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News Flash: Member’s Book Reaches NUMBER ONE!

Hi Charlie,

Here is some great news!  My book (The Visionary Mayan Queen: Yohl Ik’nal of Palenque) reached Amazon Kindle Free Books #1 Best-Seller yesterday both in Historical Fiction and HF Romance-Ancient Worlds.  It was #9 in Top 100 Kindle Free Books yesterday, and by this morning had attained #6 rank in Top 100 Books. 

Thanks so much for your web promotion program, it has really helped attain this success.
Yours, Leonide
Leonide’s book is available from and

Author Interview: Maria Chiara Marsciani

Welcome to our series of Author Interviews, where Charlie Bray chats to a variety of Indie writers about their lives and their books.

If you would like to be interviewed, have your book reviewed, and post a guest blog, sign up now to INDIETRIBE GOLD

Today I am delighted to interview Maria Chiara Marsciani, author of Urbino Unexpectedly, a story of love and self discovery


Hi Maria, tell us about yourself

I was born in Rimini, Italy, a mid size town on the Adriatic Sea. Since I was a child I had the desire to travel around the world and get to know different cultures so, when the opportunity came, I happily followed my husband to the US where we still live. I was trained as a clinical psychologist at the University “La Sapienza” in Rome, but after dedicating myself on raising my daughter, I now decided to devote myself to my first passion: writing. I love gardening, cooking and spending time with my family and our many pets.

What inspired “Urbino, Unexpectedly”?

Urbino, Unexpectedly is a story about the difficulty of growing up, about the famous line from A to B that often is not straight as we think it should be, and the story of Clara was definitely inspired by my own struggles with life and my own difficulties to find out who I am. Today I read a quote that said something like this: stop trying to find out who you are and start inventing yourself. Maybe that’s true and, with every book I write and with every word I put on paper, the more I feel I do it.

Why the choice to publish it in English even if your primary language is Italian?

Believe me, it was a surprise also for me, but the book came to me in English. I think it was because, after more than twenty years in the states I now feel and express better my emotions in this language that I not only find fascinating, but that I keep discovering more and more every day.

What would you say was the main message of your book?

The message I want to send with “Urbino, Unexpectedly “is that in order to fully appreciate life we have to take risks, to be willing to make mistakes and to accept to disappoint our loved ones. Personal growth and knowledge are based on attempts and failures. I have to admit that, now that the book is not only ‘mine’, but it belongs to the people who read it, it is amazing to witness how each reader is taken or focuses on a particular aspect of the story. For someone it can be the descriptions of the settings or the characters’ personality, for others can be Clara’s struggle or the passionate love story with Leo.

What advice would you give other authors?

My advice is this one: after taking into consideration market’s trends and data, after diligently listening to the many suggestions and advices I’m sure people have ready for you, politely forget about it and do as you feel and wish.

Tell us about any future projects

I’m finishing a new novel and I’m very excited. It is about the difficulty to communicate in a love relationship. A happy couple moves from San Francisco to Washington DC following the husband’s dream job, but each one of them lives this experience in a different way and, even if they love each other very much, they stop communicating. Also, a neighbor’s sudden death upsets the balance of the whole neighborhood and brings to the surface many secrets. I’m having a lot of fun writing it and it’s been a totally different experience compared to Urbino, Unexpectedly.

Do you plan out the book fully before you start?

I usually start writing knowing either the beginning or the end of my story while everything else is not really planned out and I follow the characters as they develop. I also fight with them sometimes because they take different directions from what I had in mind.

What do you enjoy most and least about writing?

What I love the most is the writing process. I love sitting down isolating myself from the outside world and start writing. What I enjoy the least are the technical aspects like the editing, the formatting and the layout.


41nZ4xAog6L._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_Urbino Unexpectedly is available from or




FREE on AMAZON KINDLE  April 17-22, 2014
The Visionary Mayan Queen: Yohl Ik’nal of Palenque by Leonide Martin
Compelling historical fiction about one of the most powerful women in the Americas.  Yohl Ik’nal was the first Mayan woman ruler, her visionary powers destined to guide her people through social turmoil and enemy attack.  Facing treachery and betrayal, she found strength in a love that sustained her as she preserved her dynastic lineage and left her mark on history.  Foreseeing  times of darkness, her choices could lead to ruin or bring her city to heights of greatness.  Centuries later Francesca, part-Mayan archeologist, helps her team at Palenque excavate the royal burial of a crimson skeleton, possibly the first Mayan queen’s tomb ever discovered.  She never anticipated how it would impact her life and unravel a web of ancient bonds.
You can download this great book for free now from or

Author Interview: Alex Lukeman

Welcome to our series of Author Interviews, where Charlie Bray chats to a variety of Indie writers about their lives and their books.

If you would like to be interviewed, have your book reviewed, and post a guest blog, sign up now to INDIETRIBE GOLD

Today I am delighted to interview prolific author of Action & Adventure thrillers, Alex Lukeman


Alex, tell us about yourself

I’ve been lucky enough to have led a varied and eclectic life. It’s taken me all over the world. I’ve been in and out of places I should never have been and walked away. I bring all of that experience to my books. For example, I’ve been to the Himalayas, which play a role in the first book of my thriller series, White Jade. I live in Northern California, in the foothills of the Sierras. For fun, I ride old, fast motorcycles and play guitar. I’ve had bikes since I was 16. I’m married. Gayle is my best reader and critic.

How did you become a writer?

I began submitting stories to magazines when I was about 12 yrs old: lots of rejections! My first published book was a Sword and Sorcery epic called The Bane of Kanthos, an ACE Double paperback. It was “over the transom”, unsolicited, and they bought it! That was a great day. Later I wrote several non-fiction books on sleep and dreams. I now write only fiction.

What do you enjoy most about being a writer?

I really like it when the characters come alive and start going in their own direction, when they surprise me. That’s fun.

What’s the hardest thing about being a writer?

Getting the first draft done. Then it’s all about editing, revision, more editing, more revision. As Stephen King says, “Kill your darlings”. Sometimes it makes me nuts, especially when I’m nearing completion. It brings up a lot of self doubt. You think to yourself, no one’s going to want to read this. This is terrible. It’s all been done before. Etc. etc. etc. You have to get away from that inner voice that wants to beat you down and trust that you know what the heck you’re doing and that people will want to read your work.

What did you do before you became a writer?

I was a Rolfer, a professional folk singer for 10 years, a psychotherapist–many things. I was always a writer, though.

What is your biggest writing achievement?

Getting the first book published. Getting a good shot with the non-fiction books from a good publisher. Now it’s having seven books done in my thriller series. But the biggest achievement is having reached the point where I earn a decent living by writing.

What are you working on at the moment?

51NvUjXuP-L._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_I just published Book Seven, The Ajax Protocol, in February. Now I’ve started book eight, tentatively titled The Indian Gambit. That title may change. I hope to have it done by mid-year. The books are getting harder to write because the relationships of the ongoing characters are by necessity becoming more complex. Because I’m writing a long-term, ongoing series, I’m challenged to keep things interesting, to keep the characters evolving and intriguing to the reader.

What inspires you?

Great writing, good films and great art. The few good TV programs out there. People, in positive and negative ways. Life.

What genre do you write in?

Thriller, Action/Adventure. I write fast paced page turners. They are meant to entertain.

Do you have any tips for new writers?

The biggest thing is to be disciplined and consistent. Find a rhythm that works for you and follow it. Do it in a regular, organized way. It’s work, don’t kid yourself. For me, writing in the morning is best. I write 5 days a week, until something says “That’s it for today…” Don’t quit. Perhaps that’s the most important thing.

Do you suffer from writer’s block?

No. Sometimes I get discouraged, though, and not much gets written.

Do you have a preferred writing schedule?

As above, I write in the morning. I get up early. I might start at 5:00 A.M. and write until noon or 1:00 P.M. Lots of coffee. I take breaks.

Do you have a favourite writing place?

My desk/office. It’s a room in our house.

What is your greatest joy in writing?

When the story flows. When the work is done.

Who is your favourite author and why?

That’s hard. Among contemporary authors, Alex Berenson for espionage, Michael Connelly for mysteries. I like Henning Mankell for police procedurals–he’s Swedish. Robert Crais and Lee Child.  Earlier writers like John Steinbeck and Hemingway and Graham Greene. I’m widely read. The list is long.

What’s the greatest compliment you ever received from a reader?

That they believe it could be real and that they really enjoyed the book. I have received many wonderful compliments. Each one is important to me.

What was the worst comment from a reader?

Ha! One woman never got past the first swear word (There is some profanity in my books, not overly done, just realistic.) It made her very annoyed. She couldn’t understand why the female protagonist, who is very intelligent and well-educated, could use bad language just because somebody shot up her brand-new Mercedes. Or perhaps it was the reader who decided that she didn’t like the description on the product page and gave the book a one star review. She never even read the book.

Writers are sometimes influenced by things that happen in their own lives. Are you?

Of course. I don’t think someone can write well without having some sense of the experiences life has given you. I’ve had some interesting ones which I bring to the stories.

Other than writing, what else do you love?

Music. Beaches. Making people feel better, when possible.

Did you have your books professionally edited before publication?

A bit with the non-fiction, in house. Now I do my own. I know how to do it but it’s impossible for me to see it with total objectivity or to catch every error. A dozen people read a book for me and there will still be errors that get by. A great editor would undoubtedly help. Great editors are not only scarce, they are very busy and very expensive. Copy editing is easy, that’s what most editors do. Developmental editing is different. I’d love to hook up with a good developmental editor. I had a couple of bad experiences with editors when I wrote non-fiction. It has made me wary.

Describe your perfect day

Get up after enough sleep. Have coffee. Check the email, briefly. Begin writing. When that’s done, whatever seems right. It could be working on the motorcycle I’m going to ride this summer, a 1970 triumph T120 Bonneville. It could be reading. Could be outdoor work, this time of year. It all depends. In the evening I tend to watch something on NetFlix or Amazon Prime, which provides movies and a variety of shows. I like British mystery shows especially, like George Gently or Inspector Lewis or Endeavor. Sherlock is great. I’ve seen most of them, I think.

If you were stuck on a desert island with one person, who would it be? Why?

Might sound corny, but I would pick my wife. We can always find something to talk about.

What would you say if you had the chance to speak to world leaders?

If I avoid the profanity which would be the most appropriate response, I would say “What do you think you are doing? When are you going to start thinking about the good of your citizens and the world at large instead of your personal advancement and self serving power/political/religious/ideological positions?  I could definitely go on about this. I am appalled at the actions of the so called leaders of our planet. I am stunned when prizes for peace are given to men who have perpetuated war. The people who lead the world are leading it straight to…well, you know where they are leading it. In fact we may already be there.

What are your plans for the future?

Keep writing. It would be nice if I became well-known as a writer because that would mean people really enjoyed my work, but that doesn’t really matter.

Do you see yourself in any of your characters?

Somewhat in Nick, my principle protagonist. But all the characters are part of me.

Does the publishing industry frustrate you?

It certainly does. Things have changed for the worse. I now self-publish because of that. White Jade was accepted for representation by a good New York agent. She got it to senior editors at the Big Six. They all turned it down, mostly with compliments. One said he would have bought it, but I wasn’t former CIA. Now how could I tell him about that? I would have had to kill him. He should tell that to Steve Berry, who as far as I know is a lawyer, not a dangerous spy/adventurer.

I have done much better on my own than I could hope to do in today’s traditional publishing environment. I love having complete control.

Did you ever think of quitting?


What was your favourite manuscript to write? Why?

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How would you define ‘success’ as a writer?

Getting the book done and published, is huge.

But I do measure success in acceptance by readers.

What should readers walk away from your books knowing? How should they feel?

Entertained, I hope. Perhaps wondering if that could happen. It could–my books are always based on facts (like futuristic weapons that exist or are under development) and real possibilities, though they are definitely flights of fiction.

Anything you’d like to add?

Just my thanks for the opportunity to be interviewed by you.  Thank you.

Thank you so much, Alex, it’s been an absolute pleasure to talk to you and I know our readers will find your comments very helpful.

You can browse or buy any of Alex’s great books by visiting his website





A very warm welcome to Charlie Bray’s Indie Book Reviews. If you wish to buy any of these books, click on the front cover to buy from or the link following the description to buy from


So here we go with our latest selection of great Indie books:

The Ajax Protocol by Alex Lukeman


This is Book Seven of the Project series and the collection is getting stronger and stronger.

Elizabeth Harker and her team are entrusted to protect the land of the free, but are constantly thwarted by opposing elements both at home and away. Even worse, they are being hampered by the Vice President, who, standing in for the smitten President, is no lover of the Project team and is no asset to their cause.

The latest mission is to combat a plot to kill the President and transform America into a totalitarian police state, operating without political opposition, and enforcing laws at will.

As if his hands aren’t full enough with this, Project team leader, Nick Carter, risks being distracted by his involvement with his lover and fellow team member, Selena Connor.

Novosibirsk, a small Russian town having enormous problems of its own, could well hold the key to solving the conspiracy that envelops the States and threatens world peace.

The set of circumstances portrayed in this book are indicative of what is probably bubbling away under the surface of America right now and Alex Lukeman is well equipped to mirror it in the Project collection. As well as being an extremely skilled wordsmith, he is a former marine and psychotherapist, ergo he understands clandestine activity and the minds of nutters.

Once you read this remarkable action packed book, you will order the rest of the Project collection. It’s that good!

Also available from



To the Survivors by Philip G Henley


Philip Henley captures the forthcoming horror in the early part of his book, when he competently describes an outrageous phenomenon that is about to attack and desecrate the world. He cleverly links the increasing panic, dealt with by a competent government, with an innocent family who are not yet privy to the horrors that are about to unfold. Teenager Gary Tolman and his parents have recently completed the construction of a state of the art eco home, and as more and more information is released regarding the impending doom, they do their best to adapt it to an uncertain future.

As the deadly virus takes its strangle hold on the population, Gary’s parents succumb, together with 99% of the population. Gary is one of the lucky ones, or unlucky ones, to inherit a very different world. A world in which he is very much alone. He is forced to skip adolescence and leap straight into a very mature manhood, simply to survive.

Slowly but surely he meets other members of the culled human race, some friendly, some deadly. He falls in love, he makes friends, only to see their lives claimed by the virus.

It is surely a very difficult task to paint a picture of any form of optimism in the midst of such desolation. But paint it Philip Henley does, in a very accomplished manner.

To the Survivors is very much a story of survival against all odds and an exceptionally gripping read. Philip’s descriptive powers enable the reader to share his view of a very lonely, empty, and yet dangerous world, where your very existence is far from guaranteed. Yet always there is hope, always the way is lit by the far off glimmer that can always be seen.

An excellent read that will stay with you long after you have put the book away.

Also available from

An Agent’s Demise by Philip G Henley


This is a very different tale to the one portrayed in To the Survivors, reviewed above. It is a platform from which Philip Henley is able to display his extreme versatility as an author.

An Agent’s Demise revolves around the complex happenings leading up to and beyond the second Iraq war.

A serial killer is on the loose, but these are not just random killings. They are orchestrated assassinations, carried out by someone who is nothing more than a lethal resource dispatched from on high. Not high as in the heavens, but on high as in the upper echelons of our espionage network.

And yet the assassin is not simply a puppet. He is an extremely intelligent, manipulative individual who covers his tracks by a number of cleverly organized identities and safe houses. At times he appears to be running rings around the police and authorities, and at other times the net appears to be tightening.

He is also clearly the recipient of a split personality, because when he is conducting his love life, he is a completely different animal to the one who is circling the globe, seeing people off. But then I suppose he’d have to be. Even then his mystery could prove to be his undoing, as individuals close to his lover begin to suspect he is perhaps not what he seems.

In a very complex plot, the killer, John Slater, to use one of his many names, proves to be the one constant to cling to, in both his guises, the tender lover and the ruthless killer. The story actually needs this constant as an anchor, as it continually serves to bring together many wide-ranging threads.

This amended version of An Agent’s Demise has been professionally proofread and edited, so you can now disregard certain negative reviews on Amazon, which marked it down because of grammatical errors.

A thoroughly intriguing and enjoyable book which will keep you turning the pages, right up to an unexpected end.

Also available from

Tesla by Mark Lingane


A great book that should satisfy the author’s desire to wean a generation off games modules on to novels of this nature

It’s billed as Cyberpunk vs Steampunk.

For the uninitiated that means its characters living in a darkly frightening, futuristic world dominated by computer technology versus a genre of science fiction that typically features steam powered machinery rather than advanced technology.

Set a thousand years hence, nuclear capability has finally achieved its intended purpose and half of the northern hemisphere has gone missing.

To achieve his aim, it was essential for author, Mark Lingane to create a story that was short, sharp, constantly evolving with ridiculous amounts of action where no one important ever seems to get hurt, and make fun of current pop culture, social media, adults and technology.

Mark has achieved this. He is an extremely skilled writer who can and does frequently cross over into new and exciting genres.

From a conventional, hard working background, Sebastian, the hero of the story, finds himself being pursued by black-clad cyborgs. These beings were born as humans, but have had machines and technology added to enhance their effectiveness. They are being controlled by a central, well hidden, machine.

Sebastian is befriended by a strange bunch headed by characters Merv and Marv, who quickly become aware that he actually possesses fairly strong, if unpredictable, powers.

Sebastian becomes increasingly under threat from the cyborgs and ultimately it is left to a dying girl named Melanie to save him.

The characters, dialogue and unforeseen happenings throughout the story are extremely quirky and unusual. There are times when it appears that Mark Lingane is re-writing the very concept of a novel, which I suppose is what he set out to achieve.

Even though the story was clearly not created for an old man like me, I absolutely loved it, and I know that his actual target audience will too.

Also available from

I hope you enjoyed reading about these four books as much as I enjoyed reviewing them. I hope to bring you some more Indie reviews soon.

Happy reading,





Do you have more than one book?

If so, Indietribe’s Spring Special is for you!




Our Monthly Spotlight is visited daily by thousands of readers, writers and publishers.

It’s a brilliant place to showcase your book, but until now, there has been a separate fee for each book.


If you enrol during April, you can list each of your books for the price of one.

The fee will be the same for all your books as it would be for just one!

Enrol  ALL YOUR BOOKS in 3 Monthly Spotlights …£15 ($25 US)

Enrol  ALL YOUR BOOKS in 6 Monthly Spotlights …£25 ($42 US)

Enrol ALL YOUR BOOKS in 12 Monthly Spotlights…£45 ($75 US)

If you would like to get every one of your books in lights, click here now

APRIL SPOTLIGHT: Indie Books For You

Welcome to the APRIL issue of our Monthly Spotlight

spotlightTo browse or buy a book, click on its front cover to view it on or its title to view it on

If your book is not yet booked in for the MAY SPOTLIGHT, book it in now



The Adventures of Ruby and Roberto Raindrop by Valerie Spaliviero


‘A story on the movement of water, in its many forms, coming in contact with everything on this beautiful planet’


Cry Before Supper by Julia Rose Grey


‘This story will envelop you with its rapture, its uncertainty, its secrets, and escort you through its darkness’



Letters to My Sister’s Shrink by Heather Balog


‘Blood is much thicker than water’

Chasing Heart by Mark Lingane


‘An absolute page-turner that hooks you in from the beginning. Once you pick it up, you will not put it down’

Desert Heart by Mark Lingane


‘Heat. Politics. Romance. Sand. War. Bad Coffee. It can only mean one thing. Ellen Martin is off to the Middle East.’



L’Immortalite: Madame Lalaurie and the Voodoo Queen by T.R. Heinan 


‘NOLA’s most haunting legend comes to life’



The Trouble With Celebrity by Charlie Bray


‘Did you know Charlie Bray had ‘arrested’ one of the Beatles, lost Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, got drunk with Keith Moon and pulled a gun on a Great Train Robber? His new book is out now and tells all!’

 The Village Idiots Ebay Club by Charlie Bray


‘Quirky people buy quirky things – and Ebay is full of quirky things. DANGER ALERT! What if they can’t stop bidding? What if their lives become quirkier and quirkier as a result? TIME TO JOIN THE EBAY CLUB!’ 

The Village Idiots Cruise Club by Charlie Bray


‘Laugh out loud at the hilarious fun that can be had on a Mediterranean cruise, Life on the ocean waves ain’t what it used to be’

Open House by Charlie Bray


‘Aristocrats, Ghosts and Squatters Share a Castle’



Murder by Impulse by D R Meredith


‘A Lincoln Continental driven by Amy Steele, wife of millionaire rancher, James Steele, rams a tanker full’ of gasoline


The Mourning After by Edward Fahey


‘In a world where death is but another beginning, you must trust in what you cannot believe. For those who wonder what lies beyond. For those who love; and hope’


Seafoam Wavefollower and the Mysterious Ghost by Doc Briley


‘SEAFOAM is an exciting, fast-paced adventure filled with thrills, chills, mysticism and friendship’



After (Inspector West) by Peter Mulraney

Inspector West investigates the unexpected death of Joise Ford, while her husband faces the secrets her death uncovers’

Dear Crossing by Marjorie Swift Doering


‘A grisly murder leads Ray Schiller on a case with a rising body count and the potential to derail his personal and professional life’

Shadow Tag by Marjorie Swift Doering


‘Detective Ray Schiller is out to finish what he started, unless it finishes him first’



A Customary Obsession 2; Power by Jane Graiko


‘In the second in a three-book series, Laura Delorange and Steve Scolarzski cultivate a new relationship after lifetimes of bitter disappointments’

 of the system that delivers our rights, and he doesn’t pull any punches’


Occupying America: We Shall Overcome by Rev. Paul J. Bern


‘The definitive book about Occupy Wall St., the Arab Spring and “the 99%”‘

The Middle and Working Class Manifesto by Rev. Paul J. Bern


‘The groundbreaking book that was the precursor to the Occupy and the 99% Movements in the US, the UK and much of Europe. Now in a newly updated 2014 edition’

Who I Am by David Weeks


‘A book about our priorities, our Spiritual lives, and developing coping skills and life skills written by someone who learned these things mostly by trial and error. This is a particularly entertaining read containing various elements of wit and wisdom’

On Your Mark: From First Word to First Draft in Six Weeks by Cathy Fyock and Kevin Williamson


‘If writing a book is on your bucket list, then you must read Fyock’s and Williamson’s book–On Your Mark: From First Word to First Draft in Six Weeks–about how to get it done!’

Flowers and Stone by Jan Sikes 


‘A wild Texas outlaw musician, a naive young girl, and Texas honky-tonks in 1970 lay the groundwork for this true story of passion and peril’


Finding Vern by Darcy Bellows


‘A true life GHOST story.
Finding Vern is the incredible true story of a friendship that spanned decades and culminated in the love of a lifetime’


Broken Truth by Beth Ashworth


‘What happens when the happy bubble you have been living in for the past year has all been a twisted, torturous path of lies…once truth has been broken, can love still find a way?’ 

The Whispering Wind by Lexa Dudley


‘This is a romantic and beautiful love story that will strike a cord deep in ones heart’

Little Conversations by Sibylia Matilde


‘Through a flash of torrid intensity, Ronin and Devin struggle to be friends…just friends, while the shadows of the past keep getting in the way’


I Love Lucid by Mark Lingane


‘A story for the dubstep generation. Part one of a five part story told in weekly instalments.’

Beyond Belief by Mark Lingane


‘Joshua Richards has a problem. His clients are dying. What’s even more worrying is that they appear to be planning to kill him first’



 White Jade by Alex Lukeman


WHITE JADE spins a web of deceit and murder across the globe, against the backdrop of a deadly international power game.

The Chinese Spymaster by Hock Tjoa


‘Chinese Intelligence uncovers a North Korean trying to sell a nuclear device.’

Haunted by Maria Savva


‘Nigel Price has MURDER on his mind’

Hostile Witness by Rebecca Forster


‘Blending complex psychological character portraits with spot-on courtroom drama, Forster’s riveting legal thriller keeps the plot twists coming until the last, satisfying page’


I hope you enjoyed our April Spotlight and that you are tempted to part with a few of your pennies to enjoy the delights of some remarkable indie books.

Indie Authors – The Authors A to Z guide is regularly visited by readers, publishers and fellow writers.
Make sure you’re in it:



Guest Post:A wonderful setting for a book

Today, we are delighted to feature a blog from our valued member, Maria Chiara Marsciani who explains why the area of Rimini provides the beautiful setting for her book, Urbino, Unexpectedly.
Today, while sitting at the dinner table, I asked my family if they could suggest  a subject for Charlie’s blog.
My husband whispered “You should talk about something you know very well.” Then, in the absence of a more accurate recommendation, he hid behind a big forkful of pasta, but my daughter’s eyes immediately lit up and she finished his sentence “Then, you should write about killing houseplants, you are a master at it!”.
Well, it’s sad to admit, but unfortunately true. I love plants dearly and I deeply enjoy taking care of them, but what I consider my best care, regularly kills them and unfailingly leaves a lonely dry stick in the middle of what used to be a luxuriant pot. For a moment I seriously considered my daughter’s joke as a possibility, but luckily for you, I decided instead to talk about the places where I come from hoping it is a better choice.
Since I published my novel Urbino, Unexpectedly, one of the questions I am asked the most is why I chose to set the story in a part of Italy that is barely known to the public. The answer is overly simple and it is because they are the places where I grew up, and I love them.
In the novel, I never name Clara’s city, but while I was writing I definitely had my hometown in mind. I was born and raised in Rimini, a beach town of Roman origins on the Adriatic Sea, nowadays sadly known more for its many discos, its endless nightlife, and very well organized beach than for the many historic treasures that it hides. So, often tourists come, use it, abuse it, criticize it and leave it, totally unaware of the real beauty that Rimini shelters. To name just a few, the cathedral Tempio Malatestiano, born to be a burial chapel and consecrated only later; the Bridge of Tiberius, a five semi circular bridge dated 20AD, but still used today by cars and pedestrians or the Arch of Augustus, the oldest roman arch in all Italy. Rimini is also the town where the director Federico Fellini was born and the place where his movie “Amarcord” takes place. Actually, Amarcord, in our dialect means ‘I remember’ and the whole movie is about his memories as a child. He really captured the essence of the ‘simple’ life in the Romagna Region that little has changed since the ‘30s.
But to me, Rimini and its surrounding area mean childhood, family, traditions, and a past I want to pass on to my daughter. I find Rimini, its relaxed lifestyle and its many contradictions, both moving and heartbreaking; a place where past and present coexist with difficulty and where amazing ancient buildings fight with modern eyesores and struggle to find their dignity.
I now live in the US, but when my daughter was born, my mission as a mother was to prevent distance being the excuse for keeping her away from her roots. So, helped by the need to escape San Francisco’s foggy summers, I started going back to Rimini with her and, with her, I started appreciating more and more of what my town has to offer.
But, in my book,  why do Clara and Leonardo meet and fall in love in Urbino and why does Leonardo choose to take Clara to San Leo for their first date? Well, because they are very close to Rimini, I have lots and lots of memories tied to them, and I really think they are among the most beautiful fortified hill towns we have in Italy. When I was a child, as soon as spring arrived, my parents used to organize relaxing day trips to Urbino. They didn’t like traveling, their favorite activity was to enjoy the home, but Urbino was undoubtedly one of their preferred destinations. Yes, exactly like Clara in the book! It was the right drive for a sunny Sunday in the backcountry. It offered history, shopping, incredible panoramas and good food. I remember having goose bumps every single time I passed in front of Raphael’s house, and I anxiously waited to sit in the back of the car on our way home to pick at the bags full of local sweets.
41nZ4xAog6L._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_While Urbino belongs to my childhood weekends, San Leo is definitely part of my free weekdays. Imperiously located in the middle of the Marecchia Valley, it was on the way to my father’s workplace so, when school was over or closed mom and I would take the opportunity to drive up there and join dad for lunch. Every time it was a joy, and we used to celebrate our unusual reunion in a local trattoria that specialized in truffles. After our lavish meal, he went back to his job, but mom and I, on our way back home, stopped in San Leo for a walk and to relish the breathtaking view its top offers, giving you the impression that you hold the whole valley in your hands, from mountains to ocean.
Rimini, Urbino and San Leo, in one way or another, belong to me and are part of who I am. I spent my childhood snubbing them and taking them for granted. I found out during my adolescence that I had to run away from them in order to find myself, and now that I am older, I can finally relax, sit back and simply enjoy them hoping to hand down my love for them to my daughter and to my readers.
Urbino Unexpectedly is available from and




April’s Spotlight will be promoted avidly on Indietribe, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Goodreads for the entire  month. Don’t miss out on this fantastic opportunity to get your books under the spotlight of thousands of readers for a whole month:

This is what your entry will look like:

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And this is what it will cost:

£6 (approx $9US) per book for one month,

£15 (approx $23US) per book for three months

£25 (approx $39US) per book for six months

£45 (approx $69US) per book for twelve months

Check out our March Spotlight to get a full flavour of what to expect.

We are now taking orders for the April edition. If you would like your book including, PLEASE CLICK HERE

Have you downloaded Charlie Bray’s latest book for free yet? 


 Available FREE all day today from or

Charlie Bray’s new book, The Trouble With Celebrity is free today and tomorrow!


Did you know Charlie Bray had ‘arrested’ one of the Beatles, lost Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, got drunk with Keith Moon and pulled a gun on the Great Train Robber? His new book is out today and it tells all!

Join Charlie as he takes a hearty swipe at the famous. Well, he’s got more reason than most to have a pop. He’s been knocked out by one, peed on by another and had to pull a gun on one of the Great Train Robbers. He also lost Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, got drunk with Keith Moon and ‘arrested’ John Lennon. Oh, and Charlie went to school with a mass-murderer. Always there to help others, Charlie’s even saved an old lady from a handbag swinging Lady Archer. Add that to one of your novels, Jeffrey!

Celebrities Say the Funniest Things

Did you know East Anglia was an African nation and that Sherlock Holmes invented toilets? It’s not and he didn’t, but a certain celebrity thought otherwise. Help Charlie unravel the weird mind of celebrity

The famous and their toys

Learn who lands his own jet liner about ten yards from his front door, and who swims to his Ferrari via his indoor swimming pool

How did Peppa Pig corrupt a two year old?

Find out how the wayward pig and a whole host of celebrities were caught behaving badly

Celebrity Wars

Why do famous stars throw phones at hotel staff and punches at toilet attendants? Some even grab testicles and bite noses off. Join Charlie as he names names, and see how the public are fighting back

Special Needs for Special People

You’ll be amazed at the dressing room demands of some of your heroes. But don’t worry, Charlie’s got the answer. A perfectly designed dressing room for all, that doubles up as a green room

The Trouble With Celebrity is a 5 star read that you won’t want to miss!

You can download this hilarious book now FOR FREE from or