Thursday, March 17, 2011



Cycling in the Shadow of Marie Antoinette

81,000 words. Available as PDF, UK Kindle, US Kindle + Smashwords for all other ereader and desktop formats inc Barnes & Noble NOOK, Sony Reader, Apple iBook, Android etc
£2.49  US $3.99  Euro 2.88 and coming soon in paperback. 

For a preview PDF copy or a download code for other formats (Kindle, Epub, HTML etc) please email mail/at/ or TWEET @blackbirdebooks.

'It is unlikely that any other cyclist could be less competent than the author, nor be so unsuited to wearing skin-tight Lycra.' Susie Kelly
Ebooks and travel stories make a happy marriage and we are delighted to present this wonderfully funny and entertaining story as our first original travel ebook. In this unique blackbirdebooks presentation the reader can follow the author's journey online through links to the websites of hotels, campsites, gardens, restaurants, historical places of interest, and even songs that Susie encounters along her way.

Susie Kelly has already walked 900km from La Rochelle to Geneva (Best Foot Forward, pub. Bantam 2003) and driven the circumference of France (A Perfect Circle, pub. Bantam 2006), but cyclist she is not. By suggesting an electric bicycle to get her through the worst of the uphill slogs, her husband persuades her that travelling on 2 wheels is by far the best way to see the little-known, virtually undocumented part of France they plan to explore. And so, with not a few mishaps and misgivings, it turns out. 

The Valley of Heav
en and Hell
  is a quirky, highly entertaining and endearing mix of personal travel adventure and French history. Alongside her energetic and resourceful husband (when he's not zooming on ahead), Susie follows the identical route taken by Marie-Antoinette and Louis XVI when they tried to escape from the Revolution, and their journey back to their executions. After a hair-raising journey through Paris that nearly ends in her own execution by traffic, Susie finds an area of calm waterways and tranquil countryside bursting with history. Idyllic territory for cyclists. Their route takes them from Versailles to the vineyards and champagne cellars of Epernay and Reims then through the Marne valley, the scene of unimaginable horror and devastation during World War 1.

In three weeks Susie and Terry cycle 500 miles, dining sometimes in luxury and often on weird makeshift meals in their tent. Along the way there are traumas, epiphanies, occasional matrimonial disagreements and the odd glass of champagne. Keeping up appearances amongst the petite, chic French at some of Susie's more luxurious stops creates some serious fashion moments, tempered, as always, by Susie's good humour and resilience.

Rights: All rights available. Free code download offer available for KINDLE SUMMER READS pieces. Exclusivity by negotiation.

Interviews: Susie is as entertaining in person as she is in print and would make a lively guest on any talk show. She lives in the wilds of SW France but is available for telephone and online interviews.

Coming soon: Our Ebook of the Month for May is a children's fantasy adventure novel for 8 - 12 year olds. The Dream Theatre - another original first publication by a highly talented mid-list author.