Biography

 

Early in the 2020 pandemic, author Steven Mason, seeking inspiration to help cope during the Covid-19 crisis, began to examine the lives of some of the great personalities from history. After considerable research, he discovered that many of these individuals had  overcome significant adversity on their path to success. After sharing these stories with others, he was inspired to write this book. The Adversity Formula: Inspirational Lessons from History reviews the lives of thirty remarkable characters from history to see how they dealt with adversity. The book goes onto provide a formula that readers can themselves apply to their own lives. Selected mainly from the 20th Century, the fifteen men and fifteen women, include scientists, entrepreneurs, humanitarians, politicians, entertainers, sports stars and war heroes. The list contains well-known names like Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs and Walt Disney but also features lesser-known profiles of Virginia Hall, Irena Sendler and Victor Frankl, a holocaust survivor who, after his experiences in the concentration camps, developed a therapy to find meaning and purpose in adversity. The book looks at the adversity these greats faced, what they achieved despite it, but also, how they dealt with adversity, often using it to their advantage. Their coping mechanisms are summarised in five characteristics for each individual and packaged into a general formula for tackling life’s problems. The conclusion found within these pages is that it is often how people respond to adversity, that can determine successful outcomes. The Adversity Formula: Inspirational Lessons from History will be particularly relevant to those interested in self-development, especially during difficult times, as well as those with a love of history. The book offers hope in the face of life’s major challenges.

Price - £14.95

IBSN - 978-1-8382223-5-2 

Buy a copy here

 

 

Beyond Gratitude – A journey to Positivity by Sarah Duff

After the passing of her beloved father, Sarah felt something inside that she had not felt before, a desperation for change. She decided to follow this feeling and dive into the world around her until she understood more.

Her adventures took her everywhere, with new climates, cultures and beliefs and these experiences transformed Sarah into the person she is today. With her newfound independence Sarah embraced this growth with open arms and strived to reawaken her mind, body connection.

‘Beyond Gratitude: A Journey to Positivity’, invites you to come along for the ride. It will allow you to understand how your life can be transformed if you begin to investigate the power it holds. This book describes real people and real experiences to help you discover your own level of emotional well-being and support you in its development.

Sarah now understands the importance of building connections rather than building possessions and hopefully this account will open up a new world of opportunity for you too.

Price - £9.95

IBSN - 978-1-8383868-4-9

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Reluctant Rebels: My Family’s Fight for Survival is an inspiring story about the author’s battle with cancer and the significant impacts of that experience on her family.

After a diagnosis of leukaemia at the age of eight, author Samantha Wilson went through a terrible journey of pain and suffering into her teenage years. Told that their child had weeks to live, her parents, Bernard and Kathleen didn’t give up. Turning to herbal medicine, they sought help from a well-known local herbalist, Mr Abbott and gradually, Samantha recovered.

The book tells the story of how Samantha and her family dealt with the shock of the diagnosis and then, through relentless caring and support, helped her to survive. Step by step, Samantha began to live a normal life.

Nonetheless, as well as a bout of meningitis, Samantha suffered bullying at the hands of both the children in her community and fierce objections from the authorities who tried to block her parents’ efforts to care for her outside the official system.

After surviving a court case and media scrutiny, somehow, Samantha grew into adulthood and made a life for herself. But there were scars which remained affecting her own wellbeing, her parents’ marriage and her older brother who had been so supportive in helping her to stay alive.

Years later, Samantha was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis and experienced a period of time suffering with mental health issues. She also had to help her family through difficult times and traumatic experiences.

Reluctant Rebels: My Family’s Fight for Survival is a story that will give readers hope. At the time of her leukaemia diagnosis, most children suffering with the condition did not survive. With her family’s support and the help of complementary medicine, Samantha pulled through, an example of alternative therapy and what it can achieve. She faced all of these challenges with a firm commitment to stay positive and do what had to be done.

Samantha Wilson went on to achieve an BSc in Complementary Medicine at Salford University and a PGDE at the University of Bolton.

She is the Joint Owner/Managing Director at the White Opal Beauty and Holistic Training Academy.

She lives in Bury, Greater Manchester, with her husband Brian and in her spare time, loves to see her son Ryan and his family and to go for long walks with her dog, Rio.

Samantha hopes that Reluctant Rebels: My Family’s Fight for Survival will raise awareness of complementary medicine and help the sufferers of leukaemia and their families to never give up hope.

Price - £8.95

IBSN - 978-1-8380929-1-7

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Agnes Kaposi was born in Hungary the year before Hitler came to power and she started school at the outbreak of World War II. The Holocaust killed many of her family, together with half a million Hungarian Jews, but a series of miracles and coincidences allowed her to  survive. She worked as child labourer in the agricultural and armament camps of Austria and was liberated by a rampaging Soviet army. She struggled through post-war hardship to re-enter Hungarian society, only to be caught up for a decade in the vice of Stalinism. In 1956 a bloody revolution offered the opportunity to escape to Britain, a country of freedom and tolerance, where she started a family and built a career as an engineer.

The story is written with compassion and optimism, without self-pity. The tone is light, and there is plenty of irony, even humour. The narrative is underscored by the historian László Csősz and illustrated by several maps and more than a hundred archival images and family photographs.

Price- £16.95

IBSN- 9781916106680

Order a copy here or order the Kindle version here

Life on a Knife Edge is an inspiring book about one man’s quest to fulfil a childhood dream.

 

 

After growing up in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, Lawrence Nasralla moved to the UK where he became accustomed to life in his new country. He worked his way up from the bottom in the airline industry never wavering from his aim to one day, fly as the captain of a big commercial jet.

Meeting and marrying the love of his life, the author continued building his career and aiming for his goal, flying for various airlines in the UK and further afield, including time spent with his growing family in Brunei.

Discovering that their son had autism, the story shifts to the battle the family fought to get their boy cared for against institutional attitudes, policies and practices which were constantly pitted against them, making their son’s lives a misery.

Life on a Knife Edge will inspire anyone with a dream to follow it and to never give up trying to turn that dream into a reality. Also, the book will raise awareness of autism and hopefully, help families with autistic relatives. It sends a message that when things look their bleakest, all is not lost, and much can be achieved, even in the most challenging situations.

Price - £9.95

IBSN - 9781838046460

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My Shadow – My Dream is a charming and inspiring story about one woman’s quest to live her dream.

Jean Chadwick came from humble beginnings in her hometown of Rochdale. After a turbulent childhood, she discovered a love for music, singing and her idol, another Rochdale girl, Gracie Fields.

Following her interest and her idol, Jean found herself presented with opportunities which she took with enthusiasm. Before long, as a young woman, she was working in the entertainment industry with an act she created based on the songs and style of Gracie.

Jean was often described as ’The little mill girl from Rochdale’ and she used this title to help shape her act as she travelled around the country and ultimately into Europe earning her living.

Often finding herself in difficult circumstances both in her work and her private life, Jean, nonetheless, as advised by Gracie, never gave up and managed to create a successful career. After her time as an entertainer, she spent happy and remunerative times on the Isle of Skye.

Returning to Rochdale, she renewed her friendship with author Anita Lewis who has written a sensitive and interesting portrayal of Jean in a life full of ups and downs as she lived out her dream.

Price - £9.95

IBSN - 978-1-8380464-1-5

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After inappropriate treatment of author Barbara O’Donnell’s baby boy, Andy, he suffered a series of debilitating conditions leaving him seriously disabled for life. Barbara didn’t give up. What began was a commitment to ensure, come what may, that Andy would be given the best chance to live as normal a life as possible.

The book tells the story of how Barabara and her other children at first lived with Andy in seriously challenging circumstances. As he grew, Andy was placed in various special schools while Barbara ensured that these organisations and their staff understood the unique features of Andy’s condition and how these might erupt into all sorts of extreme behaviours at any time, putting everyone involved at risk.

After a significant financial settlement, the family developed a life for Andy built around an organisation they created to care for him as an adult and then others with serious special disability needs. All the while, the family dealt with the cost-driven culture of the Social Services bureaucracy winning important disputes as Barbara O’Donnell’s dogged attitude ensured the protection of what she, her family and their support team had created.

Andy and Me: A Life for My Disabled Son will inspire families with disabled people and those carers who provide valuable support and care in the disabled community, sending out a message that all is not lost and that much can be achieved successfully even in the most challenging situations.

Price - £9.95

IBSN - 978-1-8380464-2-2

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Barbara O’Donnell has created a series of charming poems that tell the story of her late mother’s descent into the almost non-existent life of someone cursed by the Alzheimer’s Disease. There is humour and anguish here in equal portion and there can be no doubt that to read these verses will help to increase the readers knowledge of the terrible progression of this disease.

After her mother’s Alzheimer’s was diagnosed, she decided to move to a house with a granny flat. This she recreated to look like her mother’s bungalow; of some comfort to her, until the disease reached its ultimate conclusion.

With the experiences of her son Andy, Barbara teaches work-based qualifications to staff members at Scenario Management which she formed in 1997 to support people with profound learning disabilities, challenging behaviour and autism. She also lectures at Lancaster University on the Positive Stories days.

Apart from Andy, Barbara has three other children.

Barbara O’Donnell has recently written ANDY & ME, the story of her son and soon to be published by i2i Publishing. Manchester.

Who Said Life Should Be Easy? is an inspiring story about a fascinating life.

Price - £7.99

IBSN - 978-1-8380464-3-9

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Born in South East England, author Linda Durman discovered that she was adopted. Growing up in a strained family environment at a time when tomboys were frowned upon, her determination to flourish owed much to the love and guidance of her grandparents.

Moving into adult life, the author trained, qualified and worked as a GP and then in Public Health. Along the way, she dealt with a range of serious challenges in a turbulent life: misogyny in the medical profession, broken marriages, living abroad in a dangerous environment, domestic abuse, the challenges of retraining for a new career, family bereavement, the stresses of reconnecting with her original family and the inevitable effects on her mental health, including depression and alcoholism. In this book, she collects together the stories of how she found the strength to face each challenge and move forward, a stronger and wiser woman.

In retirement, Linda Durman continues to keep learning and to take on new challenges and skills while enjoying time with her large family.

Who Said Life Should Be Easy? tells all these amazing stories of challenge, crisis and opportunity and how she dealt with them showing resilience, perseverance and fortitude, all written in a no-nonsense approach which reflects the women she is.

Price - £8.95

IBSN - 978-1-9163097-6-0

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This Old Heart of Mine: My Inspirational Cardiac Journey is an informative, thought-provoking and uplifting book, for those people suffering from heart conditions, but also for anyone who has ever questioned what life is really about.

After experiencing open heart surgery, author Chris Hillman became obsessed with a need to know what had happened to him in the lost six hours that he had spent in the operating theatre.

Helped by his Consultant, Mr Amal Bose, the author then went on a journey of discovery to explore the amazing inspirational real-life stories patients and world-class health professionals at the Lancashire Cardiac Centre had been on.

Using intimate personal interviews with Consultants, staff and patients, the author seeks to demonstrate that serious heart surgery can be a positive life-changing experience, giving patients a ‘Second Life’, providing a fresh appreciation of life and the new opportunities that come with it.

This Old Heart of Mine: will make readers think about their health and about life and through a series of Reader Questions, the author is keen to receive feedback about reader views and experiences on their own life journeys.

Chris Hillman is a former management training consultant who now lives in Cumbria.

Price - £9.99

IBSN - 9781916378940

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After years of successful but hard work within the UK security industry, Martyn Jones had run out of steam. Then a phone call came that changed everything.

Head-hunted by a former Company Sergeant Major from the Royal Marines, Jones made the decision to become part of the personal security detail of the ruler of Haiti.

President Aristide, his First Lady Mildred and their two daughters, code named Dancer and Prancer were all under constant, deadly threat from the dark and elusive forces of Papa Doc Duvalier’s former establishment and remnants of the disbanded Haitian Defence Force. Jones was one of eleven determined men who stood between those that could launch deadly attacks on Aristide and his family at any time.

There was always something disturbing about the Voodoo nights in Haiti, best described as 'gunshots, screams and drums in the night.' Jones communicates this fascinating but frightening world, sharing his personal thoughts through a number of highly dangerous and frightening adventures.

Voodoo Nation is also the story of one man's life reflections through various ups and downs while always dealing with the urge he felt throughout, to follow his spirit and go out into the world in search of adventure.

Price- £7.99

IBSN- 9781916309715

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Peter Barker spent his early years in Kent where his childhood memories included watching ‘dog-fights’ between the RAF and Hitler’s Luftwaffe. It was not surprising therefore that in 1948 he joined the RAF and in 1951 became a Junior Technician. In the following years  he distinguished himself in most of the major conflagrations of the time including Malaysia and Suez. In 1955 he was awarded the British Empire Medal. After leaving the service he joined the British Aircraft Company in Preston and for the rest of his working life was involved in conversion and refurbishment of various marks of Canberra aircraft. His story is the history of the aeronautical industry throughout the second half of the twentieth century as seen through the eyes of someone intimately involved. It is a fascinating read on every level. 

Price: £8.95

IBSN: 9781916228511

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A brave and courageous portrayal of how one family suffered but ultimately, survived the abusive behaviours of a psychopathic father.

Starting with a definition of a psychopath, the author then relates the details of how his father unleashed a constant barrage of confusing, frustrating, painful abusive treatment on the family. The author, his mother and siblings endured this suffering on a daily basis, over many years.

The way that the author's mother fought to deal with this ongoing, cruel and spiteful behaviour while protecting herself and her children is a central theme of the book.

This is a deeply troubling story of abuse but ultimately, the way the author, his siblings and his mother coped and survived the torments of their father, moving on to live normal and fruitful lives is an inspiration for anyone who has experienced abuse in the past or in their current circumstances.

 

Call Yourself a Father? can provide a beacon of light for the sufferers of abuse and hopefully, a way forward to deal with the destructive effects of psychopathic behaviour.

IBSN- 9781916309708

Price- £8.95

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The life story of the late Philip Stevens, fireman turned educationalist and academic.

Price: £8.95

IBSN: 9781916228535

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Wooden Overcoat by Brian WoodworthWorking within the funeral business is not what most people would expect. ‘Tradition,’ ‘Care,’ ‘Respect,’ are words that we would normally associate with funeral  companies. One man who knows, better than most, what really goes on, is Brian Woodworth. He started his career in Salford back in 1985 and has now penned this account of his working life. He goes into great detail to describe his journey through the last thirty odd years. From humorous  stories to tragic deaths; the book encompasses his dealings  with clergy, morticians, other funeral staff,  gangsters, murderers and people bereft of common sense. It's all here.

‘Wooden Overcoat’ throws a bright light on the shadowy world of those whose business is death. Some of the stories will make you laugh; some will make you cry, and some will certainly shock you. The final message from the author is:-

‘Do today what you were planning to do tomorrow - as tomorrow isn't guaranteed. Health is wealth.’

ISBN: 9781916500143

Price: £8.95

Click here to order Wooden Overcoat

 

 

Thy will be doneSadly, we must announce that Peter Conway died recently at the young age of 52.

This is the story of a Yorkshire lad, who, aged three, was taken to live in South Africa. A rapscallion, or worse, Peter Conway came to the attention of the Johannesburg police and then, the  South African Defence Force. As Peter’s scrapes escalated, he was shrewdly manipulated into serving, first the Apartheid South African Government and then, following Nelson Mandela’s assumption of the Presidency, the new masters of this achingly beautiful land. Intelligence officer, infantryman in the Bush War in Angola, Hells Angel, brothel keeper, drug smuggler and mercenary, Peter was all these and more.

In 2004, together with Simon Mann, Mark Thatcher and others, Peter participated in the Wonga Coup, the failed attempt to overthrow the Government of Equatorial Guinea.

Finally, the venality and cynicism of modern South African governance became too much and in 2012, aged forty-six, Peter abandoned the land of his dreams to live in England and write this memoir.

Thy Will be Done discloses a frighteningly violent dysfunctionality, bordering upon anarchy, both in present-day South Africa and elsewhere in that continent. It is no read for the faint-hearted, but for those interested in one of the fastest growing and yet most dangerous parts of our world, it’s a must.

ISBN: 978-1-9997646-9-2

Price: £11.95

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Behind & Beyond the LettersThe name Cliff Slade will be instantly recognised as a frequent and indefatigable correspondent to the Letters to the Editor columns. 

This book is written in the first person, as being most appropriate for someone who is speaking directly to his audience. This is a very personal journey in letters. 

It is touching and different insofar as it provides detailed insight into the life and mind of a man, the author, his relationships with his family and his take on local society, business, and politics. This is accomplished through the sharing of letters, only some of which have previously been published. However, this is not just a book of letters, along the lines of ‘The Times Great Letters’ as there is depth, emotion, pain, laughter, joy, sadness, and a progressive personal and emotional journey of accomplishment and enlightenment. 

Each correspondence is introduced, and most have accompanying explanations and information about the background and reason for each of the letters that have been included.

Beginning with what motivated his writing, he reflects on his upbringing by delving into his childhood and the reasons that explain why he finds it easier to communicate through the written word, rather than verbally.  

An excellent sense of humour is clearly evident in the self-depreciatory letters written to the paper under a pseudonym and in his letters to himself. The account of when the author met his wife and their marriage, ups and downs and all, along with his thoughts about life as a parent and his children, is very touching in its openness and honesty. 

He doesn't’t claim celebrity status and claims to be from an ordinary walk of life. In this remarkable book, Cliff shares his life and part of himself with the audience with a great deal of emotion. With an auto-biographical narrative, we are regularly moved from tears to amusement and back again.

ISBN: 9781916427167

Price: £9.95

To order Behind & Beyond the Letters please click here

 

 

Can you remember a time when there were no mobile phones or computers?

 

When TV sets had tiny screens that only showed a picture in black & white?

When there were no MacDonalds or KFCs?

When our currency was Pounds, Shillings and Pence?

Well Dennis Platt can remember, and he is writing about his youth in Salford only fifty to sixty years ago.

Millennials and those born in the last two decades of the 20th century will be astonished by the wealth of information he provides.

Fortunately, Dennis has an amazing memory for detail and it is this that makes this book a fascinating read.    

ISBN: 978-1-9997646-4-7

Price: £12.95

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LEGENDS IN MY LUNCHTIMES is the story of how Mike Newlin and his team brought laughter and pleasure to business guests all over the country by providing them with the best of sporting personalities as speakers at these eagerly awaited events. Mike estimates that his company must have provided a welcome break from the pressures of corporate life to over a million hungry executives. The chapters of this book read like the Who’s Who of British sporting and entertainment life over the last three decades and the stories he relates will have you smiling and chuckling as you enjoy them.

 

Price: £12.95

ISBN: 978-1-9997646-1-6

 

To order LEGENDS IN MY LUNCHTIMES click here

 

 

 

The true story of a Jewish refugee boy, Erich, who arrived in this country from Nazi-occupied Europe three days before the start of the war. He was just four, and would never see his parents again.

His earliest memories are of the tiny room he slept in off the bedroom of the couple he called mutti and fater but who were the Kreibichs, his foster parents. Traumatised by the separation from his birth family he blocks out, from then to now, all memory of his life before, even failing to recognise his eldest brother when he turns up years later.
Erich must come to terms with the realisation that the Kreibichs are not his real parents, to learn of his past, his family and how he came on the Kindertransport.

The book follows his unusual journey from orphan refugee boy to man, and from Vienna to Buckingham Palace!

Price: £9.98

ISBN: 978-1-9997646-2-3

To order Boy in the Statue please click here

 

 

 

Ian Paul Lomax regards himself as an ordinary man but in truth, he is an extraordinary man.

His first book, FOR THE LOVE OF CHRISTOPHER, required him to bare his soul to write about the heart-breaking consequences of having his child kidnapped while on holiday in Greece. This book, THE HOUSE ON THE HILL, requires an even greater degree of bravery. He tells of a childhood in 20th century England where poverty and deprivation were the norm and far worse, he tells us of the violence he experienced from a drunken, gambler father, from being a toddler right up to his mid-teens. This upbringing made him, against his own nature, into a violent troubled youth and but for the one shining star in his life, his mother, there can be no doubt that his adult life would have been a series of catastrophes, culminating in a life of crime.

This book does not make comfortable reading but the amazing strength of his mother and her love for him made Ian’s story into one of which he can be justifiably proud.

Click here to order The House on the Hill

Price: £9.95

 

 

 

 

 

For most 21 year olds, being sent to work as a rep in Ibiza for the summer would be a dream job. I, however, was devastated by the news. I was a teetotal virgin recovering from an eating disorder, with an active dislike for socialising. I didn’t want to go to Ibiza, but I needed to go to Ibiza. I needed to escape the monotony of life back home: my recent illness, my tedious job, the mundane routine. I took the plunge, accepted my new role, embraced the challenge and moved there. Living in a quiet village away from the notorious bright lights of San Antonio, I saw a different side to the island, and I fell in love with its serenity and air of acceptance almost immediately. In return, it loved me back, and from day one, the beautiful island cast its spell on me, and I rediscovered the confident, happy girl I used  to be. My four months spent  living in Ibiza were the best, the worst, the most testing, rewarding, heart-warming, eye opening and liberating of my life.The only way I could fathom the craziness going on around me on a daily basis was to keep a journal...

I never imagined I would be sharing it with the world, but here it is: an insight into my thoughts, feelings and all of the weird and wonderful occurrences that went on during a season on the party island.

It is all here, from the time I went on a date and was given a watermelon as a ‘present,’ to the day a guest ‘broke wind’ in the face of our receptionist...

Click here to order A TEETOTAL VIRGIN IN IBIZA 

Price: £8.95

ISBN: 978-0-9935575-8-3

 

 

 

Beautifully honest and wickedly funny, 'Lucy on Leave' is not your typical journal about illness and recovery. It is certainly not for the faint hearted, either, but not for the reasons that the reader might expect. For those who are going through, or have been through, similar experiences with cancer, this book might be cathartic and even helpful, but mostly delightfully funny. For those who are not, this book, which can be read as a whole or enjoyed as a series of short essays, goes far beyond the subject of Lucy's illness to muse on the ups and downs of motherhood, marriage, childhood and Yorkshire life. If you want to know what the game 'butt waves' entails or how to play 'I demand the Diamond!' Or why Wakefield, West Yorkshire, beats Paris for culture, hands down, or even what happened when Lucy forgot to wear any underwear to school, you will have to buy this book to find out.

 

Click here to order Lucy on leave

Price: £8.95

ISBN: 978-0-9935575-5-2

 

 

 

 

Most holiday romances have no conclusion good or bad. Just a few lead to fairy-tale weddings and ‘happy ever after.’ Ian Lomax went to Corfu and fell in love with a Greek girl called Helen. They married in England and had a lovely little boy called Christopher. Blissfully unaware that his mother-in-law had plotted with his wife to abduct his son while on a trip to Greece, Ian found himself alone and broken-hearted in a strange country. This book tells the true story of Ian’s struggle through the Greek courts to recover his father’s rights to be part of the life of his son. 

Ian Lomax has shared the story of his personal struggle discussing the pains of parental alienation and international child abduction.

FOR THE LOVE OF CHRISTOPHER shows the depth of a father’s love and his uphill fight to simply be in his son’s life where international borders add to the complexity of family court litigation.

Attorney Joseph Sparacino, Law Offices of Jeffery M. Leving Ltd. Chicago Fathers’ Rights Attorneys 

Click here to order 'For the Love of Christopher' 

Price £9.98

ISBN: 978-0-9926563-3-1 

 

 

 

Were you an abused child?

Did you ever think of running away and joining the French Foreign legion?

Were you ever a gang member and a football hooligan?

Did you ever have your child abducted and your marriage in ruins?

Did you ever contemplate suicide?

All of these things happened to author Ian Paul Lomax and they are related in painful detail within this, his autobiography RETURN FROM THE ABYSS (sequel to his first book FOR THE LOVE OF CHRISTOPHER.)

His story is also the story of a tortured child and young man growing up in a large industrial town in Greater Manchester in the second half of the twentieth century. This is a story not to be missed.

Click here to order Return from the Abyss 

Price: £9.98

ISBN: 978-0-9929955-8-4