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Monday, January 15, 2018

Deep Sahara by Leslie Croxford - Book Tour - Guest Post - Giveaway - Enter Daily!

Hello lovelies! It gives me great pleasure today to host Leslie Croxford and his new book, “Deep Sahara”!  For other stops on his Goddess Fish Promotions Book Tour, please click on the banner above or any of the images in this post.

Be sure to make it to the end of this post to enter to win a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble Gift Card!!  Also, come back daily to interact with Leslie and to increase your chances of winning!

Thanks for stopping by!  Wishing you lots of luck in this fabulous giveaway!

Deep Sahara
by Leslie Croxford


GENRE: Thriller



Klaus Werner travels to the Algerian Sahara to research a book on desert insects. He is billeted in a local monastery, but upon arrival he finds it empty of its inhabitants. He soon discovers that it is a recent crime scene.



I left Rome in the summer of 1980. The day before that, I went to see Father Carlo. He had asked me back for a final visit, although he’d already given me the travel information.

Late for my appointment, I hastened toward the German Catholic Church of Santa Maria dell’Anima, on Vicolo della Pace, not far from Piazza Navona. My mother used to take me there every Sunday during my boyhood. The rector had been German; now, its priests were not necessarily so. Yet even the Italian ones spoke the language, knew the country and were likely to have carried on their ministry in Germany at some point.

That was the case with Father Carlo. He was sitting in his office in the adjoining building. It gave onto the courtyard at the back of the church. The blinds were drawn against the summer afternoon glare when I finally entered.

Recalling the priest now, it’s hard to bring him into focus with all that’s happened since. Even then, I was still feeling the effect of the sedatives I’d been taking.

My wife Anja had died. But what I suffered was not only her loss, but the loss of myself, in a total breakdown.

 I’d been in our apartment the week after she died. Staring vacantly at some mirror in the empty bedroom, I winced. Something had just moved in the glass. It was a stranger: me.

Father Carlo was waiting for me at his desk. He sat beneath a framed photograph of what I’d later come to know was the young Pius XII as Apostolic Nuncio to Germany in the 1920s. It was at one of the parties Pacelli – as he then was – threw for the political and diplomatic elite in the Tiergarten quarter of Berlin where he’d lived.

Father Carlo adjusted his monk’s habit over an ample midriff as he shifted in his chair to look up from the desk. But he continued 10 straightening its contents, then the rimless spectacles he was taking me in through.

I was sweating and out of breath. I apologised for being late, but explained that, having sold my car, I had walked all the way there from my apartment.

Mentioning it made me recall its shadowy silence, shuttered, too, against the city’s brilliance and traffic. My possessions were half-packed there – the few I would be taking with me tomorrow. Standing there alone, I had simply looked at the rest and left them to move only later if the owner absolutely demanded it. Anja and I had accumulated so much together.

“You’re not very late,” my spiritual advisor said. (For this was what the monk, now indicating the chair at the other side of the desk, had more or less become for me over the last few weeks, regardless of my lack of religious belief. With Anja’s death I had soon found myself using Carlo as a secular Father Confessor, judging it better to rely on him than on the doctor, who’d been of little help.)

“Anyway, you’re here now,” Father Carlo said, “ready to move on. That’s all that matters.”

The priest told me how pleased he was that I had finally decided to undertake the publishing project I’d been offered; how personally helpful I was sure to find it; how conducive to work the monastery would prove. These were all things Father Carlo had said several times before, but which he nevertheless chose to repeat now, with this show of paternal concern.

“Look, I’ve written a letter of introduction to the Abbot for you.” Father Carlo passed me one of two envelopes lying on the desk. They were sealed and made of fine paper.

“He’ll make sure you’re well looked after. And then it occurred to me that while you’re here for me to wish you Godspeed, I might as well also send a note with you for another monk, Father Erich. He’s one of the Order’s hermits, in permanent retreat even further south. I hope you’ll meet him too. There’s every reason why you should.”

“How can I, if he’s a hermit?”

“They come in when the monastery holds a chapter. And the Abbot will take care of giving him the letter. Or any of the monks should know how to get it to him.”

“I’ll do what I can,” I said. “It’s most important that he should receive it,” Father Carlo said, glasses glinting as he handed over the letter.

Taking it, I could not see beyond the opaque lenses.



Evolution of My Writing Habits and How I’ve Grown into a Better/More Experienced Writer

Years ago I was lucky enough to meet E. M. Forster. I asked him whether he followed a plan when writing. Yes he said, in the case of non-fiction or short fiction, but no in that of novels. He just allowed the story to develop. Now there may be writers who are guided by a clear plot from the outset. They are the Ancient Mariner with a tale to tell no matter what. But like Forster my novels have always sauntered out, not quite knowing where they are going. They start from an image, with an atmosphere, possibly a person. Characters, situations and even themes emerge in unsuspected ways. So if the writing is going well it seems organic and rich, but when it becomes dense and unclear the approach feels a liability. Since, however, I can’t help but write in this way, I find I have developed some compensating habits - if, again, without planning.

Like Humpty Dumpty I never quite know what I mean till I hear what I say. So I have to give myself plenty of space and time to say it. I write rough versions, sometimes only fragments, in a notebook, adding thoughts to it as they occur to me. And they do come into my mind without warning, sometimes first thing in the morning as dreams are still slipping away.

The notebook remains beside me when I type on my computer. It prevents me feeling I must immediately produce a perfect draft. I try out sentences, or whole passages and ideas for scenes. In this way even my most tangled and prolix thoughts are free to voice themselves without concern.

My notebook and, indeed, computer allow me to make draft after draft. For rewriting is as essential I find as is an artist’s modelling in clay for what can only later become a finished sculpture. In fact writing, or rewriting, is, I’ve discovered, a quest. The notebook, the repeated paragraphs on my screen, are not merely places for me to prevent infelicities of expression or unnecessary repetition, but to advance the search for what I want to say.

In my notebook, as if in a diary, I continuously analyse what I’m writing. It’s an internal debate and it helps me know what I really mean. In this way I can identify my mistakes. Example: that I’m writing in the third person whereas I should use the first or vice versa. Example: that I’ve entered a section, or the entire novel, at the wrong point in the plot, from the wrong point of view, or even in the wrong tense. For these wrong turns, sensed only uncomfortably at first, then painfully admitted to myself, once properly understood can prove highly productive. They make me clarify my intentions, what I really want to say, setting me on a better course that I would not have taken in a premature rush for completion.

But a word of caution: working with a mistake is to write in a haze, as if butting one’s head against an invisible brick wall. It causes anxiety and a deflation of spirits one doesn’t necessarily understand at the time. Yet, if one is prepared to give this process the necessary time and pay the price, it can lead to a significant deepening of one’s perspective on one’s novel.

I have frequently found my viewpoint adjusted in this way both in terms of the themes of a work in progress and what it is about me that they express. Yet this of course then faces me with a tricky question: how explicit should I make them?



Leslie Croxford is a British author and Senior Vice-President of the British University in Egypt. Born in Alexandria, he obtained a doctorate in History from Cambridge University. He has written one novel, Soloman's Folly (Chatto & Windus), and is completing his third. He and his wife live in Cairo.



Goodreads Author Page:

Goodreads Book Page:

Amazon Author Page:



Amazon US Paperback:

Amazon UK:

The Book Depository:



Leslie will be awarding a $10 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour.

**This post contains affiliate links and if clicked and a purchase made I may receive a small commission to help support this blog.  This does not cost you anything, it just helps pay for all those awesome giveaways on here.**

This contest is sponsored by a third party. Fabulous and Brunette is a registered host of Goddess Fish Promotions.  Prizes are given away by the sponsors and not Fabulous and Brunette. The featured author and Goddess Fish Promotions are solely responsible for the giveaway prize.


  1. Congrats on the tour and thank you for the excerpt and giveaway.

  2. i enjoyed reading about your book; congrats on the tour and thanks for the chance to win :)

  3. I really enjoyed reading the guest post, thank you!

  4. What book would you like to see made into a feature film? Thanks for the giveaway. I hope that I win. Bernie Wallace BWallace1980(at)hotmail(dot)com

  5. Hello and stopping by to once again say thank you for the opportunity to win this giveaway.

  6. Hi Ally,
    your hotmail email is bouncing back and I cannot send you the Amazon gift card. Please contact me.

  7. Happy Hump Day! I appreciate you bringing us this giveaway and all the difficult work you put into it. Thank you!

  8. Trying to work around the many issues with rafflecopter not working yesterday and today. Anyway, thanks so much for the chance at winning and enjoy your Friday!

  9. Enjoy this terrific Saturday and I sure appreciate this giveaway and opportunity to win. Thank you!

  10. Sunday Blessing to you and your family. Thank you for all you do and bringing us this giveaway.

  11. Had the flu all day yesterday, not a good thing at all. Hope everyone else avoids it and back however to thank you for the chance at winning again.

  12. Hope your Tuesday is going great. Thank you so much for all you do bringing us such great giveaways. I understand it is not easy so I do appreciate all your hard work you put into this.

  13. I was wondering what the author is working on next?

  14. Happy Hump Day! Make it a good one and thank you for the opportunity to win.

  15. Have an amazing Thursday and thanks so much for the chance at winning.

  16. Here we are at another Friday and how fast the week went by for me. Hope you enjoy your day and the weekend ahead. Thanks again for the giveaway.

  17. Good Morning! Here I am back once again and still wanting to thank you for the giveaway and all you do.

  18. Hello! Wishing you a wonderful Sunday and thanking you again for the giveaway.

  19. Good Monday Morning! Hope you had a spectacular weekend and I am back to thank you again for the giveaway!

  20. Hello! It's me again and in to thank you for the giveaway. Have a great Tuesday!