Exceptional value for money
  • The books are quickly and easily accessible to everyone, no matter where they live
But to me there are downsides too:
  • I don’t get to hold that new book in my hands, a proper paperback book complete with a pretty cover
  • I don’t get to line the book up on my shelves once I’ve read it, and peruse it and all the others when I want to, picking out favourites at a glance
  • I don’t get to choose a beautiful bookmark from my collection to use with my current book of choice
I don’t own a Kindle or any of the other devices but because I realized I was missing out on some terrific books I did download the free Kindle app via Amazon to my home computer so that I can read and enjoy e-books.  I guess in years to come the "real" book will probably go the same way as vinyl records and video cassettes and become obsolete and personally I think that will be a sad day and a great shame.

I, for one, will mourn their loss from the world of books whilst gazing upon my treasured bookshelves. Does anyone else still prefer "real books" or am I alone in this?

A Note from the Book Boost:  I'm a fan of both formats, but I hope that paperback books won't disappear in my lifetime anyway.  Thanks for the thoughtful post and please tell us more about your book!


Thanks to an embarrassing incident involving a wedding and her ex-boyfriend Marcus, Lucy has to leave her home town in a hurry and needs a place to escape to for a while.

Best friend Fiona is convinced now would be a good time for Lucy to get herself a new life with some potential for romance thrown in. Fate seems to agree when Lucy is given the once-in-a-lifetime chance to star in a TV show and be a contestant on The Love Programme-two weeks of luxury living on a grand Highland estate coupled with, she hopes, fun and romance in wildest Scotland.

When Lucy meets Paul - the young, handsome owner of the Highland estate-she thinks she may have found the love of her life but who is the mysterious Hannah and what part does she play in his life?

When she discovers that Marcus is planning to follow her to Scotland to win her back Lucy has some serious soul searching to do. Does she have a future with Paul, with Marcus or is she yet to find the man of her dreams?

Excerpt (edited for length):

“I’m so glad he’s marrying someone else,” whispered Lucy, watching the groom shuffle nerv-ously from one foot to the other at the top of the aisle.

“It could have been you up there,” replied Fiona. “How many times did Marcus ask you to marry him?”

“Three,” Lucy replied, shifting position for the fourth time in as many minutes. Why did church pews have to be so uncomfortable? “The first time when we were five, then again at twenty and finally,” she paused, reliving the moment in her head, “eight months ago.”

“Well,” Fiona said, as the organ struck up, filling the cold but pretty church with overly loud mu-sic, “it looks as though you’re safe from any more proposals, because I think the bride has just arrived.”

Amelie Marchant made her way slowly down the aisle, blonde hair in an elegant chignon, de-signer dress looking a million dollars. Beneath her thin veil it was clear she was smiling, no doubt savouring each precious second of being the focus of everyone’s attention, yet keeping her own attention firmly fixed on Marcus, who was awaiting her arrival at the altar.

Fiona nodded in approval. “She looks gorgeous. Her dress is exquisite.” She nudged Lucy. “Doesn’t the little bridesmaid look sweet in deep pink?”

“Yes, she’s Amelie’s niece apparently.” Lucy let a small sigh of contentment slip from her lips as Amelie reached the altar and stood close to Marcus. Finally she, Lucy Stokes, was going to be free of Marcus Brandon. He was marrying someone else, hallelujah! She would, at long last, be able to live her life exactly the way she wanted to. The whole reason she was here today was to witness the ceremony for herself. To know it was for real.

Okay, so she and Marcus had been childhood sweethearts. They’d played at the whole boy-friend-girlfriend thing on and off, sometimes quite successfully, for well over fifteen years. When she’d reached her twenties Lucy had sensed they didn’t have a future together, and she’d been trying to get Marcus to realise the fact ever since.

When she’d broken it off with him for the last time, to say he hadn’t taken kindly to the idea they were no longer an item was a major understatement. Over time she’d grown used to his persistent phone calls, the fact he often just popped round to see her and casually suggested, if they were both at a loose end, they might go for a drink or to the pictures.

Even when she’d plucked up the courage to attempt to date other people, it had been a complete disaster. Friadon was a small town and Marcus seemed to know every detail of where she went, when and with whom. On more than one occasion he’d tried to talk her out of going on a date, and she suspected, but couldn’t prove, he’d persuaded at least one of her dates to stay well away from her, causing her to be stood up, all alone in the heavy rain, outside the local cinema.

Six months after they’d split up, in a completely misguided attempt to woo her back, he’d gotten down on one knee and proposed to her for the third time at the travel agency where she worked. Armed with a huge bouquet of red roses and a bottle of champagne he’d asked her to marry him one last time. It had been in front of several customers too; Lucy had been pink with embarrass-ment. When, riddled with guilt, she’d gently declined his offer yet again, he’d gone off and met Amelie. Eight months later here the two of them were standing at the altar about to become man and wife.

Realising the ceremony was already well under way and she’d missed the first bit through not paying attention, Lucy tried to focus on what was being said, forcing the memories of Marcus from her mind. Yes, they’d enjoyed some fun times over the years, and she had to admit there had been occasions when they’d been completely great together, but it was all in the past now. His future lay with Amelie.
Clearing his throat the vicar glanced nervously towards the congregation and asked, “Does any-one here object to the marriage of Amelie Marchant and Marcus Brandon? If so, speak now or forever hold...”

“I object.” The words were barely audible but Lucy heard them and fear shivered up her spine.

Want More Zanna?

Visit her on the web here:  www.zannamackenzie.co.uk

Pick up a copy of her book today!  Click here.

Contest Time:

Everyone who leaves a question or comment for any of our authors this month will be entered to win a Digital Reader Prize pack from the Book Boost!  Pack includes:

  • Falsify by Kerri Nelson
  • Your choice of books from author Liz Botts 
  • Saint Sloan by Kelly Martin
  • Never Trust A Pretty Wolf by Elaine Cantrell 
  • The Super Spies and the Cat Lady Killer by Lisa Orchard 
  • The Samurai's Garden by Patricia Kiyono
  • PLUS much more! 
One entry for every comment.  Visit often.


Lisa Orchard said...

I will also mourn the loss of paperbacks...but you know e-books are so much more economical! :)

jeff7salter said...

I love books and always have. Small wonder that I went into librarianship and spent nearly 30 years in that field.
My own personal "library" is likely some 1500 books, though so many are in storage that I don't really know.